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Accepted Paper:

Between folklore archives and living heritage. A Romanian case study  

Author:

Ioana Baskerville (Romanian Academy)

Paper short abstract:

As a country with a strong folkloristic legacy, and participating in the ICH inventorying and safeguarding mechanisms according to the 2003 Convention, Romania provides examples of folklorists struggling to transcend the traditional rules of their discipline and create public folklore initiatives.

Paper long abstract:

As a country with a strong folkloristic legacy, and participating in the ICH inventorying and safeguarding mechanisms according to the 2003 Convention, Romania provides examples of folklorists struggling to transcend the traditional rules of their discipline and create public folklore initiatives. The paper highlights recent trials and tribulations of Romanian folklorists and ethnologists, working also as ICH experts while trying to implement the UNESCO 2003 Convention. From small community-based projects to debates over appropriate terminology and vocabulary and endless negotiations with connected fields, Romanian ICH expertise provides meaningful grassroot experiences. This ICH-connected challenges affected both the traditional discipline of folklore and how scholars translated into practice the UNESCO recommendations and guidance. Did the ICH experts in Romania truly adapt and integrate the UNESCO vision into their daily folkloristic projects, or are they still preserving the distance between their two professional pathways? The author provides an example of her recent participation in drafting a multinational nomination file for the Representative List. She gives her insight on the need for a middle ground between traditional folkloristics and the theory and practice of assessing living heritage. The specific ICH topic showcases the capacity of folklore scholarship in Romania to generate data, tools and vision for the elements inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List, and it may thus become a good practice for greater efforts to change and break the old rules of the discipline.

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ICH on the ground: the fine art of rules and measures I