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Accepted Paper:

Reluctant gatekeepers of the national inventory  


Tóta Árnadóttir (University of the Faroe Islands)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores some of the discussions and challenges within the appointed panel for assessment of suggestions for the national inventory of ICH of the Faroe Islands, balancing between desiring a “bottom up” approach, whilst rejecting the role as mules for specific agendas.

Paper long abstract:

As the Faroe Islands ratified the 2003 UNESCO convention in 2018 and immediately began to develop a National Inventory, the Ministry of Culture appointed “expert” representatives of the National Museum and the University for a small panel that was to asses and possibly assist in editing suggestions for this list of examples of local ICH. As a rule, the inventory is supposed to reflect local understandings of valuable practises and a representative variation of ICH is desirable. However, being presented with suggestions for entries that were clearly intended to reaffirm specific ideas on “Faroese culture” proved challenging from an academic perspective and raised several questions. How do should we assess entries for inventories? What criteria are valid? Is it desirable for scholars to participate in the process, should we strive to bring nuance, context and perspective into the inventories or is any involvement, editing and pruning against the intention of the convention? The paper will explore some of the cases and discuss this issue in a context of community, ownership, and agency.

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