Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland, and the ENrich team projects specifically, have been recognised and supported since 2008 by both UNESCO and the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-party Culture Committee. ICH is important in Scotland not only for its intrinsic value in safeguarding and promoting Scotland’s living culture, but also because of its impact in celebrating identities and promoting community understanding and cohesion, including the significant economic benefits delivered to these communities.
In accordance with the requisites of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the objectives of the ICH project team at ENU are:
• To raise awareness of ICH within Scotland, particularly among policy-makers and public bodies;
• To honour the participation in and achievements of Scotland residents in maintaining the diversity of living culture within Scotland;
• To stress the inclusivity of living culture within Scotland, seeing it as defined by national borders rather than ethnicity or language;
• To assess the relative success of different approaches to recording and safeguarding of ICH in Scotland and make recommendations; and
• To add to international best practice in the recording, safeguarding and promotion of ICH.
As the UK has not ratified the Convention, our ICH team seeks to achieve its goals by securing external non-national government funding in order to continue our research activities in line with our organisational objectives.
Below is a summary of our key research achievements:
- Commissioned by Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) in 2007 to scope ICH in Scotland
- Awarded £13,400 UNESCO funding in 2008 to produce user-friendly materials to explain ICH to communities in LDCs
- Launched Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland: The Way Forward in 2008 in presence of Koϊchiro Matsuura, Director General, UNESCO
- Won a three-year UK Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) £365,000 Knowledge Transfer Fellowship grant in 2008 to develop and implement a ICH inventory in Scotland
- Secured cross-party Scottish parliament endorsement in 2010 to use ICH for the promotion of community cohesion
- Awarded a £60,000 grant by Creative Scotland in 2012 to investigate potential of ICH as a vehicle for regional tourist development
- Commissioned by Creative Scotland in 2013 to identify an integrated strategy for enhancing the tourist experience of ICH within Scotland.
The research outputs from our project work have included multiple academic journal articles, commissioned reports, conference presentations and industry workshops, addressing all aspects of ICH in Scotland. The team is particularly focussed on conducting research which is relevant to social, economic and cultural needs of rapidly evolving society today.