The Canadian Advisory Committee for Memory of the World (CCMoW) is delighted to host the one-day virtual symposium of key stakeholders in intangible cultural heritage (ICH), archives, and research, titled Building Connections and Forging Alliances: Strengthening the Intersections between Archives and Intangible Cultural Heritage.  

This symposium will be held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday 19 September 2023. Their goal is to foster an open, collaborative conversation on the theoretical and practical issues associated with the acts of “making, keeping, and using” ICH and the resulting documentary products, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. 

The symposium is supported by The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), which oversees the Memory of the World Committee, and has received financial support from the Programme Commission of the International Council on Archives (ICA PCOM), Heritage Saskatchewan, and Western University. The symposium is also organized in partnership with the ICA Advocacy Expert Group (AEG)

Building Connections and Forging Alliances: Strengthening the Intersections between Archives and Intangible Cultural Heritage 

For centuries, traditional Western-oriented archival practice has focused on the collection and preservation of tangible physical documentary sources. Digital technologies have changed this dynamic, increasing opportunities for flexibility, decentralization, and collaboration. But as tools and technologies change, the boundaries of archival practice – and the very concept of archives – are changing. Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) lives in this boundary area between the static and the fluid, and at the intersections of different cultures and communities. 

Because instances of ICH – songs, stories, dances, customs, and traditions – are not fixed in space and time, they are, theoretically, outside the realm of custodial control. However, the resulting documentary products – photographs, films, audio-visual recordings, etc. – do come into archival custody. At that point, they are often defined as static and complete – a condition that may be at odds with the inherently flexible nature of ICH. 

What is the relationship between creating communities (the “makers”), archivists (the “keepers”), and researchers and the public (the “users”)? How can archivists, who preserve the tangible, safeguard something that is, by definition, intangible? What do the creators and owners of ICH gain or lose when their sources of custom and culture are fixed in time and space? What are the rights and obligations of researchers using ICH? 

The symposium will consider these and other questions, including presentations and participation from leading thinkers and practitioners. 

The full programme is available here and the list of speakers can be found here

Date: Tuesday 19 September 

Time: 8:30 – 17:00 EDT. To confirm the date/time of this session in your time zone please use the following link.     

Location: Online. 

Registration: The session is free and open to all.  

Register here