IMP Concluding Symposium

Event information

Museums and intangible heritage: towards a third space in the heritage sector

On 26 February 2020, the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Project is hosting its Concluding Symposium in Brussels. The conference offers a public forum for key stakeholders from the fields of intangible heritage and museums, such as heritage practitioners, museum professionals, policy makers, academics and representatives of transnational networks. They will be summarizing the theoretical and practical insights that have been pooled throughout the years of cooperation in Europe around the topic of ICH and Museums since 2017. Based upon the IMP Project, future-oriented recommendations and methodologies for both policies and practice will be launched.


When intangible cultural heritage and museums meet, numerous opportunities come about. For example, museums can enrich their object-based collections by including testimonies and practices relating to living, intangible heritage. Heritage practitioners and communities, on the other hand, can gain a wider audience, and can benefit from museum documentation and preservation expertise in order to safeguard their particular branch of intangible cultural heritage.

At the same time, intangible cultural heritage and museums can also appear at odds with each other, raise debate, or even bring about fields of tension. For example, how can museums avoid the trap of “freezing” intangible cultural heritage in time by integrating it into more static collections? How may we assure that heritage practitioners and communities are sufficiently being heard in display settings? What are the best ways to bring audiences into the museum, allowing for participatory experiences, yet avoiding the commodification of intangible heritage?

Over the past three years, the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Project (IMP) has tackled these and many other questions, and explored the interaction of museum work and intangible heritage practices in a comparative European context, with Werkplaats immaterieel erfgoed (Belgium), Kenniscentrum Immaterieel Erfgoed Nederland (the Netherlands), Maison des Cultures du Monde – Centre français du patrimoine culturel immateriél (France), SIMBDEA (Italy), and Verband der Museen der Schweiz / Bundesamt für Kultur (Switzerland) as partner organizations. They collaborated with ICOM International, ICH NGO Forum and NEMO – Network of European Museum Organisations, and were among others supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme, the Flemish Government, and the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. The project’s five previous meetings took place in each partner country, focusing on intangible cultural heritage, museums and diversity (Rotterdam, NL, 2017), participation (Palermo, IT, 2018), urbanised society (Bern, CH, 2018), innovation (Aubusson, FR, 2019) and cultural policies (Mechelen, BE, 2019). These conferences featured in depth theoretical contributions, workshops, artistic co-creations, numerous discussions and many inspirational testimonies from the fields of museums and intangible cultural heritage.

An open invitation

Starting from an initiative that has been gathering dozens of cases, experiences, museums and ICH practitioners, professionals and decision makers from Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, it now reaches out to you. We warmly invite you to join this on-going process for exploring the various ways in which museums and safeguarding living heritage go together, to step into reciprocal understanding of different methods, possibilities and approaches, and to foster fruitful interfaces of museum activity with living heritage, to be taken towards future elaboration.



26 February 2020 from 09:00 to 18:00
Check out the program


Le Bouche à Oreille, Brussels


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Day Chair: TBC

9h00 Coffee and registration

Museum case study presentation: video 1



Plenary welcome, introduction and reflections on the course of the IMP project

Kia Tsakiridis (ICH & Museums Project Coordinator, Werkplaats Immaterieel Erfgoed)


Museum case study presentation: video 2



Short presentation of the IMP book and toolbox

By Jasper Visser (VISSCH+STAM) and Tamara Nikolic Djeric


Museum case study presentation: video 3


11h30 Coffee break

Museum case study presentation: video 4



Keynote speech



Museum case study presentation: video 5


13h00 Lunch
14h00 Heritage practitioner testimonies: video's 5-10

Roundtable discussion

The roundtable discussion will feature representatives from

  • ICOM International
  • ICH NGO Forum
  • NEMO - Network of European Museum Organisations
  • The European governance level
15h20 Coffee break

Parallel sessions on the book and the toolkit

  • Parallel session 1: The IMP Book by Tamara Nikolic Djeric
  • Parallel session 2: The IMP Toolbox by Jasper Visser
16h50 Presentation of the IMP Declaration
17h30 Concluding remarks


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Registrations for the Closing Symposium will open soon.