International Conference: Intangible Cultural Heritage, Museums and Cultural Policies

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Things are moving in today’s field of heritage

Think of debates on new roles of museums in society, participatory museums, recent calls for decolonizing collections, etc … These debates collide with a growing awareness of other forms and experiences of heritage that we have often overlooked in the past. One of these emerging fields attracting our attention lately is that of ‘intangible cultural heritage’ (ICH) which is embodied by generations of people practicing skills, performances and wisdom and the challenge of safeguarding this ‘living heritage’. And how the heritage field as we know it, may engage in safeguarding or maybe even reinvent itself by doing so. Or should it stay far away, instead?

Heritage work is not on an island of course.

On the contrary, it is strongly connected with larger social dynamics and is constantly being shaped and evolving within its political contexts. Therefor policies on culture at international, European, national, regional and local (governmental) levels form a considerable part of the reference frame against which museums are being effectuated. This conference wants to shine a light on heritage policies that are on the intersection between museums and ICH, giving an overview of several experiences in Europe:

What are the effects of the variety of governmental policies – on all levels – for (internal) museum policy and practice related to safeguarding ICH? What can be learned from comparing different strategies and approaches that are being applied in the five IMP project partner countries – Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, France and Switzerland? In what ways are museums engaging and relating to policy in their day-to-day work? Has the UNESCO 2003 Convention been integrated in national heritage and/or museum policies? And how do museums develop sustainable practices on safeguarding ICH, as a result of, or a reaction to, these cultural policies?

The program of this international conference will present a myriad of policy-related contributions on ICH, museums and cultural policies:

  • a panel sharing practitioners’ experiencesfrom the field in Flanders
  • a keynote by prof. dr.Marc Jacobs on the principle of subsidiarity in relation to ICH and museums
  • contributions highlighting international perspectives, from UNESCO and the European Parliament
  • national policy perspectives from the five European IMP partner countries
  • a series of museum casesstemming from Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, France and Switzerland
  • the result of the collaboration between WORD WA(a)R & Africamuseum, initiated by the IMP-project

The full program will be available here soon. 

The Conference is an organization of Workshop Intangible Heritage, in collaboration with FARO and ICOM Belgium Flanders, hosted by the museum Hof van Busleyden (Mechelen - BE)



07 May 2019 from 07:00 to 16:30
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Museum Hof van Busleyden (Mechelen)


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Day chairs: Jorijn Neyrinck (Werkplaats immaterieel erfgoed - Workshop intangible heritage) and Marc Jacobs (FARO. Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage) 

9h00 Coffee and registration

Welcome & Introduction of the Intangible Cultural Heritage & Museums Project

by Jorijn Neyrinck (Workshop intangible heritage) & Marc Jacobs (FARO. Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage) 



by Sergio Servellón (ICOM Belgium Flanders)



by Yue Shen (UNESCO)


The practitioner's voice

Interview with four Belgian practitioners of intangible cultural heritage on collaborating with museums

  • Luc Rombouts - Bell traditions and carillon culture  
  • Michel Mouton - Ijzer en Vuur (Iron and Fire - forging)
  • Mieke Meskens & Gustaaf Soli - Theater De Moedertaal
  • Myriam Stoffen - Zinneke

Moderation: Floortje Vantomme (Workshop intangible heritage)

11h00 Coffee break 

KEYNOTE: 'Subsidiarity, Policy-making and Trans-boundaries networking'

by Marc Jacobs (FARO. Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage)


European level: policy perspective on ICH & Museums

by Markus Prutsch (European Parliament)

12h25 Lunch break 

Time to inspire:

Encounters with museum cases on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage

  • Sigrid Bosmans - Hof van Busleyden (BE)
  • Régis Huguenin - Musée international d'horlogerie (CH)
  • Claudia Marchesoni - Bersntoler Kulturinstitut / Istituto Culturale Mòcheno (IT) 
14h35 Coffee break 

Comparative perspectives on intangible cultural heritage and museum policy in 5 countries


  • Luc Delrue (Secretary General of the Department Culture, Youth and Media - BE)
  • Sarah Knijff (Deputy director of the "Heritage & Arts" section at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science - NL)
  • Isabelle Chave (Deputy Head of the Department of Research and Scientific Policy, Directorate General of Heritage of the Ministry of Culture - FR)
  • Leandro Ventura (director of the Istituto Centrale per la Demo-etno-antropologia, at the Italian Ministry of cultural heritage - IT)
  • David Vitali (Head of the Section "Culture and Society" of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture - CH)

Co-creation: WORD WA(a)R in collaboration with Africamuseum: 'King Filip vs Leopold II'

Presentation of the contemporary Co-creation realised in the context of IMP BE -

Moderation: Sarah Kaerts (Workshop intangible heritage)


Reflections on the day

by Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu)


Introduction and visit to the permanent or temporary exhibition at Museum Hof van Busleyden


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