Evolving humanity, emerging worlds
Manchester, UK; 5th-10th August 2013
Travelling cultures, creating new geographies through intangible cultural heritage (IUAES Commission on Intangible Cultural Heritage)
Location University Place 3.204
Date and Start Time 06 Aug, 2013 at 09:00
This panel will explore the following issues linking Intangible Cultural Heritage and migration: (1) how mobility influence immigrant's ICH in sending and receiving communities. (2) how does ICH produce or hinder settlement processes in receiving areas and sending communities when migrants return
According to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural heritage (ICH), (UNESCO, 2003), "intangible cultural heritage" "means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills - as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith - that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. …."
Migration processes involve changes in space, territory and environment. People from different cultures meet in new contact zones (Mary Louise Pratt, 2005) thus increasing their awareness of cultural diversity. Immigrants generate transnational practices linking their original territories with the reception areas, and when immigrants engage in a mobility process they do so, carrying their own cultural baggage
This panel seeks to explore two different types of issues linking ICH and migration: (1) how mobility and resettlement processes influence immigrant's ICH practices both in sending and receiving communities. What changes and continuities might be observed in ICH practices and manifestations when its bearers become migrants? How is ICH affected by a permanent or a temporary resettlement process?. and (2) how does ICH produce or hinder settlement processes in receiving areas as well as in migrants' sending communities when they return. Issues discussed here will be related to how ICH contributes in facilitating the processes of recognition and cooperation, in receiving communities, of immigrants from similar regions of origin? How do ICH practices transform social and cultural spaces in the receiving areas? How do ICH practices influence the creation and promotion of spaces of conviviality with people in the receiving society?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Cultural Practices of Mexican Immigrants in Gwinnett County (U.S.A): Intangible Cultural Heritage as a space of conviviality in a receiving community
This paper will address how Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexican Immigrants in Georgia (U.S.A) is contributing to the construction of complex social and cultural interactions among immigrants but also with the local population in suburban areas.
Mexican Immigration to the U.S. South has been a massive and sustained trend over the last two decades, shaping a very particular reality for the local communities in the region. The growing visibility of Mexican communities in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area has had a great impact on the social and economic configuration of small suburban areas. Drawing from six years of field work in Gwinnett County, this paper will address how Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexican Immigrants in Georgia (U.S.A) is contributing to the construction of complex social and cultural interactions among immigrants but also with the local population in suburban areas. We will analyze these interactions through the metaphor of friction, proposed by Anna Lownhaupt Tsing wherein she states that "As a metaphorical image, friction reminds us that heterogeneous and unequal encounters can lead to new arrangements of culture and power. (…) Speaking of friction is a reminder of the importance of interaction in defining movement, cultural form, and agency." (Lowenhaupt Tsing, 2005: 5, 6)
Fado and the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Saudades: exceptionalism, circulation, appropriation
In this paper we will look at the different appropriations and creative reworkings of the intangible heritage of saudades - a word strongly associated with Portugueseness and with Fado - following its circulation in different Portuguese speaking countries throughout the world.
In November 2011, Fado, a Portuguese music genre, was added to UNESCO's list of World's Intangible Cultural Heritage. Being described as a popular mournful song characteristic of the city of Lisbon, Fado is strongly associated with the concept of "saudade". Praised as an "exceptional" Portuguese word, with no immediate translation to other languages, saudade expresses a state of mind and a set of feelings that have been associated with a "Portuguese way of life": a constant yearning, a longing for something that is missing or that is unattainable. Singing and embodying this feeling, Fado is strongly associated with Portugueseness as saudades is a central theme in the narratives of Portuguese national identity. However, the circulation of the word throughout the world, namely in the territories of the former Portuguese Empire, has resulted in the emergence of a range of different cultural and political appropriations of saudade. These appropriations reveal creative reworkings of this concept: either they differentiate these separate national identities from the former colonialist, or they bring to it new qualities.
With this paper we aim to analyse the complexity of meanings associated with the intangible heritage related with the concept of saudades, as well as its creative reworkings following its transference to other historical and cultural contexts. Our approach will be comparative and intends to reveal the different ways in which saudades is manifested in expressions of popular culture in different Portuguese speaking countries.
Changing traditions and created places in theatre projects in contexts of migration
The paper addresses theatre projects in contexts of migration in Basel, Switzerland. It explores the different ways in which senses of foreignness and of belonging are created by doing theatre and how migration both changes theatrical traditons and keeps them alive.
In the last decade, theatre projects that address migration and participants with migrant backgrounds have become popular in Switzerland. In this kind of projects, knowledge and cultural expressions stemming from different cultural backgrounds serve as assets by providing the basis for co-authored narratives and specific aesthetic elements in western theatre performances. However, migrant groups have been active promoters of theatre well before this new interest, namely in theatrical societies that are often linked to migrant associations. This paper presents ethnographic research for a PhD-study on three theatre projects in contexts of migration in Basel, Switzerland: Two projects that addressed young players with different migrant backgrounds and one production of the Basel English Panto Group, an English-speaking group that produces performances in the British "Christmas Pantomime"-tradition.
The paper explores the different ways of how these theatre projects link migration and Swiss society and especially focuses on the creation of place by doing theatre: In the projects, the practitioners engage with the city of Basel, establish ties to their home countries, and create spaces of belonging while producing imagined places on stage. Intangible cultural heritage as it is here expressed through theatre is therefore regarded to be strongly linked to identities and to carry agency: Not only do the theatre projects simultanously promote integration and a heightened sense of cultural difference, they also keep theatre traditions alive while changing them.
Intangible cultural heritage in everyday social life: social practices and business activities of specific group of immigrants from Ukraine to the Czech Republic
In our paper we would like to concentrate on the group of immigrants from Ukraine to the Czech Republic and their social and business practices including their establishing new contacts with their source country.
Knowledge, believes and skills are important components brought by immigrants to their new destination. The plain fact is that intangible cultural heritage strongly influences forms of integration to the new environment and relations between migration groups and autochthonous inhabitants. About twenty years we can witness a massive migration from Ukraine to the Czech Republic. In 1991 - 1993 immigrated to the Czech Republic a group of people from areas affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. In our paper we would like to show how their knowledge, skills and practices influence their lives, how they are developed in new conditions and how they can serve in their now business practices. We would concentrate primarily on immigrant groups in little East Bohemian towns. We can localize to this milieu also the most active organizers of social life of this specific group.
Nanyin in Singapore: Building heritage and creativities on cultures
Nanyin music that is usually committed to Fujian, China is already played over 70 years in Singapore. The purposes of this paper are clarifying the formation of the music societies in Singapore, concerned people and oversea network for musical activities in there.
Nanyin music is an intangible heritage committed to Fujian, China. In Singapore, people who immigrated from there brought it and continued playing over 70 years among Hokkien speaking communities.
Its popularity, however, declined gradually in a few decades. The reasons are the problems of dialects, disappearance of the chance to play such as in temples, communities, and musical societies. Behind the disappearance, there were some problems on language policy, education, religious activities, and cultural activities, etc.
Singapore government made effort to make their people as 'Singaporean' from 1980s and didn't pay attention so much on each dialects related cultures. And in late 1990s, after the change of the concepts and policy on culture, many changes happened and dialects related cultures began to decline.
Nanyin also have such experience. In recently, however, some of the old Nanyin music societies make effort to transmit their music to youth and began to make something new with new creation of theatre pieces and new songs. Moreover, as for the education, not only for the youth but for adults, a new Nanyin institution was established in a Taoism temple in 2011.
For this paper, I will clarify the formation of Singaporean Nanyin as heritage. How is the way the music came to there, and how to transmit it? How the people consider its history? How is the way to reconstruct the music as heritage? How about the effects of oversea network between the music societies in Singapore, Fujian, Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia, etc.?
Intangible cultural heritage, changing landscape and wayside religious structure
In the paper I probe the intersection of intangible heritage of the migrant city dwellers and the displaced inhabitants of the Greater Hyderabad (GH). The wayside religious structures in the GH bear the ephemeral inheritance of the stakeholders who build, maintain and use these.
The religious architecture in the city is a burning issue in the south Asian countries like India. The greater Hyderabad project of the state government, Andhra Pradesh transformed the natural heritage (rock-scape) and local settlement. What remained untouched in the budding city is the religious structure. Today these structures appear as 'urban totems'.
In my paper I propose that these kind of religious structures are like pandora's boxes that are filled with the intangible heritage of the local. The displaced people return to these structures as pilgrims to offer votive offering, perform ritual, and pray for wish fulfillment. The migrated residents associate themselves with such structures to heal their fear and anxiety of a new place. The local lords such as the political leaders, real estate dealers, and influential retailers are also stakeholders of these religious structures. They hold the controlling power on the land, the moved and migrated people. At the end of the paper I address the close encounter with the images and vernacular languages that transformed the reception of wayside religious structure.
Migration and Intangible Heritage in Postsocialist Rural Romania: Expressions of Global Capitalism in Transnational Europe
My paper aims to offer an answer to some questions related to the relation between intangible heritage and labor migration. It try to offer a window through which we hope to disentangle some of the multiple and complicated aspects of the relation between ICH and labor migration.
The period that followed the collapse of Socialism in Eastern Europe was one of big social changes, radical economic transformations and rising inequalities. The Romanian economical system changed from a command economy one to a market economy but the process was "painfully slow" in comparison with some other Postsocialist states. Many factories and state own farms collapsed, leading to a rampant corruption, unemployment, poverty and social discontents. This process of structural violence that affected a large part of the population became visible, like in most of the Eastern European countries after 1989 through a sharp demographic decline and a massive process of labor migration toward Western European countries. These both phenomena had a big economic and social impact. But besides these implications, very visible and easily observable even through statistic data, there was a sharp decline in the practice and promotion of intangible heritage of the rural communities. My case study focused on two rural communities from Eastern Romania and the way global capitalism (with its commodification, marketization and consumerism) affected the dynamic and promotion of their intangible heritage (winter rituals).
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.