Showing posts with label intangible cultural heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label intangible cultural heritage. Show all posts

Monday, March 7, 2022

Intangible Cultural Heritage - the Laurentic Forum on Sustainable Tourism Webinar, March 15th.

Intangible cultural heritage refers to the traditions or expressions we practise inherited from our ancestors and passed onto our descendants, such as ceremonies and oral traditions. In other words, it is a living form of heritage that is continuously recreated by communities as part of their cultural identity. From storytelling to dancing, traditional crafts to how we live our lives there are many elements of our culture that are of interest to visitors to our regions. By presenting them to the visitor we not only provide opportunities to make a living from tourism but in sharing it, we may be able to preserve it.  

Keynote by folklorist Dale Jarvis, Executive Director of Heritage NL, with presentations from: the Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador; Lofotr Vikingmuseum; and Hasselberg Husky dog tours.

To register for this free webinar, go to:

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Chapter by HeritageNL authors in new book - Traditional Food: Sharing Experiences from the Field

The International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region has recently published the book Living Heritage Series – Traditional Food in collaboration with the ICHNGO Forum’s #HeritageAlive. The Living Heritage Series is a serial publication on regional/national transmission and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage elements. It focuses on a different topic each time, discussing the relevant intangible cultural heritage of various regions to raise the visibility of cultural diversity emphasized by the UNESCO.

Living Heritage Series-Traditional Food showcases creative and historical traditional food from around the world through contributions from 16 writers in various countries, including a chapter by Dale Jarvis and Terra Barrett of Heritage NL.

You can download the book as a pdf right here.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Digital Storytelling: The Shop with Mary Flynn

Mary Flynn and Dale Jarvis in Mary's home in Otterbury.
Digital storytelling is a short form of digital media production that allows everyday people to share aspects of their own family and community history. Many people have stories about family members and local places that often go untold. Digital storytelling helps interpret and make community history accessible.

Watch below as Mary Flynn, originally from Shearstown and currently living in Otterbury, Newfoundland, tells the story of her first job in the local shop:

Or click here to watch the video on YouTube.

If this video elicits memories for you, or if you'd like to arrange a digital storytelling workshop for your community, contact Dale Jarvis at

Friday, March 1, 2019

Digital Storytelling: Taken by the Fairies with Mary Flynn

Left to right: Betty Moore, Mary Flynn, and Joanne Morrissey.
Digital storytelling is a short form of digital media production that allows everyday people to share aspects of their own family and community history. Many people have stories about family members and local places that often go untold. Digital storytelling helps interpret and make community history accessible.

Watch below as Mary Flynn, originally from Shearstown and currently living in Otterbury, Newfoundland, tells the story of her first cousin, Molly, who was taken by the fairies as a child:

Or click here to watch the video on YouTube.

If this video elicits memories for you, or if you'd like to arrange a digital storytelling workshop for your community, contact Dale Jarvis at

Thursday, March 1, 2018

From Sealskin to Science Fiction: Taking Tradition into the Twenty-First Century. #HeritageNL

We are pleased to launch the digital version of our magazine-format report "From Sealskin to Science Fiction: Taking Tradition into the Twenty-First Century" - Proceedings of the Forum on Adapting NL’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, held October 25-26, 2017, The Lantern, St. John’s, NL, Canada. The report looks back at a decade of work safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in Newfoundland and Labrador and presents the work of individuals and organizations taking ideas of tradition, heritage, and culture, and moving those ideas into the 21st century. 

Cover photo by Jeremy Harnum, with articles by Clare Fowler of Clare Dawn Couture, Dan Rubin of Perfectly Perennial, Andrea O'Brien of HFNL, Jeremy Harnum of the Wooden Boat Museum of NL, Eileen Balsom Matthews of Heritage New Perlican, Jessica Barry of the St. John's Local Immigration Partnership, Dianne Carr of Spaniard's Bay Heritage Society, Kristin Harris Walsh, Lori McCarthy of Cod Sounds, Kevin Noseworthy of Escape Quest, and Grace Shears of AbbyShot!

Download the free pdf version of the magazine here:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Living Heritage Podcast Ep044 Scottish and English Intangible Cultural Heritage with Suzy Harrison

Suzy Harrison is a second year PhD researcher at Nottingham Trent University, in the United Kingdom, and is funded through the AHRC Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Programme. Her research analyses current attitudes towards intangible cultural heritage in England, and looks to reveal the challenges which it faces through closer examination of intangible heritage in the East Midlands. Her research is also looking at opportunities to possibly adopt practices at a local or national level which may exist in other countries.

We talk about local traditions, football, ICH politics and Suzy's research on the differences between ICH policy in Scotland and England. It's an ICH gabfest!



The Living Heritage Podcast is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio. Theme music is Rythme Gitan by Latché Swing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday's Folklore Photos - Intangible Cultural Heritage Conference

Architecture or built heritage in Old Quebec.
Today’s Folklore Photos come from the International Conference on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Quebec City, QC. The conference was held at Laval University and brought together the Folklore Studies Association of Canada, the Canadian Network for Intangible Cultural Heritage, Canadian Society for Traditional Music, the Canada research Chair in Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Institute for Cultural Heritage of Laval University, and the Centre for Culture, Art and Society.

On Wednesday evening after a day of completing tape logs and metadata descriptions at the office I flew to Toronto and then on to Quebec City for the conference where a number of folklorists and heritage professionals were meeting and presenting papers on their work. Thursday was focused on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and there were presenters from across the country and beyond. There was a lot of discussion on UNESCO's 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention and what has happened in the ten years since the conference was ratified in 2006. Presenters from Belgium, Denmark and Norway described how their countries were working on ICH since ratifying the convention while presenters from Scotland, and Canada discussed their interest in ratifying the convention and moving forward with preserving ICH in their countries. Dale gave a presentation on the work of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office since 2008 and focused on the Grey Sock project as an example of the work from the Heritage Foundation which celebrates, records, disseminates, and promotes ICH or the living heritage of the province.
The Huron-Wendat Museum in Wendake, QC.  Participants were treated to a tour of the museum and a banquet meal on Friday evening.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there were presentations from folklorists, ethnomusicologists, anthologists, and many other heritage professionals. Some presentations focused on what their institutions were working on while others presented a paper or specific concept or concern in heritage. On Saturday morning I presented a paper I had written on the Mummers Festival. It was called “Shagging with the Tradition: The St. John’s Mummers Festival” and looked at how the Mummers Festival has used Intangible Cultural Heritage to create community and increase tourism. It also traced mummering as a cultural symbol for the province since the 1960s until today.
Presenting the paper Shagging with the Tradition: The St John's Mummers Festival.  Photo by Ryan Davis.
It was a beautiful weekend in Quebec City which finished with a declaration of interest in ICH in Canada and a wish for the country to ratify UNESCO’s convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage in order to preserve and promote the ICH of the country as a whole.
Laurier Turgeon and Dale Jarvis reading the declaration on ICH.
~Terra Barrett

Friday, March 4, 2016

Intangible Cultural Heritage Update - Darning Eggs, Youth, and Traditions at Risk

In the March edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update, we spin you a yarn about our darning workshop, introduce you to the 2016 Youth Heritage Forum, and talk about traditions at risk.

You can view and download the newsletter here.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Counting crows, and poem from Tilting, Fogo Island. #FolkloreThursday

On Monday last, I gave a guest lecture on intangible cultural heritage for Scott Neilsen's Cultural Resource Management (CRM) course at Memorial University. I talked to the class about the five domains of ICH as defined by UNESCO, and gave examples from a Newfoundland and Labrador perspective.

While talking about oral traditions and expressions, I challenged them with a couple traditional riddles, and then two students spoke up with rhymes that they had learned when younger.

First up was Rebekah Nolan, who had a fantastic version of a counting crows rhyme which I'd not heard before. I've written about crow counting rhymes before, but Rebecca's version was new to me. She learned it in San Luis Obispo ("America's happiest city" apparently) circa 2003:

One for sadness
Two for mirth
Three for marriage
Four for birth
Five for laughing
Six for crying
Seven for sickness
Eight for dying
Nine for silver
Ten for gold
Eleven for a secret that will never be told
Twelve for darkness
Thirteen for light
Fifteen for morning
Sixteen for night.

The second was from Jackie Tizzard, who had a rhyme she learned from her mother, who was a Burke from Tilting, Fogo Island.  "She could never tell me where it came from," Jackie told me. This was her rhyme:

"Long has been my cherished hope,
Upon my dying day,
To lie upon some sunny slope
And dream my life away."

Jackie thought it might be a riddle, but didn't know the answer. 

The rhyme is not a riddle at all, and neither does it originate on Fogo Island. It is, rather, a quote from a book, The red cow and her friends, by Peter McArthur, published in 1919, in Toronto, Ontario, by J.M. Dent & Sons. It is a fascinating book on farm life, with stories on sick cows, feeding pigs, racoon hunts, and horse contrariness. How a line of it came to be memorized by a young Miss Burke in Tilting is anyone's guess.

The full quote is as follows:

Although the oak is my particular friend among the trees on the farm, there are others with which I can claim at least an acquaintanceship. There is a maple at the edge of the wood-lot that always makes me feel uncomfortable, because I have a feeling that it has a joke on me. It stands on what would be called rising ground " which means an elevation that does not deserve to be called a hill " and while lying on the grass in its shade I can see over several farms to the south and east. It used to be a favourite of my boyhood, and once I composed a poem while lying in its shade. If you bear in mind the fact that I was seventeen years of age at the time you will understand why the tree has a joke on me. Here is the only stanza I can remember of the little poem I composed to express the "unmannerly sadness" of youth.

It long has been my cherished hope Upon my dying day To lie down on some sunny slope And dream my life away.

At that age I could not have cherished the hope so very long, and the old tree must have chuckled to its last twig at my absurdity. Anyway, I never see the tree without recalling that wretched stanza, and I immediately hurry away to some other part of the woods.

Got a piece of folk poetry stuck in your head, or a counting crow rhyme of your own? Leave a comment below, or send me an email at

- Dale Jarvis

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)? A quick definition.

I had a question this morning from a colleague who asked, essentially, what is ICH? It is a complex answer, but sometimes people want a quick summary. So, based on the UNESCO 2003 Convention and our own work at the Heritage Foundation of NL, here is our working definition:
Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities recognize as part of their cultural heritage. It is sometimes called living cultural heritage, is transmitted from generation to generation, and is constantly recreated by communities and groups, in response to their environment, their interaction with nature, and their history.

ICH is manifested in the following five domains:
- Oral traditions and expressions, including language;
- Performing arts;
- Social practices, rituals and festive events;
- Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and,
- Traditional craft.

ICH can include the stories we tell, the family events we celebrate, our community gatherings, the languages we speak, the songs we sing, knowledge of our natural spaces, our healing traditions, the foods we eat, our holidays, beliefs and cultural practices.
If you are looking for a more detailed discussion of what intangible cultural heritage is, download our free  "What is ICH?" booklet for Newfoundland and Labrador, or UNESCO's own Intangible Cultural Heritage page

Photo: Participants of the December 18, 2010 Mummers Festival, by Mark Bennett.
Courtesy Memorial University's Digital Archive Initiative. 

- Dale Jarvis

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Labrador Memories, Fools, and Stepping Out - The ICH Update

In this edition for the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador: our Living Heritage Podcast goes national on CBC radio with a spotlight on the Labrador memories of Dave Paddon; an article by Dale Jarvis on the link between tangible and intangible cultural heritage; notes from the Mummers Festival's Sharna Brzycki on the tradition of Christmas Fools; and an overview of a new research project looking at step dance traditions in the province.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Archvies Week 2015: MUN Folklore and Language Archive Tours

To celebrate Archives Week 2015, The Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) will be offering free tours to the public.

Come check out our brand new cold storage vault!

Donated by over 11,000 contributors, MUNFLA has over 40,000 audio recordings, 20,000 photographs, 16,000 manuscripts, 4,000 commercial recordings, 2,000 printed documents and over 800 video recordings. These materials cover topics such as custom and belief, childlore, song, dance and foodways. We also house collections documenting folk cultures all over the world, through the research activities of Folklore students. 

Maybe not. But still...
Join us and take a tour of our collections, check out our brand new environmentally controlled vault, and learn more about MUNFLA and how archives work...and can work for you!

Time: Tuesday, Nov 17, 10am-4pm
Place: MUNFLA, ED4038, Education Building, Prince Philip Drive, St. John’s
Contact: Nicole Penney (709) 864-4586 /

Monday, October 26, 2015

Call for Papers - International Conference on the Uses of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Call for Papers
International Conference
The Uses of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Perspectives

Quebec City, Canada
May 19th-22nd 2016

Hosted by the Folklore Studies Association of Canada, the Institute for Cultural Heritage of Laval University (IPAC) and the Centre for Culture, Art and Society (CELAT)

Deadline for submissions October 29th (midnight)

Interest in intangible cultural heritage (ICH) has been growing rapidly in Canada, in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Japan, China and in many other countries in the world over the past years, especially since the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003 at UNESCO. Now signed by more than 160 countries, the Convention has given intangible cultural heritage recognition worldwide. By defining ICH as creative living traditions, UNESCO has also been able to redefine heritage as an open ongoing process shaped by people and changed through encounters, rather than an immutable entity anchored in tangible things. This shift has opened new and exciting perspectives for understanding the intertwined legacies of heritage, the complex intergenerational and intercultural transmission of living traditions, and the creation of different transcultural inheritances. It leaves room for the accommodation of the new and the transgressive alongside the traditional.

This conference aims to focus on the uses of ICH and to view it as a transformative and transgressive practice. The making of intangible heritage, or the “heritagization” of living traditions transforms them into a performance, a festival or a sporting competition, as these traditions are moved out of the community and into a heritage site or event, a museum or an archive. Even when intangible heritage stays within the community, traditions are always transformed in one way or another. Participants are invited to reflect upon how these processes affect cultural practices and the people involved. Generally, heritage is considered a transformative experience aimed at making the participants better people and the world a better place, sometimes even expressed as a sort of conversion, a ritual of transcendence, that reinforces the group and enhances its participation in contemporary cultural politics. But, more often than not, one person’s inheritance is the disinheritance of another. Indeed, the ethics of heritage often conceal more than they reveal. For example, the current aesthetization and heritigization of native ritual performances in museums has helped to valorize Amerindian, Inuit and African religious expressions as forms of art, long considered primitive, but, at the same time, it has done away with the colonial context and with history altogether. To avoid such shortcomings, many cultural institutions have devised a “ground up” or “bottom up” model of heritage management, which aims to recognize, preserve and promote the cultural heritage most highly valued by the communities themselves. This approach has also been encouraged by UNESCO as well as many of the state parties of the Convention. Although a new and noble approach, it does not always help determine what should be valorized and why, nor whom in the community should be permitted to decide what should be recognized. Local communities too have their hierarchies, their hidden agendas, and their own problems with gender, class and race. In other words, policies need to be explored alongside process and practice to fully understand the politics of intangible cultural heritage at all levels.

The emphasis on non-material knowledge and forms of communication in intangible cultural heritage can be related to a developing interest in the role of performance as a form of social memory, to the expansion of curatorial interest in ‘experiential’ displays and to the valorization of what has, more broadly, been termed the ‘experience economy’ in contemporary society. The recent interest in intangible cultural heritage, in other words, might usefully be situated in the context of what has been called ‘the cultural turn’. To shed new light on this broader topic, we encourage participants to focus on how the case of intangible cultural heritage throws two particular issues into stark relief : first, heated contemporary debates over the desirability of academics engaging with the administration of culture - over whether engaging with policy is an abdication of political possibility – and second, the boundaries and limits of cultural policy, or what it is possible to administer. Positioning themselves against a narrowly technocratic approach, the participants are invited to interrogate the cultural heritage of intangible cultural heritage itself. By doing so, we will be better equipped to consider the capacious, imaginative interactions between theory, policy, process and practice.

Although all proposals regarding this topic will be considered for inclusion in the conference program, participants are encouraged to submit paper proposals on the following themes:

- the effects of listing ICH by UNESCO, states and municipalities;
- the difficulties encountered by communities in safeguarding ICH;
- the uses of ICH for the sustainable development of local communities
- the transformative experiences of inventorying ICH;
- the mediation of ICH through the use of information technologies;
- the uses of ICH in museums and interpretation centers;
- ICH and sustainable cultural tourism
- the uses of ICH in the understanding and mediation of tangible cultural heritage.

Individual paper and/or session proposals should be sent by email to Laurier Turgeon ( before October 29th(midnight) by providing the following information: name and surname, institutional affiliation (university, museum, ministry, municipal administration, etc.), acquired degrees (PhD, MA, year of degree, name of the university which delivered the degree), current position (postdoctoral fellows, PhD and MA students should indicate their status and affiliation), recent publications (up to 5 or 6 related to the theme of the conference), and a paper abstract (700 to 1000 characters including spaces). The proposals received by the 29th of October will be eligible to funding for travel.

Laurier Turgeon
Canada Research Chair in Intangible Cultural Heritage
Institute for Cultural Heritage
Laval University, Quebec City, Canada, G1V 0A6 ​

Friday, October 2, 2015

ICH @UVic Day 5 - Indigenous Language and Culture

Today was our second-last day on the intangible cultural heritage course at UVic. We started off with a visit to the First Peoples House. Pamela Clermont and her co-workers showed us around the building, created as a social, cultural and academic centre for Indigenous students on campus. It is a gorgeous space, which you can read more about here, packed full of local, amazing, indigenous art.

Outside is an ongoing totem pole carving project. The artist, Hjalmer Wenstob, has posted the artist's statement on site:

"I see the totem as a means of bringing together and strengthening connections between cultures, both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous. It creates a space to come together where we are all equal, to create a future where we can walk side by side on the same path. To bring together academic and traditional Indigenous teaching for a common goal of unity, understanding and respect. - Hjalmer Wenstob"

After our visit to the First Peoples House, we had a conversation with Janna Wilson, Program Coordinator with the Cultural Management Programs at UVic, who has been working on their Indigenous languages retention programs. Then we went off to the Royal BC Museum for a behind-the scenes look at the Our Living Languages exhibit, with Michael Barnes, Head of Exhibitions, and Dr Martha Black. Curator of Ethnology.

Thanks to all who gave of their time today, and for freely sharing all their expertise and experience!

ICH @UVic Day 4 - Newfoundland Hobby Horses on Vancouver Island for #FolkloreThursday

Today's class was all about revitalizing traditions, using the Mummers Festival as a case study. We started the day with a talk on mummering (which some of the students had never heard of) and then we had a visit from Doretta Hollett of Burin, who came and shared her memories of Christmastime in Burin. Doretta even brought in a bottle of Purity Syrup, so everyone got to have a taste.

In the afternoon, I introduced people to the Newfoundland hobby horse, like the one above, one of the Mummers Troupe's horses, made in the early 1970s by Chris Brookes and company.  And then it was time to put their new knowledge to use. Using the template from the Mummers Festival in St. John's, I walked everyone through the process of creating their own hobby horses.  Here is a peek at how the workshop went, from start to finished ponies:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

ICH @UVic Day 3 - Falcons, Fairies, and Layered Places

Today was Day 3 of the intangible cultural heritage class I'm teaching at UVic, and we had a treat for students today. After a talk about public program options ICH-related events, we focussed in on one of the elements listed on UNESCO's intangible heritage list -- Falconry, a living human heritage -- a trans-national element which was nominated by United Arab Emirates, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Falconers Kristine and Alan Marshall paid us a visit (with gyrfalcons Khaleesi and Solstice) and they gave us an overview of the 4000 year living heritage of falconry, and how the tradition of falconry is faring today.

After lunch, we had a talk about Newfoundland fairy traditions, and I shared the Irish story of the Fairy Frog (a version of which is included in this recording).

Then it was back to work (with some colouring thrown in) with a asset map making exercise designed to show how one location could have multiple levels of meaning or be home to various intangible cultural heritage elements.

Tomorrow: it's a downhome Newfoundland Christmas (in Victoria BC, in September).

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ICH @UVic Day Two - From Chicken Feet to Cowichan Sweaters

Tuesday was day two of the course on Intangible Heritage I'm teaching at the University of Victoria. We started out this morning, bright and beautiful, at the Gates of Harmonious Interest, marking the entranceway to Victoria's Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in Canada.

We had a busy morning, with the students starting off by doing quick sketch maps of the district, and then locating within the district examples of the five domains of intangible cultural heritage as defined by UNESCO:  Oral Traditions and Expressions; Performing Arts; Social Practices, Rituals, and Festive Events; Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe; and Traditional Crafts.

We then met up with Chris Adams of, who gave us a great tour and talk about Victoria's Chinatown and the link between the tangible, built heritage of the district, and the intangible cultural heritage that permeates it.

It was my first time meeting Chris, but I've met his father and company founder John Adams before (we even were on a panel together about ghost tours, back in 2009). Chris was a fabulous guide and raconteur, and introduced us to some fabulous places, a highlight being the Tam Kung Temple on the top floor of the Yen Wo Society building.

It is an incredible gem of a space, and one I'd never seen before.

After that, we had a quick lesson in the game of Fan Tan, and a lecture on opium dens, and then we went to the famous Don Mee restaurant for Dim Sum, including my requisite feed of chicken feet and egg tarts.

After lunch, we rushed back to UVic, for a chat about ethnographic documentation, including my tips for oral history interviewing

Then we had another treat, a visit from the very charming Alice Trueman, a knitter from Salt Spring Island. Alice grew up on Vancouver Island, and doesn't remember a time when she didn't knit. I conducted an oral history interview with Alice while the class listened and watched.

Alice was another gem of the day; she was a font of knowledge about knitting. We talked about the tradition, her involvement, and how the tradition of knitting has shifted over the years, and the knitting retreats she runs on Salt Spring Island.   

Alice spoke knowledgeably about many aspects of knitting, but particularly interesting was the discussion we had about Cowichan sweaters, a very specific type of sweater made by First Nations knitters in one region of Vancouver Island.

You can download an mp3 of Alice describing Cowichan sweaters here, or in other formats here, or listen below.