12/11/2012 - 20/11/2012

More than 25 participants from 12 provinces of Cuba, including rural community members, met during 10 days in the province of Matanzas, on the northern shore of Cuba, to undertake an intensive training on the elaboration of inventories of intangible cultural heritage in the spirit of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Facilitated by UNESCO-trained experts, María Ismenia Toledo from Venezuela and Enrique López from Mexico, the workshop focused on the role of communities in inventorying intangible cultural heritage, the requirement of their free, prior and informed consent and their full involvement in identifying and defining those practices and expressions that they recognize as part of their cultural heritage. The workshop also addressed field-based techniques and methods of interviewing and audio-visual recording and ended with a two-day field practice, including a session on organization of data collected.

The inventorying exercise was carried out with the Máximo Gómez rural community of Perico, a municipality of the province of Matanzas, which is considered to be a reference for repentismo (art of improvising poetry) in Cuba and who gave its free, prior and informed consent to inventory its Cucalambé homes. These are family houses in which their members foster indigenous traditions which identify the criollismo of Hispanic roots to the specific progress of contemporary times. Guateques (typical parties), décimas (improvised verses of ten-line stanzas), controversias (forms of declamation), singing and serenades are regularly organized in those houses.

With the support of the National Cultural Heritage Council (CNPC) and the local Houses of Culture, this activity launched in Cuba the regional project for strengthening capacities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in the Caribbean which will be implemented throughout 2013, with the funding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund thanks to the generous contribution of Norway.

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