Where does this project come from?

Since the adoption of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, a growing body of research has been undertaken on its origins, purposes, uses, implementation, and impacts. While some of this research is well known and widely disseminated, a considerable portion remains difficult to locate. There is currently no tool to easily search this body of work, in different languages.

To address this issue, Chiara Bortolotto and Harriet Deacon created in 2012 a multilingual research bibliography. It has been further updated by Maison des Cultures du Monde in France, under the Direction of Séverine Cachat.

Initial entries are still being reviewed to ensure an overall consistency against the scope defined below

As part of ongoing efforts to support the implementation of the Convention, the UNESCO Secretariat to the Convention is hosting an online searchable database of research relating to the Convention, known as the 2003 Convention Research Bibliography. Initially including the references mentioned above (more than 1000 entries) and partially indexed, the research community is invited to support ongoing efforts to update and index the bibliography.

What are the aims of the 2003 Convention Research Bibliography?

This project intends to foster better communication among researchers working in the field of intangible cultural heritage. It may enhance dissemination of ICH-related research within the academic community and direct future research activities on areas of particular need.

The project also aims at improving access to and use of research for all the actors involved in the implementation of the Convention, including States Parties, civil society and the UNESCO Secretariat. This may assist in implementing the Convention, and assessing its impact at international, regional and national levels.

Although the project favours inclusivity, researchers will moderate the bibliographic entries to ensure that they fall under the scope defined by the Editorial Group.

What is the scope of the bibliography?

The 2003 Convention Research Bibliography focuses on research relating to the Convention and its implementation while encompassing a wide range of perspectives and approaches. Research included in the database should relate to the origins, purposes, uses, implementation, and impacts of the Convention. For example, an account of the history and practice of a specific music or dance might not be included, unless it relates to the framing of the element as ICH, its inclusion or exclusion from an inventory of ICH under the Convention, and so on.

More general analyses of the origins and uses of the Convention by a variety of stakeholders, whether critical or otherwise, would also be included in the database. This might include research on the relationship between the Convention and sustainable development, gender, migration, education, and cultural or heritage work at international, regional and national levels.

The intention is to include research from numerous regions and contexts, disseminated in a variety of different forms and languages, covering a wide range of topics, different domains of ICH, and coming from diverse disciplinary or analytical perspectives.

The database aims to include both published academic research as well as ‘grey literature’ such as unpublished research reports from civil society, NGOs or government agencies. This would not include documents such as the Periodic Reports prepared by States Parties, nor capacity-building materials, which are stored and indexed on the UNESCO website.

How does the 2003 Convention Research Bibliography work?

Coordination ensured by the Editorial Group

A group of researchers (‘the 2003 Convention Research Bibliography Editorial Group’) provides overall supervision of the scope and content of the bibliography:

Amescua, CristinaShe is a social anthropologist from the National University of Mexico (UNAM). She serves as Director for the UNESCO Chair on Intangible Heritage and Cultural Diversity and as she also chairs the IUAES Commission for Research on Intangible Cultural Heritage.Mexico
Bortolotto, Chiara (main contact)She is an anthropologist focusing on global heritage governance. She is the principal investigator of the project “UNESCO Frictions: Heritage-Making across Global Governance” at the School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS)Italy
Deacon, HarrietShe has a PhD in History and a MSc in Management of Intellectual Property, and was involved in the preparation and delivery of UNESCO training materials in 2010. At present, she is affiliated to the Coventry University Centre for Dance ResearchSouth Africa
Ohnuki, MisakoShe is Deputy Director-General of the Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (IRCI) and head of the Research SectionJapan

You may contact the Editorial Group through this email: Coordinators-ICHCRB@lists.unesco.org.

Contributions open to all

Suggest more references

All stakeholders, and in particular researchers, are invited to suggest new references for the bibliography. To contribute to the database, users are required to create an account on the 2003 Convention Knowledge Management System (creation open to anybody), where they must indicate their interest in the ‘research activities’ tab.

Screening operated by researchers

Appointed by the Editorial Group, volunteer academics in the field review the new references suggested within the scope of the bibliography. Two separate reviews are undertaken, and, in case of any doubt, the Editorial Group will be solicited to take a final decision.

Current reviewers:

Interested to join this team? Signal yourself to the Editorial Group

  • Alexandre, Caecilia (France)
  • Andrade Pérez, Martin (Colombia)
  • Buenrostro Pérez, Carolina (Mexico)
  • Demgenski, Philipp (Germany)
  • Escallon, Maria Fernanda
  • Gkana, Aliki (Greece)
  • Lixinski, Lucas (Australia)
  • Mantebeah, Elizabeth Matilda Abena (Ghana)
  • Pérez Flores, Edith (Mexico)
  • Porila, Kristiina (Estonia)
  • Ramalingam, Kavya Iyer (India)
  • Sa Rego, Julio (Brazil)
  • Severo, Marta (Italy)
  • Su, Junjie (China)
  • Toji, Simone (Brazil)
  • Zlatkova, Meglena (Bulgaria)

System maintained by the Secretariat

The 2003 Convention Secretariat ensures the overall development and maintenance of the system on its servers and provides basic technical support to the different stakeholders. The data can be downloaded at any moment in a standard format (bibtext) for use outside the system.

The Editorial Group determines the scope and content of the bibliography and UNESCO does not bear any responsibility for its content. The designations employed and the presentation in the texts and documents referenced in the bibliography do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.