The competent bodies for intangible cultural heritage and their various responsibilities are as follows. The Cultural Heritage Directorate within the Ministry of Culture has overall responsibility for cultural heritage, sets policy, oversees safeguarding, funds public services and manages the Register of the Cultural Heritage. The designated coordinator safeguards intangible cultural heritage in cooperation with national and other authorised museums and the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage.The role of coordinator was assumed by the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in 2011. The Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO and its special Committee on Heritage support bearers of intangible cultural heritage, actions on increasing awareness regarding such, and participation of young people.
The Cultural Heritage Protection Act (No. 16/08 of 2008, as amended) is the main legislation which defines intangible cultural heritage according to the 2003 Convention, the competent bodies and their responsibilities, the system of safeguarding measures for integrated safeguarding and management of the national Register of the Cultural Heritage. On a policy level, the National Programme for Culture (2014–17) emphasises targeted support for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and, particularly, support to bearers. In addition, intangible cultural heritage has been integrated into the official Slovene Tourist Strategy (2012–16) while the Rural Development Programme (2014–20) deems cultural heritage as an opportunity for development of rural areas, as well as employment.
There are no special institutions in Slovenia dealing exclusively with training in intangible cultural heritage management.
Institutions holding information and documentation on intangible cultural heritage already existed but following ratification of the 2003 Convention, some focused more on its safeguarding. The coordinator pays special attention to intangible cultural heritage within the existing documentation system and other relevant institutions holding documentation on intangible cultural heritage: national and other officially-sanctioned museums; the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Slovenia and its regional offices; the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology (University of Ljubljana); the Institute for Slovene Ethnology; the Institute of Ethnomusicology; and the Science and Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which also publishes primary and secondary collections of folk songs and folk dances. In order to increase access to cultural heritage, the State provides special funds for the digitisation of heritage content held by competent institutions: digitised content on intangible cultural heritage is accessible to the general public through websites of archives, libraries, museums, universities and institutes. Content that has not yet been digitised is also accessible to the public in person.
The Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (‘the Register’) is the main inventory of living heritage and forms part of the Register of Cultural Heritage, managed by the Ministry of Culture. Submissions for inscription into the Register may be made by anyone but must include consent of the concerned bearer(s); most are submitted by bearers, competent professional organisations (e.g. museums) and non-governmental organisations, such as societies and associations. Data on elements include: the name(s); geographical location; the domain/subdomain; typological descriptors/types; data on the bearer(s); name, address and description (if necessary); relationship to other intangible or tangible heritage elements; type of safeguarding guidelines; competent institutions; justification for inscription; any limitations on accessibility of data to the public; and a photographic image. The role of the bearer(s) is emphasised throughout the inscription process. There were 37 elements of intangible cultural heritage and 79 bearers currently inscribed in the Register by late 2014. Selected elements included in the Register can be proclaimed as intangible cultural heritage of special national significance and five elements thus far have been accorded this status. Currently only elements of intangible cultural heritage with active bearers are inscribed in the Register and the inclusion of a category of threatened elements of intangible cultural heritage or those in need of urgent safeguarding is being considered.
A number of actors are involved in various safeguarding projects in addition to the coordinator, including non-governmental organisations, local authorities (e.g. local authorities often support local bearers through providing financing and space for their activities), bearers and community associations.
In order to raise awareness, present its activities and encourage bearers to nominate elements for the Register the coordinator published a leaflet entitled ‘The Intangible Cultural Heritage in Slovenia’ in 2009, followed by other publications aimed at promoting and enhancing safeguarding such as the Handbook of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2012) and audio-visual material promoting the elements inscribed in the Register. Other awareness-raising events have included exhibitions on ‘The Carnival Heritage of Slovenia’ (2012) and ‘The Easter Heritage of Slovenia’ (2013) held in the Slovene Ethnographic Museum. The Slovene Ethnological Society has organised scientific meetings on intangible cultural heritage and several professional and scientific books and articles have been published, including in the journals of the Slovene Ethnographic Museum and the Slovene Institute of Ethnology. Some bearers of elements inscribed in the Register have published books and periodicals, made films and mounted exhibitions on their intangible cultural heritage.
As for educational programmes, UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) in Slovenia has increasingly identified, explored and recorded local traditions. ASPnet has encouraged safeguarding intangible cultural heritage as one of its main themes, financially supported projects and published a bilingual publication Heritage in Young Hands – Youth Adopting Monuments in 2013. Since 2000, lacemaking has been included in the primary school curriculum as an optional subject and after-school activity, and the art of bobbin lacemaking is being transmitted through Third Age University courses and workshops for adults. The Cultural Bazaar is the most prominent annual event for promoting culture and arts education supported by several governmental ministries (culture, education, health, the environment) with the patronage of the National Commission. A key feature of the Bazaar is a full day training course intended for a broad range of professionals, primarily professional educators and cultural workers, including information on intangible cultural heritage.
Development agencies and handicraft centres active across Slovenia offer extra-curricular training, such as: the Centre for Arts and Crafts of the Marianum Veržej Institute, which organises various creative workshops in addition to regular training; the Development Centre of the Heart of Slovenia, which coordinates development projects in the region and offers cultural heritage-related training; and the Ribnica Handicraft Centre, which offers rich and diverse activities suitable for different target groups, including preschool and school groups. Several local community associations transmit intangible cultural heritage to younger generations as a safeguarding activity. Non-formal knowledge is passed on through festivals, exhibitions, competitions, and lectures.
The Public Fund for Cultural Activities covers non-professional creativity associated with music and dance activities, organises folklore groups for adults and children, safeguards associated tangible heritage (folklore costumes and musical instruments) and organises training programmes. In addition, the International Council for Traditional Music (accredited non-governmental organisation and member of the Evaluation Body) and the Forum of Slavic Cultures (a non-profit organisation) also organises festivals, exhibitions and seminars on intangible cultural heritage and recognises Slavic cultural creativity in ethnology, museology, folklore and music through the Živa Award.
In terms of bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation, representatives of the Ministry of Culture and of the coordinator regularly participate in regional expert meetings on intangible cultural heritage. In 2014, Slovenia officially became a Member State of the Regional Centre for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Experts actively participate in seminars and conferences on intangible cultural heritage of Southeast Europe organised under the auspices of the UNESCO Office in Venice. Several international meetings on intangible cultural heritage have been held in Slovenia, some of which were organised by the Slovene Ethnological Society. For the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Convention, the Coordinator organised an international conference on ‘Promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage’ attended by experts from Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Germany. From 2011 to 2014, ‘Cultural Capital Counts’ was a project linking ten European regions from six countries, including Slovenia. The main goal of the project is to enable positive development of the regions by focusing on intangible cultural heritage. The Slovene Ethnographic Museum has also participated in the international project ‘Carnival King of Europe’ (with Italy, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, France, and Poland).
Slovenia has no elements inscribed on the lists of the 2003 Convention so far.