Ukraine became a State Party to the 2003 Convention in 2008. The competent body for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is the Ukrainian Center for Cultural Studies under the Ministry of Culture. There are also 11 regional commissions which, among other things, develop Regional Records of intangible cultural heritage. In terms of overall policy, recording and disseminating intangible cultural heritage is a priority defined in the long-term strategy for cultural development developed in 2015 as an important means of preserving and strengthening national identity and ensuring cultural rights.
As regards training in intangible cultural heritage management, no specific institution or training course as yet exists but a national conference held in December 2015 proposed that from 2016 relevant training courses for specialists be set up in higher and specialized educational institutions. The main body responsible for documentation is the Ukrainian Center for Cultural Studies, which is responsible for providing scientific and methodological support for implementing the 2003 Convention. Other relevant bodies include the National Center for Folk Culture ‘Ivan Honchar Museum’ and the M. T. Rylsky Institute of Art, Folklore Studies and Ethnology.
The inventorying of Ukraine’s intangible cultural heritage is undertaken in the National Record which, at the time of reporting, contained five elements as well as in regional lists whose elements can later be incorporated into the National Record. Methodological recommendations on the preparation and use of inventory forms were developed in 2015, including an online version of the Record. The criteria for inclusion follow the terms of Article 2 of the 2003 Convention. The method for up-dating the inventory is reported as being developed. As for community involvement and the participation of non-governmental organizations in identifying and defining elements for inventorying, regional Creative Centres, regional civil organizations and universities with a specialization in folklore and related studies are also engaged to the process of identifying and defining elements of intangible cultural heritage for their inclusion in the Record.
Other safeguarding measures include a series of awards and incentives for bearers, researchers and others involved in various aspects of safeguarding, such as regional and national prizes and state grants awarded to leading figures in culture and art. Thus far, no specific scientific or technical studies have been undertaken on intangible cultural heritage and its elements, although methodological manuals have been prepared for the documentation, collection and conservation of elements as well as a glossary of key terms.
A number of educational programmes have been developed at different levels and there are currently a pre-school programme on ‘Ukrainian Environment’, school programmes in relevant arts and high-school programmes in folklore. The curricula of specialized art schools (aesthetic education) also contain relevant courses. The aforementioned 2015 national conference also recommended the introduction of curricula in folklore at higher education in order to create more specialists in the field as well as the adoption of a comprehensive research budget for intangible cultural heritage in folklore research. The Centre for Children and Youth also offers programmes in vocal music, decorative arts, choreography, crafts, circus arts etc. Capacity building in the intangible cultural heritage field has been undertaken through the popularization of the cultural practices by the National Center of Folk Culture ‘Ivan Honchar Museum’ and through regional activities such as folk festivals, ethnographic and arts fairs, exhibitions, and special holidays (e.g. the Reshetylivka Spring in the Poltava Region). The Ukrainian Center for Cultural Studies also organized a number of workshops, seminars and training seminars for different communities and groups on aspects of the 2003 Convention and safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. More informal methods of transmission occur through workshops held during ethnographic and cultural events (fairs, festivals, master classes etc.). The Centre for Children and Youth also organizes tourist educational programmes that include education on the protection of natural spaces and places of memory important for intangible cultural heritage.
In terms of bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation, discussions have been held with Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Romania, over common intangible cultural heritage elements in order to develop general and interdisciplinary approaches. Joint events (seminars, conferences) for the study and promotion of Ukrainian intangible cultural heritage elements in cooperation with the Ukrainian communities abroad are also being considered. In addition, cooperation and exchange of experience are established with the experts from Lithuania, Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova and a training workshop on ‘Intangible cultural heritage Ukraine, Lithuania, Azerbaijan’ was held in Ukraine in 2015.
Ukraine has one element inscribed on the Representative List, namely Petrykivka decorative painting as a phenomenon of the Ukrainian ornamental folk art, which was inscribed in 2013. This decorative art constantly innovates through new combinations of forms and symbols and through the use of new media such that they are now used in body art by young people following the popularization that has accompanied inscription. Leading exponents of the art play a central role in its continued viability, promotion and transmission and safeguarding measures include an annual festival, media coverage, both formal and non-formal education in schools, lectures and workshops.