Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 12.COM 11.e.4

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Uzbekistan has proposed Margilan Crafts Development Centre, safeguarding of the atlas and adras making traditional technologies (No. 01254) for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:

The history of ikat atlas and adras-making technologies in the territory of modern-day Uzbekistan dates back to the Late Antique Period. Historically, Margilan was the centre for making atlas and adras – vivid and fine traditional fabrics. Traditional crafts went through turbulent times during the Soviet period, jeopardizing some ancient handmade production technologies. Due to the acute need to revive and safeguard traditions at risk of disappearing, the local community came up with an initiative to launch the Crafts Development Centre (CDC) in 2007. The CDC’s goal is to safeguard, develop and promote the method of Uzbek traditional atlas and adras making through innovative training sessions, exhibitions and craft fairs, traditional textile festivals, and the publication of safeguarding materials and manuals. The CDC also promotes the use of natural materials, and supports the transmission of knowledge and skills about nature and the universe and their role in ensuring people’s health and wellbeing. The CDC’s success stems from its focus on a spirit of partnership, and the local communities play a key role in its initiatives since there is a common understanding that atlas and adras fabrics are central to their identity.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a good safeguarding practice set out in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:

P.1:   The programme arose from the urgent need to revitalize the craft techniques and practices. Nowadays, it involves awareness-raising activities and transmission at various levels, adopting an inclusive approach for different social groups. In particular, it supports inter-generational transmission and transmission through non-formal training, with a focus on involving young people and promoting sustainable production through the use of natural fabrics and dyes as opposed to industrial products.

P.2:   While the Margilan Crafts Development Centre mainly operates at the national level, Ikat craftsmanship is also promoted at the international level through such activities as exhibitions, craft fairs and international festivals. Moreover, the Centre also connects craftspeople with art connoisseurs, fashion designers and markets in general, thereby ensuring their promotion both nationwide and internationally.

P.3:   The Centre’s mission includes: safeguarding traditional atlas and adras-making as a practice of intangible cultural heritage; ensuring respect for this element of cultural heritage and its bearers; raising awareness about its importance; and promoting respect for diversity and human creativity. It also encourages sustainable development based on heritage values that boost self-employment and the generation of income, as well as the inclusion of youth.

P.4:   The Centre has made a significant contribution to various safeguarding measures, all of which have an important social impact. Vast numbers of young people have taken part in training sessions, and the tradition now enjoys a growing number of participants and new bearers. The products have achieved a better position on the market, and no fewer than fifty new products have been developed by combining ancient know-how with modern design. Cooperative actions have been developed with charities and the project has addressed the most vulnerable categories of the population. The CDC’s activities also include the revitalization of the traditional processes of silk production, dyeing and other aspects of the atlas and adras production process, along with the development of non-formal master-apprentice training, master classes and the production of educational materials.

P.5:   The local community first launched the campaign for the foundation of the CDC, supported by the government and civil society organizations. The process of preparing this proposal also involved the communities concerned at all stages, in particular the Craftspeople Association and the community of ikat-makers. A large number of documents are enclosed as evidence of the free, prior and informed consent obtained from the bearers and other stakeholders.

P.6:   The file shows how an efficient public-private partnership scheme can be established for the safeguarding of cultural heritage. The project is a community-based initiative supported by the State and other partners, which helps to revitalize an inter-generational system of transmission based on a master-apprenticeship relationship. In particular, the activities aimed at income-generation and sustainability could provide a model beyond Uzbekistan. However, there is a concern over the hierarchical nature of the working relationships between the different stakeholders within the CDC.

P.7:   The CDC has established professional relations with craft workshops across the country. Moreover, the masters of the CDC visit foreign countries and eagerly transmit their knowledge and organize master classes and training activities, such as the workshops held in Kabul and Issikul and other related events in India, the USA, South Korea, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The practice is also disseminated through festivals, exhibitions and craft fairs.

P.8:   Regular assessments carried out – which comprise both qualitative and quantitative data – include internal monitoring, annual reporting to public agencies and specialized associations and evaluations by partnering agencies. Examples of such evaluations include the project carried out together with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, as well as the use of questionnaires for surveys conducted periodically by the Craftspeople Association. Continual quality control standards are also applied to the CDC’s products.

P.9:   The CDC has developed within a context of social transition and has addressed many issues that are often pertinent to developing countries. The project can be considered as a model for social entrepreneurship, such as in light of the inclusion of youth, assistance for vulnerable groups, the revitalization of cultural heritage and sustainable development.

  1. Selects Margilan Crafts Development Centre, safeguarding of the atlas and adras making traditional technologies as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
  2. Invites the State Party to ensure that the working relationships and conditions in the Margilan Crafts Development Centre are fully in line with the Ethical Principles for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage.