14/02/2013 - 21/02/2013

Cambodia is reinforcing a community-based focus in its existing and new efforts to document and inventory living heritage. For this purpose and with generous funding from Japan, over 35 participants came together in Siem Reap from 14 to 21 February this year to build their knowledge and develop this new approach.
UNESCO provided the substantive support through two members of its certified facilitators’ network, Mr Rahul Goswami from India and Ms Suzanne Ogge from Australia. The programme included 8 days of intensive course work and field-based practicum carried out in the rural areas of Siem Reap and the town itself. Fieldwork included a visit to the School of Fine Arts and two local communities, with forms of ICH documented including traditional weaving processes, martial arts skills and techniques, and performing arts. Participants learned, through hands-on training, field-based techniques of interviewing and audio-visual recording. A visit was also conducted to the Eco-Global Museum (supported by UNESCO) located in the Preah Vihear Province, to learn about a concrete inventory project underway which combines audio-visual documentation of living heritage among a local indigenous community with the documentation of associated cultural objects.
So far, Cambodia’s Living Human Treasures programme has included documentation efforts, though its methods have not as yet been extended to community-based approaches recommended by the 2003 Convention. The capacity-building workshop on inventorying with a strong community focus thus provided participants - most of whom are provincial directors – with further skills and knowledge for their field practices. In addition, the training placed much emphasis on developing mutually supportive networks among cultural professionals and communities to support national efforts to document and inventory living heritage.
The participants included those who had attended the first capacity-building workshop on implementation held in 2012 August in Phnom Penh, and new participants. Among them were representatives of civil society organizations. While several mentioned the need for long-term and reliable financial support and stability for safeguarding, all participants confirmed that the training was extremely useful and they would integrate the new approach in their current work and future programmes.