Institutions, organizations, contacts
Permanent Delegation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO
Maison de l’UNESCO
1, rue Miollis
75732 PARIS Cedex 15
United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO
c/o United Nations Association-UK
3 Whitehall Court
London SW1A 2 EL
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com (Secretary-General); firstname.lastname@example.org (Ms Andrea Blick)
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Accredited NGOs located in this country
|Name, address and source||Activities related to ICH|
|Museums Galleries Scotland - MGS|
2-4 Waterloo Place
UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
Tel.: T: 0131 550 4100
Year of creation: 1964
- oral traditions and expressions
- identification, documentation,
research (including inventory-making)
Malawi, New Zealand, RwandaObjectives:
Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) was founded as a charitable trust to promote, support and assist museums and art galleries in Scotland to improve their organisations and services. We work to improve activities such as preservation, conservation, presentation and publicising of human history; provide museums with funding, expert advice and assistance, to promote the dissemination of knowledge held in museums through education or research; and to encourage the use and enjoyment of museums by the public.
In 2004 MGS started to receive requests from museums for advice on how to safeguard the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) often associated with their collections and communities. Many of the museums in Scotland are small community run organisations that also act as cultural hubs. The museums safeguard and promote the ICH of their communities as well as the material cultural of their collections.
In response to these requests MGS commissioned research on how ICH in Scotland could be safeguarded and the relationship of the ICH with the museum community and their collections. An inclusive definition of ICH in Scotland has been fundamental to the approach adopted. This embraces the diversity of cultures found in Scotland including that of migrant communities.
Safeguarding of ICH in Scotland is now recognised as an important issue due to the work of these projects, leading to questions raised in the Scottish Parliament and reference to work in government reports. MGS has been instrumental in the development of a Wiki style online inventory raising the profile and awareness of ICH in Scotland. MGS will be taking the Wiki forward and developing the inventory in partnership with the museums and their communities.
Much if MGS's work involves ICH practitioners as we provide funding and advice on projects such as the Scottish Fisheries museum's boat building and coastal rowing project which is re-invigorating the a tradition of inter-community regattas in Scottish coastal communities. Here communities build their boat using a kit developed by the museum based on a traditional design and then compete in the regattas, in its first year
10 new boats were launched.
MGS is the representative body for over 360 museums and galleries in Scotland (the highest museums per capita than anywhere else in the UK) . Between them they are custodians of Scotland's material and intangible culture. These organisations are bridges between their communities and their collections, acting as cultural hubs. They are places where both the community and visitors can experience and participate in ICH practice. This could be through a Gaelic language meeting, a performance of Border Ballads or an evening of traditional Polish celebration.
MGS has directly funded events that both showcase some of this activity and promote more of it, stimulating ICH to be reinvigorated. A good example of this is a project carried out with Taigh Chearsabhgh on the Isle of Uist where an artist was commissioned to create new work inspired by the knitting traditions of the community and the Gaelic sayings. This project resulted in a renewed community interest in knitting traditions and the resurgence of knitting groups on the island.
The whole MGS organisation is involved in advising on the development of projects that are then funded through MGS.
More recent activities have been around research into how Scotland could start developing an inventory for ICH in a first step towards supporting the UNESCO 2003 convention. As outlined above MGS commissioned research from Edinburgh Napier University on how an inventory could be developed. MGS is a partner in an Arts and Humanities Research funded project to create the inventory.
A simple Wiki style inventory has been developed. Still in its research phase, this inventory will be handed over to MGS for further development in October 2011.
The ICH work has been led by the CEO of MGS who is also the founding Chair of the UNESCO Scotland Committee, part of the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC). The UKNC have provided funding for some of the development work for the ICH research and have been strong supporters in moving the UK Government forward towards ratification of the 2003 convention.
The MGS Research and Standards team have been managing the ICH Wiki partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and two members of staff have developed knowledge and expertise in this area. The Wiki partnership has also involved the Membership Development Manager who liaises directly with individual museums. The museum development team have expanded their expertise in this area through working on a
project 'Revisiting collections' which draws on intangible heritage to develop further knowledge around collections.
MGS staff are regularly involved in visits to museums to provide advice on project development as well as assessing funding applications. we have regular contact with community leaders and ICH practioners. For example we have a programme of support for Auchindrain Trust which is a centre for traditional practices such as 'dry-stane dyking' as well as recently hosting a 'gaelic waulking' of the cloth. Museums in Scotland use knowledge about ICH practices to open up the debate around identity and to explore the more challenging aspects of ICH. For example the Highland Folk Museum demonstrates ICH practices via its activity programme such as rag rug making, weaving, but has also worked with the Highland Gypsy Development Officer to carry out a project involving the young people from the Traveller community in the Highlands. They used the museums collection as a starting point for follow on work, a story telling project called 'Traveller Tales' - information about the cultural traditions of the travelling community is now
included in all Highland region school resources.
Initial contact with MGS is often as result of a request for development advice and a good example of this is Scottish Traditional Boat Festival who first became a member of MGS as the Festival and then developed a museum centre, the Portsoy Salmon Bothy which enables the organisation to make links with other ICH practitioners outside the existing annual events calendar. The museum is used as a venue to explore traditional music through hosting a weekly folk music club, and regular ceilidhs and connects to other ICH projects such as the Moray Firth Partnership's Gansey project. Another development project is the Shetland Textile Working Museum where the collection is managed by the Guild of Spinners, Knitter, Weavers and Dyers. It is currently being temporarily housed in Shetland Amenity Trust's Bod of Gremista museum and the Guild play a pivotal role in preserving and passing on traditional Shetland skills.
MGS co-operates with the museum community and the ICH practitioners in a spirit of mutual respect. The charitable objectives for MGS are based on providing development support for museums and their communities in Scotland. In order to fulfil these objectives MGS staff are in constant dialogue with local museums and ICH practitioners. Scotland and MGS have chosen to adopt an inclusive definition of ICH as 'ICH in Scotland' rather than 'Scottish ICH' this embraces diverse migrant communities in Scotland. This is a collaboratively inspired and driven definition that is community centred and owned. It aims to be inclusive of all and accessible to all, unforced and uncontrived, celebrating community diversity and promoting community cohesion that puts heritage in the context of shared spacial and social identity. Reflecting this inclusive definition we have chosen a participative Wiki based approach to creating an inventory for ICH in Scotland. This approach means that individual ICH practitioners can create their own records describing their ICH practices within their communities. We are now encouraging ICH practitioners to populate the Wiki using the tutorials on You Tube as a guide on how to create records. The Wiki is still in its research phase, but MGS will be investing in the Wiki to make it more user friendly and to engage more ICH practitioners through a series of events planned for 2012.
MGS has a wide network of both museums and ICH practitioners and we promote and showcase their work through our publications and events. MGS also delivers an annual Festival of Museums, which this year had over 80 events all over Scotland, these events are often based on local ICH practices such as performance, storytelling, music or crafts. Future Festival of Museums will be specifically themed around 'living culture' and we are planning to hold an online competition for communities to vote for the ICH practice in Scotland, they will nominate for the World List when the UK ratifies the 2003 Convention.