09.07.2019 -

Kingston is among three pioneer cities worldwide to explore the Intangible Cultural Heritage in urban settings for Sustainable Cities – Wrap-up Workshop opened

© O’Brien Brown | Oristocratz

Kingston in Jamaica, the birthplace of Reggae, designated a Creative City of Music by UNESCO, was selected as one of three pilot cities worldwide to implement the project ‘Community-based inventorying of intangible cultural heritage in urban contexts’. The project is part of the UNESCO initiative Intangible Heritage and Creativity for Sustainable Cities. The other two pilot cities that were selected are George Town in Malaysia and Harare in Zimbambwe.

The UNESCO Cluster Office for the English and Dutch Caribbean coordinated the project in collaboration with the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO and the African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank. The project was implemented thanks to the generous contribution of the Yong Xin Hua Yun Cultural Industry Investment Group Co., Ltd., from China.

The pilot project in Kingston was launched this year in March. Since then, activities and capacity building workshops on community-based inventorying and inventorying methodologies have been undertaken with three pilot communities from Trench Town, August Town and Port Royal. The African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank, is also conducting a study to identify and better understand the key issues related to safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage in the urban context of Kingston to provide data for policy recommendations.

In this framework, the Wrap-up Workshop from 4 to 5 July, was opened by the Hon. Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport of Jamaica. The Minister urged participants from the three Kingston communities involved, to view their intangible cultural heritage practices through new lenses to create market opportunities by displaying their local cultural heritage.

"The project provides a great opportunity to use their cultural heritage to build and sustain local enterprises"

She further appealed to UNESCO to make available the data resulting from this enriching community exercise, which will contribute to the development of cultural policies and programmers' at the national level for the purpose of creating and fostering prosperity for all Jamaican people.

The Director of the UNESCO Cluster Office for the English and Dutch Caribbean, Katherine Grigsby, expressed her appreciation to the participants, facilitators and partners in this project, notably to the significant support from Yong Xin Hua Yun Cultural Industry Investment Group Co., Ltd., represented in the workshop by Mr Steven Wan, VP of Holding Group and CEO of Overseas Division Companies. She emphasized the importance of the project to raise awareness about intangible cultural heritage and the role it plays in strengthening individual and collective identities, especially in marginalised urban spaces.

“The Project has opened a lively and creative platform for the culture rich communities of Kingston, through which they can identify and recognise their own living cultural heritage, bringing out their greatest potential to transform their city together, for a more sustainable future”.

Ms. Yue Shen, representing UNESCO Culture Sector from UNESCO Headquarter in Paris, presented an overview of the UNESCO Project on Intangible Heritage and Creativity for Sustainable Cities aiming to promote the role that living heritage and creativity can play in building sustainable cities. She took advantage from her visit to Kingston to grasp and appreciate the unique living culture that is transmitted from generation to generation in urban communities, which nourishes cultural diversity and human creativity.

Richenel Ansano and David Brown of the UNESCO Global network of facilitators in the field of intangible cultural heritage around the world, guided the training workshop from 11 to 16 March with the three communities concerned. The participants developed their capacities to conduct pilot inventories in urban contexts in order to document and safeguard their traditional knowledge and practices to embrace their identity, and further transform their creative capital into socio-economic opportunities.

Find more information on the Workshop in March here

Visit the Photo Gallery of the Opening Ceremony here

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