12.10.2010 -

Intangible Cultural Heritage, A Living Legacy To Safeguard

Wiki commons/Yair HaklaiGondolas Grand Canal

The meeting venue of “The Intangible Cultural Heritage: a World Stage for the Venetian Traditions” will be the Venice Cruise Terminal, Terminal 103, and will take place from 22 – 23 October 2010. This meeting is co-organized under the framework of an Italian research project (University of Milano-Bicocca) concerning intangible cultural heritage and underwater heritage and VTP Events. It will be an opportunity to present Italian intangible cultural heritage and related national policies concerning its safeguarding, promotion, and recognition, with a particular emphasis on the Venetian intangible cultural heritage.


The meeting will be organized in three sessions. The first will tackle the legal aspects of the 2003 UNESCO International Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Invited experts include: Francesco Francioni, European University Institute, Florence, Toshiyuki Kono, Kyushu University, Fukuoka and current President of the General Assembly of the States Parties to the Convention, Cécile Duvelle, Chief of the UNESCO Section for Intangible Cultural Heritage and Secretary of the 2003 Convention.

The second will focus on the diversity of the national, and in particular the Venetian, intangible cultural heritage (such as traditional boats, Venice Carnival, Murano glass- making and Burano lace to the legacy of fine Venetian fabrics and textiles). Speakers will include Giovanni Puglisi, President of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, Chancellor of the IULM University of Languages and Communication, Milan; Pier Luigi Petrillo, UNESCO Working Group Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The last session will be dedicated to the interdisciplinary aspects of intangible cultural heritage. Leading Italian and international experts invited to attend are: Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, Paris; Annette Kur, Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law, Munich, University of Stockholm; and Tullio Scovazzi, Bicocca University, Milan.

The main objectives of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2003, are to safeguard intangible cultural heritage, to ensure respect for it, to raise awareness about its importance and to provide for international cooperation in these fields. The Convention focuses on the role of communities and groups in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, placing emphasis on living heritage that is performed by people, often collectively, and mostly communicated through living experience. It deals with heritage that communities deem important, and strives to contribute to the promotion of creativity and diversity, to the well being of communities, groups, and society at large, enabling a peaceful development and living together. The Convention concerns expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

At present, 2 elements from the Italian heritage have been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: the Sicilian Puppet Theatre (“Opera dei Puppi”),  a unique puppet theatre tradition, remarkable for the size and shape of the puppets, the operating techniques and the variety of colourful stage backdrops; and the “Canto a Tenore”, complex Sardinian  pastoral songs mostly performed in the region of Barbagia, and very much embedded in the daily life of local communities. 

The meeting has obtained various sponsorships, including those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Activities, the Italian National Commission for UNESCO, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the City of Venice, the Province of Venice, the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, the Bicocca University of Milan, Confindustria Venice, Confartigianato Venice, AIPPI (International Association for the Protection of Industrial Property), the Triveneto Union of Boards of the Bar Association, the Board of the Venice Bar Association and Venice Chamber of Commerce.


Author(s): UNESCO Venice Media Advisory N°2010-06

Source: UNESCOVENICE PRESS 04-10-2010

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