ResiliArt South Asia: Webinar on Building resilient communities practicing intangible cultural heritage

The health crisis brought on by the novel coronavirus has been unprecedented in its impact on lives, livelihoods, and our socio-economic-cultural situation. 

While billions of people around the world turn to culture as a source of comfort and connection, the impact of COVID-19 has not spared the culture sector. More than 80% of UNESCO World Heritage properties have closed down, threatening the livelihoods of the local communities and cultural professionals. Cultural institutions and facilities including museums, theatres and cinemas are shut thus impacting not only revenues but also sense of community and cultural lives of people. Artists across the world, most of whom were already working part-time, on an informal basis or under precarious contracts prior to the pandemic, are struggling to make ends meet. In India, the crafts sector that is largely self-employed involving a large number of people has been facing a severe crisis. Similarly living traditions such as festive events that form an important part of people’s lives have had to be paused. Today, we are experiencing a cultural emergency. 

On April 15, 2020, UNESCO launched a global movement ResiliArt to mobilize solidarity among artists and cultural professionals. Social media campaign and online debates are being organized to shed light on the impact of the pandemic on cultural value chain and creative economy, support the artists during and following the crisis. UNESCO New Delhi launched ResiliArt South Asia on May 21, 2020 with a webinar on “Arts and Culture during Covid-19 crisis”. 

South Asia is rich in intangible cultural heritage. The folk artists and crafts persons are facing challenges with cancellation of cultural programs, festivals and exhibitions, disruptions in supply chain and restrictions in mobility and social gathering.

On June 10, 2020, UNESCO New Delhi in collaboration with banglanatak dot com is organizing a webinar on ‘Building Resilient Communities Practicing Intangible Cultural Heritage’. The objectives of the webinar are to:

  • Raise awareness about the impact of COVID-19 on tradition bearers and practitioners of intangible  cultural heritage and make their voices heard;
  • Identify needs and challenges to be addressed through development of policies, programs and financial mechanisms aimed at empowering artists; 
  • Sharing voices of communities practicing intangible cultural heritage and experiences from different countries.


The discussion will take place on an online platform that allows audiences to follow the discussions as well as post questions using a chat function. The webinar will be from 4 pm to 5-30 pm. 75 minutes will be for the discussion and additional 15 minutes allocated for introduction, Q&A and conclusion. 


Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka will welcome the panelists and introduce the ResiliArt initiative.

The panelists are:

  • Sreya Guha, IAS, Principal Secretary Art & Culture and Tourism, Government of Rajasthan
  • Johannes Theurer, Senior producer, Radio Berlin & Secretary, World Music Chart Europe
  • Dr. Sunil Chitrakar, CEO, Mahaguthi Craft with Conscience
  • Shahid Hussain Shamim, Senior Vice President, Handicrafts Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh- BANGLACRAFT.
  • Gopinath Parayil, Founder, The Blue Yonder

The discussion will explore the following questions:

  • What are the far reaching impacts of the pandemic on the traditional handicraft and folk performing artists?
  • Are women facing any particular challenges?
  • What measures should be taken or are being taken to support the ICH communities to ensure survival and resilience?
  • Is there a need for enabling policies?
  • How do ICH skills offer opportunities for resilience and self-sufficiency?
  • What capacity building is needed for pivoting business models and new market development?

Online link for the webinar: The program will be streamed on UNESCO New Delhi Facebook page.

For Registration click here.