Tangible Changes in Intangible Cultural Heritage Preservation: Using experience-based co-design to inform cultural policy-making practice.
University of the Arts, London
Year of enrolment: 2019
According to UNESCO, the significance of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) lies in the know-how and skills that are passed on from generation to generation. Craftspeople struggle to adjust to the competition that multinational corporations and local industries bring with mass produced goods (ICH, UNESCO, 2017) whilst other craftspeople adapt to market needs, by importing and selling craft imitations alongside originals.
This coupled with policy limitations, means that often such communities do not have adequate resources either to conserve heritage via suitable infrastructures, or resources for preservation through education (Mavrelli, 2017).
In this study, socially responsive design as design driven by social issues and with social change being its main objective (Gamman & Thorpe, 2006) will be employed to envision sustainable craft futures.
Experience-based co-design (EBCD) is the proposed methodological approach for this research project. It has only been used so far in the context of healthcare (EBCD, 2018) and will be employed in this context in relation to the cultural sphere of craft heritage. Carriers of endangered crafts will be asked to film each other over time making the crafts, to elicit tacit knowledge and to share stories with civil servants, UNESCO officials and other community members that the project will bring together. They will then be invited to participate in co-design workshops to discuss, design and eventually establish common goals, creating tangible proposals for the maintenance and evolution of ICH.
The study will expand the use of the existing EBCD methodology in the contexts of ICH preservation and community resilience and will form the basis of a socially responsive design methodology which will act as a strategic model for community engagement. The final output will be an updated cultural strategy that makes the value of ICH more visible within government and in communities of endangered crafts.