On 28 November 2019, the International scientific and practical conference “Education in the ICH: research and safeguarding” took place in the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine. It was dedicated to the role and significance of formal and informal education in the ICH safeguarding, its place and possibilities in the general educational process.
The conference was organized by the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine jointly with the Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in South-Eastern Europe under the auspices of UNESCO (Sofia, Bulgaria), the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture” (Kyiv, Ukraine) and the National Union of Folk-Art Masters of Ukraine (Kyiv, Ukraine).
The conference was attended by experts, ICH facilitators of UNESCO global network from Northern Macedonia (V. Stojkova Serafimovska), Belarus (A. Stashkevich), Ukraine (O. Butsenko), researchers, representatives of universities, schools and centers for children and youth of Ukraine, folk-art masters and ICH bearers, national ICH experts.
Inaugurating the conference, the first vice president of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Doctor of Technical Science, professor Mykola Yakovlev stated that it was for the first time such conference took place in Ukraine gathering representatives from various Ukrainian cities, educational establishments, culture organizations and centers, practitioners and theorists for discussing extremely important challenges which today education and culture faced in terms of concepts, approaches and future development programmes. Five years ago, the Coordination council for art education and science, including expert commissions and, particularly, that of cultural heritage was established at the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine. Thus, it was logical that the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine initiated such important conference on the role of education and science in ICH.
The conference speakers addressed the determined range of issues. The head of the National Union of Folk-Art Masters of Ukraine, Yevghen Shevchenko, stressed that the intangible cultural heritage of all peoples was like deep roots which fed the crown of the modern culture, and told about activities of the National Union of Folk-Art Masters as a space of informal education and knowledge transferring. The director of the Institute for Culture Research of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Doctor of Philosophy, professor, Hanna Chmil said about the crucial role of academic researches and documentation in the ICH safeguarding and skills transfer to the future generations.
Alla Stashkevich, ICH facilitator of the UNESCO global network, director of Foundation «Cultural Heritage and Modernity”, cultural heritage expert, member of Belarus National Commission for UNESCO, in her contribution “Role of formal and informal education for promoting and ensuring the continuity of the ICH” addressed the very important question about the close relation between the ICH and biodiversity, indicating that “if one biological specie disappears, a plant or an animal, the related with it culture disappears as well, and vice versa, with disappearing certain culture the entire biological specie disappears too”.
Velika Stojkova Serafimovska, ICH facilitator of the UNESCO global network, ethnomusicologist, researcher in the Institute for Folklore “Marko Cepenkov” in Skopje University put in her contribution “The role of the community in the formal and informal ICH education
– case studies from the Balkan and the Baltic countries” special attention to the notion “community” and determination of community in the scientific literature which allowed to understand better the article 15 of the Convention 2003: “Within the framework of its safeguarding activities of the intangible cultural heritage, each State Party shall endeavour to ensure the widest possible participation of communities, groups and, where appropriate, individuals that create, maintain and transmit such heritage, and to involve them actively in its management”. The speaker underlined that the understanding of community’s role in learning, developing and transferring knowledge was raised gradually, as well as in deciding about submission of one or other ICH element to the respective register, on local, national or UNESCO level. The community, as the international expert demonstrated by examples, didn’t always want and/or agree to include its ICH in one or other register, and their decision would be critical.
The rector of Kyiv Academy of Arts, conductor, musicologist, Ph.D. in Musicology, associated professor, merited arts worker of Ukraine, National Artist of Ukraine, Olha Bench revealed the extraordinary meaning of the living heritage for small and indigenous peoples and communities using example of her own family and personal life. She emphasized emotionally that on killing or freezing the living culture we could kill an entire ethnos and the whole history.
It’s possible to raise awareness and to involve young people for safeguarding and caring own culture and traditions through modern creative expression and technologies, as it demonstrated in her contribution about Ukrainian poetic cinema the academic secretary of cinema department of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, academic, Doctor in Arts, professor Iryna Zubavina.
Other important channel for ICH promotion and youth involvement are writings and books. One of such book, “Ukrainian embroidery”, was presented by Valentyna Vitos, director of Odesa oblast Ukrainian culture center. She led and realized this colorful project jointly with Valeriy Ustiansky.
Challenges of ICH education and knowledge transfer were considered by representatives of high schools (Kyiv National T. Shevchenko University, Zaporizhzhia National University, Poltava National Technical University named after Yu. Kondratiuk, Kharkiv State Academy of Culture, Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts, Melitopol State Pedagogical University named after B. Khmelnytsky), research institutes (H. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Institute for Culture Research of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Modern Art Research Institute of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, Institute for modernization of the educational content, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine), institutes for professional training (Cherkasy Regional Institute for post-graduate education of pedagogical workers of Cherkasy region), educational and cultural centers (Odesa oblast Ukrainian culture center, Kyiv Palace for children and youth, Luhansk oblast folk art center, Donetsk oblast scientific methodological center of culture, National Center “Small Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”).
Special mention should be made to the information about activities of the Scientific Methodological Center for ICH of Nations Living in Azov Sea Region at Melitopol State Pedagogical University named after B. Khmelnytsky. The director of the Center, vice rector of Melitopol State Pedagogical University, Olena Arabadji, said that ICH questions were introduced into University curricula for biodiversity, biology, philology, mathematics. Since 2016, O. Arabadji taught a humanitarian course “Spiritual and Cultural Heritage of Poliethnic Azov Sea Region” for students of educational programmes “History”, “Tourism”, “Geography”, “Philology”, “Sociology”, “Philosophy”. Bachelor’s and master’s theses were based on students’ researches. The speaker presented also informal educational tools: events organized jointly with Development Centre “Democracy through Culture” (Kyiv) and Melitopol National Cultural Karaite Society “Djamaat” – interregional practical workshops “ICH of the region study, promotion and safeguarding. Experience of Melitopol region”; “Language as a means for the ICH”; “Living culture under globalization: ICH safeguarding and promotion as a response to modern challenges” (with participation of researchers from Lithuania); photo-exhibition “Safeguarding of traditional crafts and arts for peace building” (Ukraine-Columbia); round table “Folk art as a source of the ICH and a way to translate culture and national character” and Art-Hub “Living Chain”.
A special issue at the conference was the policy and approaches to the ICH by museums as a space for public dialogue and education. The head of History, Museology and Memorial Studies in Kharkiv State Academy of Culture, Doctor in Cultural Studies, Ph.D. in History, Anatoliy Scherban raised this question. Participants discussed about possibilities of the ICH digitalization, ICH representation in museum collections, use of special terminology and modern interactive methods of work. It was stated that ICOM recognized the role of museum in safeguarding and preservation of “tangible and intangible heritage of humanity”. Museums could contribute essentially to the ICH safeguarding by using their power, infrastructure and resources for the development of creative initiatives.
These are museums, exhibition halls and art galleries that could become the important space for the informal education in ICH. Artists and folk-art masters talked about it. The talented artist, author of magic tapestries, Olha Piliuhina, told, using personal example, about the significance of the combination of various types of education – formal, informal and non-formal, how such experience helped her in creating own educational courses for little children (3-5 years) and students of Poltava National University. The artist stressed, “It’s very important to be motivated in the childhood”, how it happened with her when she as a child started to master art of tapestry and embroidery. Yevghen Piliuhin, merited folk-art master, shared his experience of family education and proposed to create a guide-book for parents.
Head of folk-art department of the Kyiv Palace for children and youth, Svitlana Hadarschuk presented educational practices of out-of-school activities. These practices based upon the methodology of transferring skills from master to apprentice, and upon the principle for learning all presentations of the living culture, not only mastering technique.
Zoya Stashuk, merited folk-art master in pysanka art (Easter eggs painting) told about the interrelation and complementarity between different educational practices. She presented her personal experience in developing educational coursed in eggs painting for out-of-school and school activities. Speaking about comprehensive research work concerning “pysanka” she stressed upon the importance to unite efforts of communities, researchers, experts and lecturers for ICH safeguarding.
Conference participants paid also attention to possible risks and threats to ICH: decontextualization, folklorization, fixing or freezing, over-commercialization, appropriation of the heritage. As it was underlined, “it is of extreme importance the understanding of intellectual property rights based on European approaches and documents dealing concretely with the ICH, rights of bearers and communities”. Iryna Puryha, head curator of Krolevets Weaving Museum, Iryna Pavlenko, head of Slavic Philology in the National University of Zaporizhzhia, Doctor in Philology, professor, and Valentyna Demian, vice director of the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture”, national ICH expert, shared their thoughts and experience in the given issue.
It was agreed that as its outcome the conference would adopt recommendations and appeals to legislative and executive authorities formulating and implementing ICH safeguarding programmes.