Vincenzo Capuano, the secretary of the NGO «Associazione Sant’Antuono & le Battuglie di Pastellessa» (Italy) concerned with ICH issues, answers to the questions of the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture” (Valentyna Demian)
Valentyna Demian: Dear Mr Vincenzo Capuano, thanks that we’ve agreed to answer my questions. For starters, could you tell us shortly about yourself and your organization? From when have you interested ICH issues? And what does ICH mean for you in the modern streaming and changing world?
Vincenzo Capuano: My name is Vincenzo Capuano, I’m 39 years old and I’m an engineer. Since 2008 I have been the secretary of the UNESCO accredited NGO “Associazione Sant’Antuono & le Battuglie di Pastellessa” based in Macerata Campania, Italy, where I reside. The whole community of Macerata Campania is an active part in the feast of Sant’Antuono organized by the NGO, which leads to having about 1500 active performers of the music of Sant’Antuono against evil (i.e. 15% of the population) of any age and gender. In Macerata Campania already from the age of 2 years it is an active part of the ICH. We grow with the music of Sant’Antuono, therefore every citizen of Macerata Campania has a certain sensitivity in safeguarding the ICH. Courses on traditions are held in the local school in collaboration with our NGO. Since 2008 I started to deal with UNESCO issues and ICH problems. Modern streaming allows you to reduce the distances between communities on a planetary level and with technology at low cost. This allows you to share ideas, create shared safeguard policies and learn knowledge from other communities which, in the absence of Internet connections, would be unlikely. Making the ICH usable and above all easy to access, for example with the creation of apps, learning games, short information videos or audio recordings, makes it possible to raise awareness of the importance of ICH in the new generations and make a correct promotion. An example is the video of a live performance of one of our battuglie “La piccola compagnia de I punto esclamativo” who on YouTube has exceeded 800,000 views in one year, with visitors from all over the world (see https://youtu.be/qL9-DoTKhNQ).
V.D.: The project ICH Library is marvelous, including the channel Facebook dell’Associazione Sant’Antuono & le Battuglie di Pastellessa for promoting the ICH. Tell us about the origin of such idea.
V.C.: The idea of using social networks was immediate and is linked above all to the experience I acquired in my studies to become an engineer. On these channels we manage to be in contact with people in a short time and reach many visitors by sharing our experiences and our contents (events, news, photos, videos). We can give quick assistance to those who need it. Today we are active on: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Issuu and Dailymotion, as well as with our institutional website www.santantuono.it.
V.D.: It’s very interesting to know about the activities of the Regione Campania in the frame of POC Campania 2014-2020 “Rigenerazione urbana, politiche per il turismo e la cultura. Programma regionale di eventi e iniziative promozionali”. How, on your opinion, this company could raise the role of the ICH?
V.C.: The Regione Campania has a very active role in safeguarding and promoting the ICH. The activities are carried out in line with the 2003 UNESCO Convention. In addition to financing the activities of the local communities with POC Campania 2014-2020, in recent years Campania has created a regional ICH inventory and has been carrying out research projects with universities on intangible cultural assets eligible for UNESCO lists, like the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, including the feast of Sant’Antuono in Macerata Campania.
V.D.: Associazione Sant’Antuono & le Battuglie di Pastellessa is the NGO accredited in UNESCO. What is its role in the ICH safeguarding and development?
V.C.: The Associazione Sant’Antuono & le Battuglie di Pastellessa has a primary and fundamental role for the local community in the ICH safeguarding and development. It was born inside the Parish of San Martino Bishop of Macerata Campania (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Capua) as the union of the ancient Committee of St. Anthony the Great and the traditional local groups, called “Battuglie di Pastellessa”. It brings together all the local performers, called bottari (around 1,500), like an umbrella and implements the safeguard policies with them: the minimum age of the participants is 2 years and they exceed 80 years. The NGO collaborates with national institutions such as the “Istituto Centrale per il Patrimonio Immateriale”, i.e. the Central Institute of Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism that deals the safeguarding and enhancing intangible cultural heritage; with the School of Macerata Campania, member of the national network of UNESCO Associated Schools, with which it implements ICH safeguard projects; with the local authorities such as the Municipality of Macerata Campania; and joins to multiple networks of Organizations, like ICH NGO Forum (2003 UNESCO Convention), which are committed to the conservation and safeguarding of the ICH at national and international level
V.D.: The modern world is fast-moving, it means that the ICH faces new challenges and risks. How do you think, which are efficient ways to avoid such threads?
V.C.: We believe it is important to focus on basic education in local schools to raise awareness of the new generations, creating an active comparison with the elderly (i.e. the “masters of tradition”). Furthermore, it is important to create appointments (events) on multiple levels of involvement (local, national and international), actively involving the communities: in this frame, the media (i.e. TV, Radio, Web) must be actively involved to create interest, but above all to enhance the individual ICH performers and make them understand that they are an active part of the ICH, thus stimulating also those people with less interest. Social networks play a big role in all this. We also believe that it is useful to stimulate communities in documenting and making paper and digital books on ICH, or by making videoclips on ICH.
V.D.: What could you advice to Ukrainians for avoiding risks related to the ICH safeguarding and development?
V.C.: In addition to what has been said above, which I believe is applicable, I can advise Ukrainians to continue to always create comparison with other communities both locally/nationally and internationally, according to UNESCO principles: all this creates interculturality which is the true bridge between peoples and strengthens its own ICH, creating new synergies.
V.D.: Thank you, indeed, for this conversation, and I wish you good luck and success. I hope that after such severe challenge as the Covid-19 we could organize the exchange between communities.
V.C.: Thank you for this conversation. I am confident a victory at Covid-19 and our St. Anthony the Great will help us in this. in the future we will be truly honored for an exchange between our communities.