The ICME 2004 sessions in Seoul, Korea will be held on October 4-6, during the middle three days of the ICOM general conference. ICME welcomes presentations discussing the main conference theme "Museums and Intangible Heritage".
UNESCO defines intangible cultural heritage as "embracing all forms of traditional and popular or folk culture, i.e. collective works originating in a given community and based on tradition. They include oral traditions, customs, languages, music, dance, rituals, festivities...". These traditions may be manifested either through forms of cultural expression, or as cultural spaces which bring together various cultural activities. A focus on intangible cultural heritage must focus on social contexts, showing traditional and popular culture as life-ways, sets of interrelationships and shared knowledge systems.
This is a focus which ethnology, anthropology and other fields have long had as their research goal. But how much of this is reflected in our ethnographic collections and exhibitions? Are we merely documenting and exhibiting objects, or are we showing how living traditions are formed, evolve and perhaps die out?
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