House-Guarding: Spatial Insights into UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage Safe-Guarding
This paper is a spatial ethnography of UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage conceptualization by tracing the ground implementation of the universal humanistic notions of culture and the arts as substances of and forces for the advancement of spirituality and human development. It is a product of research carried over the course of two years in Brazil, Bulgaria, and Cuba that develops the theory of heritage "house-guarding" as the material, spatial implementation of the immaterial heritage “safe-guarding” strategies vaguely defined by UNESCO but rarely in terms of the construction of physical places for artistic rehearsals, performances, and socialization. What is the relationship between practice and space, performed heritage and lived culture? How do the humanistic values of human cultural rights evolve at the national (Ministry of Culture) and trans-national (UNESCO, European Union) levels and how are these global discourses being imagined and negotiated at the ethnographically lived and embodied community hopes for development, creativity, and quality of life? This is a paper where tangible practices dwell in intangible houses.
Keywords: Cultural Rights, Cultural Heritage, Community Development, Amateur Arts, Creativity, UNESCO, Cultural Policy
Nadezhda Dimitrova Savova
PhD Candidate, Anthropology Department, Princeton University