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The importance of preserving intangible cultural heritage in combating the negative consequences of Globalisation. …

The importance of preserving intangible cultural heritage in combating the negative consequences of Globalisation.

“The bulk of the world’s current problems stem from a detachment from traditional cultures. This culture, knowledge and experience must be protected at all costs. It is the only hope for sustainability of cultural identity while allowing modern development.” UNESCO 2009

We share cultural expressions that have been passed from one generation to another. Safeguarding living heritage is vital to sustaining a community’s innate creativity and sense of identity.

An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life. The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.

The global wealth of traditions has become one of the principal motivations for travel, with tourists seeking to engage with new cultures and experience the global variety of performing arts, handicrafts, rituals, cuisines and interpretations of nature and the universe.

Fostering the responsible use of this living heritage for tourism purposes can provide new employment opportunities, help alleviate poverty, curb rural flight migration among the young and marginally employed, and nurture a sense of pride among communities.

For over 15 years, Mark Abouzeid has been supporting NGOs, public institutions and international media channels deliver their messages through images, words and video. Combining years of experience in the field as an award winning professional, he specializes in promoting “that which binds us as human beings and how we express this through our own culture”:

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  • 1. Identity, Culture & Community The importance of preserving intangible cultural heritage in combating the negative consequences of Globalisation February 25th, 2014
  • 2. Safeguarding the past to define the present and guide the future.
  • 3. The Importance of Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage Intangible Cultural heritage (ICH), sometimes called “living heritage”, comprises those non-tangible or physical aspects of a culture that defines us. They can include traditional knowledge and skills, beliefs, oral traditions, customs, languages, music, dance and celebrations. Living heritage is dynamic in that it is transmitted across generations and shaped anew as each generation innovates, experiments and adapts to changing social norms and values. ICH is at great risk around the globe due to increasing influences of globalisation and mass media. Safeguarding living heritage is vital to sustaining a community’s innate creativity and sense of identity. Whereas all other forms of cultural heritage define WHAT a community creates, ICH answers the question, WHY, and therefore is critical to understanding what binds us together as human beings and how we express this uniquely through our culture. “The bulk of the world’s current problems stem from a detachment from traditional cultures. This culture, knowledge and experience must be protected at all costs. It is the only hope for sustainability of cultural identity while allowing modern development.” UNESCO 2009 “The elderly are the books of the young,” bedouin proverb 01
  • 4. Intangible Heritage & Future Generations We share cultural expressions that have been passed from one generation to another, have evolved in response to their environments and contribute to giving us a sense of identity and continuity. There are things that we regard as important to preserve for future generations. They may be significant due to their present or possible economic value, but also because they create a certain emotion within us, or because they make us feel as though we belong to something – a country, a tradition, a way of life. They might be objects that can be held and buildings that can be explored, or songs that can be sung and stories that can be told. While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalisation. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life. The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. “Today, I am my father’s son.” Lebanese saying 01
  • 5. Tourism & Intangible Cultural Heritage The global wealth of traditions has become one of the principal motivations for travel, with tourists seeking to engage with new cultures and experience the global variety of performing arts, handicrafts, rituals, cuisines and interpretations of nature and the universe. One of the challenges currently facing the tourism sector is to contribute to the identification, protection and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage through tourism development. Tourism can offer a powerful incentive for preserving and enhancing cultural heritage, as the revenue it generates can be channelled back into initiatives to aid its long-term survival. Fostering the responsible use of this living heritage for tourism purposes can provide new employment opportunities, help alleviate poverty, curb rural flight migration among the young and marginally employed, and nurture a sense of pride among communities. Intangible cultural heritage must be thoughtfully managed if it is to survive in an increasingly globalised world. True partnerships between communities and the tourism and heritage sectors can only occur if all sides develop a genuine appreciation for each’s aspirations and values. Sustaining a community’s innate creativity and sense of identity 01
  • 6. Learning from the Past | Understanding the Present| Teaching into the Future
  • 7. Case Study: Tunisia | Dying Sea…Dying Traditions Role: Oral History & Visual Documentary For millennia, the Mediterranean peoples have conducted maritime quests for myth, treasure, inspiration, food, commerce, transportation, conquest, exploitation, research, discovery and adventure. “What would Mediterranean culture be without vibrant economic and social communities connected with the sea itself?! How can communities retain and promote local livelihoods, social networks, cuisine, music, stories, values, varieties of customs and language in order to develop one of the most compelling arenas of cultural complexity in the world?” Institute of Ecotechnics Institute of Ecotechnics, UK, has undertaken an expedition to capture the oral histories and current state of traditional fisherman throughout the Mediterranean. Oral historian Johanna Eurich has been spearheading interviews, with Mark Abouzeid,videographer, and local translators. Over 70 interviews of fishermen, shipbuilders and other community members have been filmed. The Museu de Valencia d’Etnologia and Museu Maritima, Barcelona, are planning exhibitions commencing in 2014 based on this Institute of Ecotechnics expedition. In 2 to 3 years, the sea will no longer have enough fish to provide them with a livelihood 01
  • 8. Case Study: Jordan | A Culture at Risk Role: Founder and Project Director “How do you capture the entire character of a culture that has no written record, has lived for centuries in relative isolation and exists in complete harmony with one of the world’s most extreme environments?” The Bedouin Heritage Foundation Bedouin reside in every principal country in the region. Unlike most indigenous tribes who eventually get displaced by immigrants, the Bedouin represent the common heritage of the Arab people. The Bedu have maintained a quasi nomadic quasi sedentary existence for centuries living in equilibrium with their surroundings, integrating into their host countries while never losing their own identity. By safeguarding their traditions and unique knowledge, we can provide valuable insight for a world trapped by unsustainable development and globalization. The Bedouin Heritage Project worked together with the Bedouin over 5 years to capture and safeguard the oral traditions, lifestyle and culture of the people living in the Wadi Rum reserve. By working with the Bedu to value and protect this culture, we can ensure that bedouin children for generations to come will have access to their own heritage in the manner it was meant to be transmitted. Safeguarding Bedu traditions from a world driven by unsustainable globalisation 01
  • 9. Case Study: Spain | Rebuilding History into the Future Role: video documentary and oral histories The Heraclitus is a 25 meter ferrocement Chinese junk, designed and built by volunteers of the Institute of Ecotechnics. Since its launch in 1975, the legendary ship has continuously sailed the world, logging over 270,000 nautical miles through six oceans (all except the Arctic). Its many voyages have included ethnobotanical investigations, coral reef research, meteorological measurements, oceanic exploration, cultural interchanges, theatrical performances, and adventure. The ship has a unique history of continuous sailing expeditions: voyages across oceans alternate with detailed visits to island, coastal and estuary systems. After sailing to Corsica and Tunisia in 2012, the Captain took the ship to Roses, Spain, to undergo an extensive re-build. Mark Abouzeid participated in the Dry Dock, documenting the rebirth of this historic vessel and the cultures that came together in this context. His work featured all aspects of the effort and communal life surrounding the work. To understand the intricate interaction of the technosphere with aquatic life systems 01
  • 10. Case Study: North Pole | Saving the Planet Role: Photojournalist and Expedition Member In one eventful season, the town of Longyearbyen went from becoming virtually unknown to becoming the last hope and last refuge of mankind. On February 28th, 2008, the World Crop Trust inaugurated Lonyearbyen’s Global Seed Vault, a doomsday repository of over 7,000 plant types to be used in case of catastrophic need. April 1st, Victor Boyarsky, famed Russian arctic explorer, opened the North Pole to amateur tourists and independent climate researchers in a new form of eco tourism. “I accompanied Victor on the maiden expedition, braving temperatures of -64 degrees Celsius and a polar cap drift of 1.5 kilomters per hour, in order to meet the people that work in such impossible conditions to help save our planet.” Mark Abouzeid, Adventure Magazine 2008. Last hope for mankind and last frontier for tourism 01
  • 11. Mark Abouzeid | oral history, intangible cultural heritage and social documentary
  • 12. Mark Abouzeid, summary bio For over 15 years, Mark Abouzeid has been supporting NGOs, public institutions and international media channels deliver their messages through images, words and video. Combining years of experience in the field as an award winning professional, he specializes in promoting “that which binds us as human beings and how we express this through our own culture”: Intangible Cultural Heritage | Social Development | Cultural Integration | Human Rights | Economic Sustainability | Oral History | Social Documentary. REPRESENTATIVE INSTITUTIONS Mark Abouzeid has collaborated with and received funding for his work from numerous institutions and organisations, including: Commune di Firenze | Polo Museale di Firenze | Accademia della Crusca | Fondazione Sistema Toscana | UNESCO | Belgian Ministry of Culture | AssistAmerica | Royal Jordanian | Italia Kuwait Association | Sentor Robbie Puno | HRH Prince of Seborga | Operafestival Firenze | Tokkai Cultural Association | Muscat International Folklore Festival | The European Commission | Museu de Valencia d’Entologia | Museu Maritima | Camille Stone Design | Pitti Immagine ! ! 01
  • 13. ICH Work Experience 2013 - 2014 Dec & Jan | “The Plein Air Apprentice”, tv pilot episode, Visual Director, Plein Air Apprentice Inc Dec | “Cedars in Air” the oral history of the Lebanese People through the lives of one family dynasty. Field research and video interviews, personal project, Lebanon Oct & Aug | “Rebuilding the Heraclitus”, video documentary and oral histories, Institute of Ecotechnics, Cadaques, Spain Jul | “Oral Med: oral histories of Mediterranean maritime cultures”, visual documentarian & oral historian, Museums of Seville, Barcelona & Marseille, Kerkennah & Gabes, Tunisia Jun | “Oral Med: oral histories of Mediterranean maritime cultures”, visual documentarian & oral historian, Museums of Seville, Barcelona & Marseille, Italy May | “Artists fighting racism through art”, VOA News TV, Florence, Italy 01
  • 14. ICH Work Experience prior major projects 2010 - 2013 | “The Elephant Graveyard, street people of Santo Spirito” photo reportage, personal project, Florence, Italy 2013 | “The Muscat International Festival of Folklore”, freelance photojournalist & icy capture, MIFF, Muscat, Oman 2011 - 2013 | “Non Sono Clandestino, cultural integration & growing racism” Project Director, Comune of Florence, Lebanon 2009 - 2012 | “The unique cultural space of the Wadi Rum Bedouin”, visual director & oral historian, Bedouin Heritage Project, Wadi Rum, Jordan 2008 “Saving the Planet, North Pole expedition”, photo reporter, VICAAR, Svaalbard & Arctic Pole, | 01
  • 15. Learning from the Past | Understanding the Present | Teaching into the Future