Call for Presentations at ICH-NGO Forum in Bogota, Colombia

During the ICH-NGO Forum meeting, there will be a session on Sunday morning, 8 December 2019, dedicated to the topic of “ICH in an urban context: Cultural diversity and social cohesion.” This session has been prepared in cooperation with the National Heritage Board of Singapore and is a timely topic. Over half of the population of the world now lives in urban areas—cities with millions of inhabitants and diverse communities. Cities such as Bangkok, Singapore, Bogota, and Rotterdam are facing multiple social and cultural challenges, not least due to processes of migration, the challenge of superdiversity, and social cohesion. Thinkers about superdiversity see evidence of emerging cosmopolitan cultural practices that build on social practices brought by migrant groups to new locales. These cultural practices are often reflected in public festivals and festivities. Festivals like Diwali are not just celebrated in India; they have become a permanent feature of Little India precincts all over the world. Similarly, other traditions such as Carnival or the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival are celebrated in major cities across the world.

Cities can be defined as contact zones where the global meets the local. As the text of the 2003 Convention noted, “processes of globalization and social transformation, alongside the conditions they create for renewed dialogue among communities, also give rise, as does the phenomenon of intolerance, to grave threats of deterioration, disappearance and destruction of the intangible cultural heritage.”

While intangible cultural heritage is often presented as a mainspring for cultural diversity, what about intangible cultural heritage in an urban context? What is intangible cultural heritage in an urban context and how is it transmitted and safeguarded? How can it contribute to social cohesion and renewed dialog among communities? Is there a role for city governments in adopting certain cultural policies?

During the session there will be six (or possibly more, which may then be accommodated in parallel sessions) short presentations, up to 10 minutes each, from cases from all over the world. Already scheduled are presentations from Singapore and Bogota. The session will be moderated by Albert van der Zeijden (ICH-NGO Forum, Dutch Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage) and Kirk Siang (National Heritage Board, Singapore). The moderators of this session are still looking for presentations from other regions, such as Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe. NGOs attending the Intergovernmental Committee meeting in Bogota, and wanting to give a presentation, are invited to present an abstract (with a maximum of 200 words) before November 1 to Albert van der Zeijden, at