International Symposium on ICH along the Maritime Silk Road

Symposium participants ⓒ ICHCAP

On 13 September 2018, experts of the Asia-Pacific region gathered to discuss maritime topics. Organized and hosted by ICHCAP and the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, the symposium, in two sessions, allowed an opportunity to discuss issues related to traditional shipbuilding and navigation skills as well as traditional maritime knowledge in contemporary life.

Jae-Suk Chung, the Administrator of the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, opened the symposium with a welcoming speech. Gwi Young Lee, Director of the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, and Kwon Huh, Director-General of ICHCAP also gave opening speeches through which they emphasized the importance of maritime knowledge and the transmission of this knowledge to younger generations in the Asia-Pacific region.

During the first session, the participants presented papers on traditional shipbuilding technology of the Republic of Korea, Asian seas in ancient Chinese literature, traditional boat types of Malaysia, and maritime culture of the Philippines. In the second session, the presenters talked about the pinisi of West Austronesia, the sailing crafts of Madagascar, and wayfinding knowledge of the Pacific. A question-and-answer period followed each session. Closing out the day was a plenary discussion chaired by Kwon Huh. The four invited panelists—Hang Sun Choi (Professor Emeritus, Seoul National University), Sung June Kim (Associate Professor, Korea Maritime and Ocean University), Hyoung Jin Lim (Director, West Sea Cultural Heritage Department, National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage) (His discussion paper was read by Byung Keun Kim (Chief Curator, Maritime Heritage Research Division, National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage)), Yu-Seok Kwak (Researcher, Institution for Marine and Island Cultures, Mokpo National University)—led a discussion with the seven presenters from earlier in the day. The main topic for discussion was “Schemes & Strategies to Support Maritime Traditional Knowledge.”

On 14 September, the visiting experts participated in a closed working meeting on traditional navigation and shipbuilding. The working group session allowed the participants to present topically related case studies, which highlighted the specific context of maritime culture in their respective nations. ICHCAP’s Assistant Director-General, Dr. Seong-Yong Park, chaired the meeting and there was also some discussion about building a network for maritime heritage.