Participants in the ICH Inventorying Workshop pose with UNESCO facilitators David Brown (extreme left) and Richnel Ansano from Curacao (extreme right).

The African Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank (ACIJ/JMB), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Cluster Office in Kingston,  coordinated a pilot, community-based, training workshop on the inventorying of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in the urban context of Kingston on March 11, 2019 to March 19, 2019 at the Trench Town Multipurpose Centre, in Kingston. Kingston, Jamaica was among the first group of pilot cities to be involved in this project, along with other communities in George Town (Malaysia) and Harare (Zimbabwe). This project is being implemented as part of a larger UNESCO project – Intangible Heritage and Creativity for Sustainable Cities.

The training workshop introduced 30 participants to theories and methodologies of community-based inventorying to strengthen their capacities to document and safeguard their traditional knowledge and practices. This is in keeping with the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of ICH.

The capacity-building training workshop took a participatory and integrated approach by actively involving various members of the communities concerned. The workshop was divided into theoretical and practical sessions. The theoretical training introduced the requirements of inventorying from the viewpoint of the UNESCO Convention, such as research, developing questionnaires, conducting interviews, etc.

The practical sessions involved the participants in a  two-day, field-based practicum which entailed carrying out inventorying work in small groups in two field locations – Trench Town (Reggae community) and Port Royal (fishing/boat-making community). This was followed by a meeting among the participants to share their experiences.

The target audience for this workshop included intangible cultural heritage bearers and practitioners, representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs) and institutions based in the selected areas of the city, as well as representatives of city governments. Participants trained during the workshop will undertake a pilot field exercise over a period of three months in their respective communities.

The implementation of pilot community-based inventories of the diverse living heritage of Kingston will contribute to the development of an appropriate inventory of methodologies and materials for the safeguarding and inventorying of the ICH in urban contexts.

This activity will also enable the country to strengthen its work in the national inventories of the ICH and formulate possible recommendations for policymakers and practitioners. Additionally, individuals and communities involved in the inventorying activities will be empowered and will recognize the important role that communities can play in inventorying their heritage in the city of Kingston.

The ACIJ/JMB is a division of the Institute of Jamaica, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

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Participants in the ICH Inventorying Workshop display their Certificates of Participation along with Director of the ACIJ/JMB, Bernard Jankee, (top row, fourth from left); Yuri Peshkov, Culture Programmes Specialist, UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office for the Caribbean, (top row, fifth from left).