Final Workshop of the Research on ICH Safeguarding and Disaster Risk Management Project was held in Nara (27-29 September 2023)

IRCI held the Final Workshop of the IRCI project ‘Research on ICH Safeguarding and Disaster Risk Management’ (FY 2020–2023) in Nara from 27 to 29 September 2023. The workshop was co-organized with the Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Management Center that was established within the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage of Japan in 2020.

The workshop aimed at summarizing the activities undertaken in the project. Since the inception of the desk study in FY 2021, IRCI collaborated with researchers and institutions in Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Vanuatu, and Viet Nam. Co-organizer of the workshop, Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Management Center also took part in the project providing relevant information in Japan. All these collaborators were invited to the workshop to present the results of their case studies in respective countries. Indeed, it became the first opportunity for all collaborators to get together for intensive discussions and exchange of ideas for developing community-based action plans for safeguarding ICH and mobilizing ICH for disaster risk reduction. It was unfortunate that collaborators from Fiji and Vanuatu were not able to participate in the workshop in person; however, the Vanuatu researcher presented the result of his case study online. In addition to the above collaborators, a few experts in ICH and DRM fields, as well as a culture specialist from UNESCO, joined the workshop to provide comments and suggestions.
The first day of the workshop was devoted to sharing the results of case studies carried out by collaborators in the Asia-Pacific region. Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Management Center also shared the latest development of safeguarding ICH in disasters in Japan, drawing on its research activities. On the second day, participants broke up into two groups in the morning to discuss possible procedures and tools for safeguarding and mobilizing ICH in disasters, with reference to their own experiences in field research. After the overall reflections by experts, the final discussion focused on prospects such as further collaboration between ICH and DRM fields, and applying the knowledge and expertise developed in this project to address climate emergencies.
On the last day, participants took an excursion to learn about selected conservation techniques that are protected in Japan as ICH through visiting the cultural property restoration exhibition at Nara Prefecture Historical and Artistic Culture Complex in Tenri City and Udagami hand-made paper studio in Yoshino. They also stopped by Ohmiwa Jinja Shrine that is known as one of the oldest shrines in Japan and visited the site of traditional forest management in Yoshino where high-quality cedars and cypresses are interplanted, to witness the relationship between Nara’s ICH and environment.

Reflecting on the discussion at the workshop, collaborators will be elaborating their field research reports as research papers, which will be published as the project report by the end of FY 2023.

  • Workshop participants

  • Case study presentation

  • Group discussion

  • Participants observing paper making process