IRCI visited Bangladesh and Cambodia (14–18 November 2022)

The IRCI mission composed of Mr W. Iwamoto, Director-General and Ms Y. Nojima, Head of Research Section visited Bangladesh and Cambodia during 14–18 November 2022, to understand the situation of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) safeguarding in these countries, while monitoring the progress of research activities under the IRCI projects.

In Bangladesh, the mission visited a community of the Bauls in Manikganj on 14 November with a research team led by Dr Saymon Zakaria (Bangla Academy), who is currently undertaking field research on the impact of COVID-19 on the practice and transmission of ICH under the IRCI project ‘Research on ICH Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Manikganj is one of his research areas, and IRCI had a precious opportunity to participate in the group interview with the Baul practitioners. On the following day, both Iwamoto and Nojima were invited to Sadhusunga, a weekly outdoor event organized by the Bhabanagara Foundation, in which practitioners and academicians get together to promote traditional folk music.

Despite the mission’s very short stay in Dhaka, they were able to visit a few other researchers and institutions that have cooperating ties with IRCI, such as the Dhaka Ahsania Mission that collaborated in the project ‘Research on ICH’s Contribution to SDGs – Education and Community Development’ during 2020–2021, and Dr Saifur Rashid of Dhaka University who is contributing to the project ‘Research on ICH Safeguarding and Disaster Risk Management’, to update the latest development associated with IRCI projects and exchange ideas for further collaboration.

In Cambodia, the IRCI mission met with Dr Im Sokrithy (Apsara National Authority) and his research team on 17–18 November to visit selected areas and communities of the Angkor region, where they are conducting preliminary field research for the IRCI project ‘Research on ICH contributing to SDGs: Intangible Cultural Heritage for Sustainable Cities and Communities’. The mission also paid a visit to the UNESCO Phnom Penh Office to inform about the implementation of this project in Cambodia and to ask for advice.

It was the first time for IRCI to visit these countries. This trip not only strengthened IRCI’s cooperative relationships in these countries, but it was also significant for IRCI in confirming the importance of visiting research areas and directly communicating with communities and researchers on the ground for better managing research projects.

  • Interview with the Baul practitioners in Manikganj, Bangladesh

  • Director-General of IRCI making a speech at Sadhusunga

  • Visit to a traditional fine mat weaver in Siem Reap (Photo: courtesy of APSARA)