Our culture covers our intangible cultural heritage, which comprises the traditions, rituals, crafts, expressions, knowledge, skills that we practice and pass on from generation to generation. As they are part of our living everyday heritage, it is important that we document and safeguard them for future generations.
What is the “safeguarding” of Intangible Cultural Heritage?
Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage does not just mean documenting and researching these practices, but also transferring knowledge and skills to the next generation. Thus, safeguarding efforts could include public education and outreach programmes that increase our awareness and appreciation of our intangible cultural heritage.
Under Our SG Heritage Plan, more efforts will be devoted to the safeguarding of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage over the next five years (2018 – 2022). However, it is equally important that we give our intangible cultural heritage room to evolve and adapt, or it may lose its relevance and meaning to their respective communities and to society in general.
Our culture provides us with a sense of who we are and offers us avenues to better understand and appreciate the heritage of different communities. We hope Singaporeans will come together, work with us and do their part to safeguard, promote and facilitate the transmission of Singapore’s unique intangible cultural heritage.
What will Our SG Heritage Plan do?
Develop an Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory
We will develop a new inventory that will feature the findings from NHB’s nationwide Intangible Cultural Heritage Survey. The inventory will be completed by end 2018 and serve as a comprehensive database accessible to all Singaporeans. It will be updated on a regular basis with inputs from heritage experts and community groups.
Introduce a Recognition Scheme for Practitioners
We will introduce a new scheme to recognise intangible cultural heritage practitioners who are dedicated to promoting and transmitting different aspects of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage. The practitioners recognised under the scheme will work with NHB to increase public awareness and focus on transmitting their skills and knowledge to the next generation of practitioners.
Ratify the UNESCO 2003 Convention
We will work with the relevant government agencies to ratify the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2018. The UNESCO Convention will signal our commitment to safeguard Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage, provide a framework to guide our safeguarding efforts, and facilitate collaborations with our international counterparts.
Conduct Research & Support Projects
We will step up our efforts to conduct research and document different aspects of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage. We will also continue to administer our Heritage Research Grant and support research projects on intangible cultural heritage by local universities, think-tanks and institutes of higher learning.
Leverage on Exhibitions, Festivals & Programmes
We will continue to leverage on our exhibitions, festivals and programmes to showcase and promote greater awareness and appreciation of different aspects of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage. We will also conduct talks and workshops to facilitate the transmission of knowledge and skills about Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage.