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Workshop for Thai youths on safeguarding heritage held online

Source: CRIHAP

From Nov 1 to 22, the International Training Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region under the auspices of UNESCO (CRIHAP) and the UNESCO Bangkok Cluster Office co-organized an online Capacity-building Workshop on ICH Safeguarding for community youth leaders in Thailand.

The 22-day workshop drew the participation of 69 trainees aged 18 to 30, of whom 64 percent were women. UNESCO-accredited ICH facilitators Paritta Chalermpow Koanantakool and Linina Phuttitarn were invited to give lectures, with assistance from nine local specialists on ICH safeguarding.

During the workshop which was carried out in an unconventional approach, the trainees, divided into 17 groups, went to 17 local communities in different parts of Thailand for a close look at 14 ICH items under the guidance of the UNESCO facilitators and local specialists. Meanwhile, they took part in intensive online courses on weekends.

Among the chosen ICH items were banana stalk crafting skills, the Tai Yai clothing cultures, the Sankhampaeng textiles, the Pgakenyaew Karen textiles, the lacquerware of Ban Dong Pa Ngew, the Lakhon Chatri dance-drama, the food culture of the Nang Loeng community, the Muslim food mataba of puyud, the Thai dessert kanom pad of khlong lan, the cookery of toh-mae spicy kaeng, the Pgakenyaw Karen folklore, the Sabadchai drumming of baan nong pka man, the cookery of Thai tom yum soup, and the Mueang Petch-style handicrafts.

The trainees conducted elaborate field studies, centering on such topics as ICH documentation and inventorying, field survey methods, formulating and issuing questionnaires, and spotting the priorities in safeguarding plan development.

The field studies "allow the trainees to give full play to their autonomous learning abilities while the online courses lay a solid foundation for highly productive field work", workshop organizers say.

The workshop tackled subjects including ICH-related concepts, practical techniques for ICH safeguarding, community-based ICH inventorying, safeguarding plan development, UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, cultural heritage and sustainable development, and gender equality under different sociocultural backgrounds.

By integrating the fresh experiences trainees had from their field work with knowledge about the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, the facilitators have managed to help them gain a deeper understanding of the core concepts in ICH safeguarding.

The workshop is the last one of the three-year capacity-building workshops the CRIHAP has organized for Thailand and it is the first time that the community youth leaders in Thailand have received ICH safeguarding training under the framework of the convention.

To make sure the young trainees are fully engaged, the workshop organizers extended the training, which usually lasts five to seven days, to nearly a month and included a lot of field work which turned out to be lively and interesting.

Trainees extended their gratitude to CRIHAP for offering their a chance to learn and to be well-prepared to safeguard Thailand's ICH for future generations.

The capacity-building training organized by CRIHAP is crucial for the ICH safeguarding work in Thailand, said Duong Bich Hanh, chief of culture sector, UNESCO Bangkok Cluster Office. Tailored for a special group of trainees, the workshop was proven to be conducive in diversifying the capacity-building training on ICH safeguarding in the Asia-Pacific region, she added.

During the training, representatives from UNDP, UN WOMEN, Government Savings Bank, and heads of several NGOs in Thailand joined in some of the online discussions as observers.

Up to this training, CRIHAP has organized a total of 49 intangible cultural heritage capacity-building workshops, covering 40 countries and regions, with 1,599 direct beneficiaries.

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