PRESERVATION AND PROMOTION OF INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE - A PARTICIPATORY DESIGN APPROACH
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Recent research literature on intangible cultural heritage (ICH), conservation, and development increasingly acknowledges that ICH has meaning for multiple stakeholders and is served best by integrating them into conservation processes. Simultaneously, including stakeholders contributes to protecting individuals’ rights to identify, define and decide upon their own cultural heritage. This, in turn, supports human rights, and literature agrees that one way to realize continued ICH is via participatory inclusion. Participatory design and its methods and tools have been explored more detailed for ICH purposes in the last decade, because they seem to provide promising approaches for keeping ICH vital in the traditional cultural locations and settings, as well as in the diasporas. The following article explores the role of design when preserving and promoting intangible cultural heritage (ICH). The first part of the article reviews literature on ICH management, participatory design and participatory preservation projects. The second part applies findings from part 1 in a participatory design project on ICH preservation in the diaspora community of Uyghurs in Norway. The goal of the project was to design a concept, that displays, disseminates and connects Uyghur culture internally amongst the people in the diaspora as well as mediate Uyghur ICH to people in the Norwegian sociate. The third part of the article discusses advantages and challenges in applying participatory design for both design practice and design education. Findings of the article indicate that the sustainability of ICH preservation depends on that living heritage is kept alive. For this to happen, ICH must be allowed to transform according to the time and place of the culture bearers. This kind of transformation is especially significant for diaspora cultures. The preservation is best done when participatory research and participatory design projects, enabling the heritage to live through services, experiences and products, inform each other.