Exploration of local resources – Exploration of the local intangible cultural heritage


The concept of the intangible cultural heritage (French: patrimoine culturel immatériel) relies on the words intangible/immatériel to express its non-objectified nature. The intangible cultural heritage is a traditional and living community identity, perpetually recreated and handed down in words and in practice. The intangible cultural activity is never static: it is such knowledge that has been shaped, and continues to exist, while passed down from one generation to the next. The intangible cultural heritage lives in the community, its practitioners and carriers being the community members, who are responsible for its protection. In this case we are not dealing with places, fixed or inanimate material memories but, rather, communal manifestations present in the everyday life.

Purpose of the activity

The concept of intangible cultural heritage has been defined in the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. With the help of this Convention, UNESCO wishes to encourage the safeguarding and recognition of the intangible cultural heritage of the communities in question, and to raise awareness to it locally, nationally and internationally. A further goal is to raise the communities’ awareness to the significance of their cultural values and intangible heritage, to the conserving power and identity-strengthening effect of local intellectual resources and capacities, and to their role in ensuring survival. At the same time, it aims to make the national and international public as well as various responsible bodies recognize the significance of local heritage and the necessity of preservation.

Various preservation strategies are recommended or prescribed for the nations party to the convention: identification, registration, inventory and documentation of the heritage, relevant legislation, incorporation into the general planning policy, development of a support system for the heritage, researching, archiving, provision of access, training of cultural heritage experts, all forms of education and spreading of information, widespread incorporation of the intangible cultural heritage into the educational systems.

Key terms

intangible cultural heritage, preservation, community, knowledge, handover, identity


personal: researcher, proposal-maker

material: substantive components (based on the literature – if needed), heritage proposal form, documentation (text, photo, film)

Applied tools and methods

  • definition of local intangible cultural heritage
  • inventory, registration
  • research, documentation, archiving
  • provision of access, capacity building, education
  • development of safeguarding strategies
  • provision of visibility, awareness raising

Results, expected outcome

  • sustainability, conscious safeguarding
  • support, strengthening of communities


Website of Intangible Cultural Heritage: http://www.szellemiorokseg.hu

This article based on the following document: Community development methodological guide