Youth Intangible Cultural Heritage Field Inventory Exercise

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PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — From July 20 – 24, 2015, the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO is organizing fa five (5) days intangible cultural heritage (ICH) field inventory exercise targeting young people from various youth organizations in the community.

Minister Claret Connor, who delivered the welcome remarks on Monday, July 20th  thanked the young people for participating in this important and valuable initiative, and for assisting the Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO with this project which will assist with preserving and passing on this knowledge about St. Martin’s culture heritage. He asked them to treasure this opportunity and experience, and he looks forward to reviewing some of the recordings and documentation from this week.

One or more participants from the Youth Parliament, National Institute of Arts, Funtopia, The SXM Young Ambassadors, Voice of Our Children, Voice of the Youth and Teen Times are participating in the workshop.

During the five days of training, they are learning a number of skills that will enable them to assist with the inventorying and recording our intangible cultural heritage.

The lead facilitator for the training is Ms. Clara Reyes, co-director of the National Institute of the Arts (NIA), while other facilitators for the workshops include Ms. Daphne Thomas of the Culture Department, Mr. Alston Lourens of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, Mr. Rodney Richardson and members of the Department of Communication (DCOMM) and Ms. Marcellia Henry, Secretary General of UNESCO, St. Maarten.

The sessions over the 5 days will focus on developing the young people’s knowledge and understanding of Cultural Heritage: Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)  &Tangible Cultural Heritage, the importance of identifying, safeguarding and inventorying St. Martin’s Cultural Heritage.

The youth participants will also obtain practical training in the usage of audio and video recording and photography. They will learn interviewing skills and techniques and will discuss attitudes, ethics and responsibilities when inventorying and ICH element in a community.

The final aspect of the training consists of preparations for inventorying / gathering information about the ICH Element the ‘Ponum Dance’. In which students will get the opportunity to go on an excursion to interview and video record different persons (dancers, drummers, senior citizens), who still practice, preserve and have knowledge of this national dance. Afterwards, the editing of the recorded work will follow.

The Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO would like to thank the Netherlands’ Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, who via the UNESCO, Paris is financing this project to Strengthen the capacities of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Saba, and Suriname to jointly implement the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Other persons whom the National Commission would also like to thank include the UNESCO Kingston Cluster Office, particularly Ms. Andrea Richards for coordinating this project, and Mr. Nigel Encalda, UNESCO Paris Head Quarters, particularly the Intangible Cultural Heritage Division, and the local ICH Organizing Committee members, Marcellia Henry, Secretary Genral-UNESCO, St. Maarten stated.

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