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Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual values’

Rethinking the global heritage discourse – overcoming ‘East’ and ‘West’?

This article illustrates how Japan’s involvement in international heritage discourse, in particular since the Nara Conference in 1994, played an important role in the development of a global understanding of heritage and what it constitutes. It explores the way the Ise Shrine came to be represented as an iconic example of an ‘Eastern approach’ to heritage to become central in the paradigm shift within global heritage discourse towards acknowledging cultural diversity. In this article, however, I argue that the presentation and understanding of the Ise Shrine has perpetuated a number of misconceptions about an Eastern approach to heritage conservation. In particular, its presentation and interpretation as a cultural site devoid of its distinct religious and political significance, limits what can be learned from it. This article argues that without full recognition of the religious beliefs intimately embedded in the traditional social structures, practices and attitudes related to heritage sites, recognition of cultural diversity would remain limited.
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Le patrimoine immatériel religieux au Québec: Sauvegarder l’immatériel par le virtuel

Cette étude présente les résultats d’un projet pilote destiné à mettre sur pied une méthodologie de sauvegarde et de mise en valeur du patrimoine immatériel religieux du Québec, aujourd’hui menacé par l’effondrement de la pratique religieuse, le vieillissement prononcé des communautés religieuses, la fermeture des paroisses et des églises, et la vente forcée d’objets sacrés. À partir de l’étude de huit communautés, nous proposons des méthodes virtuelles novatrices d’inventorisation qui, à l’aide des nouvelles technologies de l’information et de la communication, visent à la fois à conserver et à communiquer efficacement ce patrimoine. La cueillette et la saisie audiovisuelles des récits de lieux, d’objets, de pratiques et de vie permettent de capter les divers aspects de ce patrimoine, de le rendre plus visible et palpable, de bien contextualiser ses usages sociaux et d’intégrer ses dimensions matérielles et immatérielles. Grâce à la grille des pratiques culturelles de Jean Du Berger, nous avons élaboré un système de classement du patrimoine immatériel religieux qui est opératoire dans toutes les communautés religieuses étudiées (catholique, protestante, juive, orthodoxe et amérindienne). Cette première grille de classification pourrait être utilisée dans d’autres cultures et dans d’autres pays en raison de son caractère souple, polyvalent, efficace et universel. Le projet pilote nous a également permis de développer une approche participative pour mettre en valeur ce patrimoine directement sur le terrain en collaboration avec les communautés par des actions culturelles diverses : des sites Web, des expositions muséales, des productions multimédia de DVD, des modules pédagogiques et des publications d’articles et de livres. Une fois numérisé, le patrimoine immatériel religieux s’offre à des adaptations et à des applications diverses, à des appropriations et à des réappropriations par de nombreux acteurs sociaux. La base de données virtuelle devient elle-même un engin d’hybridation et de création sans limites.

This article presents the results of a pilot study of eight religious communities aimed at developing virtual methodologies to safeguard and enhance the intangible religious heritage of Québec which is seriously threatened by the sharp decline in religious practice, the disappearance of many religious communities, the closing of churches and parishes, and the auctioning off of entire religious collections. With the help of new digital technologies, we have devised a multimedia digital database that offers novel ways to inventory, preserve, and communicate this heritage effectively and efficiently. The collection of materials by the audiovisual recording of narratives of places, objects, practices and life stories has enabled us to capture the various aspects of this heritage, to make it visible and palpable, to contextualize its social uses and to link its tangible and intangible dimensions. To facilitate the management of the multimedia digital archive, a classification system for intangible religious heritage was designed from the grid of cultural practices of Jean Du Berger, and was found to be operational for all of the religious communities studied (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Orthodox and Amerindian). We believe that the classification system could be used in other cultures and other countries because of its flexible, adaptable, efficient, and universal nature. This preliminary study also reveals how a participatory approach to intangible heritage conservation and management can lead to the development of very effective collaborative projects with the communities, such as: Web sites, museum exhibits, multimedia DVD presentations, educational modules, and the publication of articles and books. Once digitalized, intangible religious heritage proprieties and expressions become accessible for appropriation and reappropriation, and for mixing and remixing by different constituencies. The virtual record itself becomes an innovative engine capable of limitless acts of creation and hybridization.

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‘Five feet from heaven’: The World Heritage convention, ‘mountains of meaning’ and inspirational landscapes. Identifying and protecting mountains’ intangible heritage values

For many centuries, mountains all over the world have been the focus of religious veneration and artistic production. They are what could be called ‘mountains of meaning’, mountains that have special meanings or spiritual values attributed to them, or mountains that inspire creative works or thoughts. The purpose of the 2002 ‘Celebrating Mountains’ conference was to rejoice at the diversity of mountains, and their meanings to our society. There can, perhaps, be no greater accolade than for a mountain to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage List: ‘sacred mountains are the World Heritage sites that enshrine the highest physical and spiritual values’ (Sernbaum 1997: 34). ‘Associative’ cultural landscapes are another type of property that the World Heritage Committee recognises. These too can have special meanings or spiritual values attributed to them, or are places that inspire creative works or thoughts. This category can also include mountains landscapes.
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