Intangible Cultural Heritage of Asia and the Pacific

Special Roundtable Talk on the ICH Courier

On 30 August 2019 at the National Intangible Heritage Center, Jeonju, Republic of Korea, ICHCAP held a special roundtable talk facilitated by Dr. Seong-Yong Park, Editor-in-Chief, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the ICH Courier. Among the invited guests were Gaura Mancacaritadipura, Editorial Advisory Board Member; Boram Kim, Editor-in-Chief, UNESCO News for KNCU; Aigul Khalafova, Culture Specialist, UNESCO Almaty Office; and Phuttitarn Linina, UNESCO ICH Facilitator. Additional participants from ICHCAP included KEUM Gi Hyung, Director-General; Michael Peterson, Chief of Communications; Min Jung Kim, Programme Specialist. KEUM Gi Hyung opened the talk with his remarks.

KEUM Gi Hyung : I believe ICH Courier is an important media for disseminating information in the field of intangible cultural heritage. It is also good tool to provide our ideas and that we can provide connectivity between people in this field. I am very appreciated for your contributions and hope your continued support to make it better and more useful.

Seong-Yong Park (Moderator): What would be the strengthens and the weaknesses of ICH Courier?

Aigul: Even though ICH Courier has very good information as well as beautiful graphics, I think the only weak point is the language problem. Since not many people can speak English, and not all people are aware of intangible cultural heritage, terminology problem is a big issue. Even for ICH experts who knows what ICH is, it is still hard to read and understand in English.

Linina: First of all, both the quality of contents and the design are great. Especially I really liked the “windows to ICH” section which shows cultural diversity as well as comparative analysis for the different culture. However, I agree that language barriers exist. Since the area of ICH Courier is specialized magazine, and the contributors tend to be experts and academics who use specific terms and jargon, people can hardly understand the languages.

Boram: I agree that there are some aspects of language that are hard to access to the general public. And I think ICH Courier has quite limited channels to access for readers. So I believe Editorial team should put more efforts to find ways for promoting more to reach out to the public.

Moderator: What are the possible ways to get improved or to become reader-friendly?

Aigul: I hope schools can use the contents of this magazine for teaching and learning. For example, if there is “how-to” or “tips” section like mini box under the articles to let readers (teachers) know how to deal with the ICH elements, it might be very useful and practical for lesson plans in schools.

Boram: It might be difficult to always produce both fun and informative articles at the same time. But providing abstracts could be one possible way to attract readers.

Gaura: Graphics are very important. Sometimes design matters in terms of attracting people to see the magazine. Especially where there are even language barriers for readers, graphics are more important to understand the articles. And if you look at the magazine with the biggest readership in the world, you can find out they have focused on “People”. People would like to listen to their lives and their stories. If ICH Courier is focused on people, then it automatically attracts readers and can finally expand the readers too.

Linina: I totally agree with Mr. Gaura. In this digital era with data overload, we need to get the readers’ attention fast. Then the graphics are important of course. In addition, we also need to remember that ICH itself is always related to daily lives of people.

Moderator: I also believe that people is the key word for ICH. We definitely continue to focus on people, communities in the future. Let me raise one last question about the technology and ICH. How can we deal with ICH in this technology era?

Gaura: I don’t believe that technology can replace ICH which is practiced by human beings. We should remember that ICH is always related to human beings and communities. If technology replace human beings completely, I think that is not an intangible cultural heritage anymore.

Linina: We already live in the era of technology. But we see already many negative impacts from the technology like Internet, social media. And technology invaded our lives. Technology is too fast. People feel loss their identity and want to slow down their lives. They will finally want to find out their identity through culture. In that sense, I believe ICH Courier can contribute through sharing stories of human beings.

Moderator: These technology issues have pros and cons in related to ICH. ICH Courier will have balance and carefully bring those issues in the future. To wrap up the discussions, we recognized challenges now, and we’ll keep trying hard to put more efforts to improve ICH Courier’s quality in the future. We kindly ask you to feel free to give us your feedback when available. Thank you very much for your participating and sharing ideas.