International Conference: Intangible Cultural Heritage, Museums and Cultural Policies

Recently debates on new roles of museums in society, participatory museums, decolonizing collections ... have emerged. These debates collide with a growing awareness of other forms and experiences of heritage that we have often overlooked in the past. One of these emerging fields attracting our attention is that of ‘intangible cultural heritage’ (ICH), which is embodied by generations of people practicing skills, performances and wisdom; and the challenge of safeguarding this ‘living heritage’. How may the heritage field as we know it, engage in safeguarding? Or should the heritage field stay far away, instead?

On the contrary, it is strongly connected with larger social dynamics and is constantly being shaped within its political contexts. Therefor policies on culture at international, European, national, regional and local (governmental) levels are a considerable part of the frame of reference, which museums are being effectuated by.

The international conference 'Intangible Cultural Heritage, Museums and Cultural Policies' wants to shine a light on heritage policies that are on the intersection between museums and ICH, giving an overview of several experiences in Europe:

What are the effects of the variety of governmental policies – on all levels – for (internal) museum policy and practice related to safeguarding ICH? What can be learned from comparing different strategies and approaches that are being applied in the five IMP project partner countries – Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, France and Switzerland? In what ways are museums engaging and relating to policy in their day-to-day work? Has the UNESCO 2003 Convention been integrated in national heritage and/or museum policies? And how do museums develop sustainable practices on safeguarding ICH, as a result of, or a reaction to, these cultural policies?

The program presents a myriad of policy-related contributions on ICH, museums and cultural policies.

  • Location: Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen.
  • Date: 07 May 2019, from 09:00 to 18:30 
  • Subcribe: click here (Forty cultural heritage professionals and policy makers from Belgium can subscribe to this event)
  • Participation is free
  • Working language is English
  • More information on the conference


The Conference is part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Project. From 2017 to 2020 the IMP-Project explores the variety of approaches, interactions and practices on intangible cultural heritage in museums. The Conference itself is an organization of Workshop Intangible Heritage, in collaboration with FARO and ICOM Belgium Flanders, hosted by the museum Hof van Busleyden. (Mechelen - BE)