The need to identify and inventory cultural heritage accompanies the notion and evolution of cultural heritage itself. In 2003, the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage recognized also the need of giving awareness to a living heritage, in constant modification, which is part of the identity of groups and communities and is transmitted from generation to generation. Significant emphasis is put on the importance of identifying intangible heritage through collaborative practices involving the communities. One of the most visible impacts has been the launch of several “participative” processes of mapping intangible heritage in the last ten years. There are no fixed formulas or ready-made solutions, and the process of mapping intangible heritage is taking many different ways and formats, from official lists to national registrars, to geographic and thematic inventories, databases, PDF format, websites, etc. They also vary in terms of contents depth and the level of involvement of communities in such collaborative processes.
Cultural mapping has been identified, included by UNESCO, as a significant tool to grasp the intangible and cultural diversity at large. Also known as cultural resource mapping, can be understood more than a research technique or tool to map tangible and intangible cultural assets, landscapes and peoples in territories. It has the power to promote the debate on spaces and places. It can be used to draw attention to significant resources and point out rising issues and possible engaging solutions that involve local communities though participatory, co-creation approaches. As a policy making tool, cultural mapping contents can be used to enhance place profiles and regeneration of cultural quarters and heritage sites. As an output, it can also become a tool which leads to new tourism development approaches, such as creative tourism.
The congress aims to provide a better understanding of how cultural mapping can propose actions that enhance the awareness of cultural identities, debate its implications for local development, community engagement and policymaking, including sustainable and creative tourism practices, and foster debate over its long-term results.
The congress will be structured in two days. One is dedicated to the challenges of mapping ICH through conventional and alternative approaches. Besides a better dissemination of information resources available through databases online about intangible heritage: what is their impact? Who is using them, how, and for what purposes? Are they an end in itself or are they catalysing other initiatives? The second day is dedicated to the use of cultural mapping in tourism planning. The aim is to discuss the present state of the art of cultural mapping and its role in tourism development and heritage management practices.
The Congress is organised by CIDEHUS – Interdisciplinary Centre for History, Culture and Societies and the UNESCO Chair "Intangible Heritage and Traditional Know-How: Linking Heritage of the University of Évora in collaboration with the Centre for Social Studies (University of Coimbra) within the framework of the project “CREATOUR - Creative Tourism Destination Development in Small Cities and Rural Areas Research Project”. The Congress also endorses the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, and the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.