About Us

27 December 2023

Joint statement from Intangible Cultural Heritage Scotland Partnership

The Intangible Cultural Heritage Scotland Partnership welcomes the UK Government’s announcement of their intention to ratify the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Photo of a person in re-enactment clothing and a model dragon.

Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is a tradition, practice, or living expression of a group or community. This can include oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, and traditional crafts.  Examples of ICH in Scotland are wide reaching, including practices such as Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Festival or Edinburgh Mela, cultural traditions such as bothy ballads, bagpiping, and clootie wells, games such as shinty, the making of food such as haggis, and traditional crafts such as thatching and Fair Isle knitting.   

In Scotland, work on ICH has been supported through a partnership involving Museums Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, TRACS (Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland) and Creative Scotland. The partnership draws upon a wealth of knowledge, research, and expertise, and works together with academic institutions, interested networks, and ICH practitioners.  

The partners look forward to continuing to collaborate to support understanding and recording of ICH and to extending that work as ratification is further explored.  

Collaborative working among sector lead bodies and representatives of community ICH practitioners will be vital, and we will be working to identify opportunities for further discussion and consultation over the coming months.  

We also look forward to future sharing and learning from good practice across the UK and internationally, building links worldwide with ICH supporting bodies, including UNESCO. 

The partnership will be planning opportunities to feed into consultations in early 2024 so look out for details of these.  

Visit the ICH in Scotland website for further information.  

Historic Environment Scotland have worked closely for many years with partners and communities to promote and support ICH. Our commitment to ICH includes providing funding and training opportunities for traditional skills and crafts, celebrating and sharing the folklore and stories around Scotland’s historic sites and buildings, and supporting cultural events.  

We're pleased that the UK Government will ratify the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage. We look forward to continuing our work to preserve Scotland's living heritage, and to making global connections to take this work forward. 

If you would like to find out more on our work in this area, you can find our policy statement on Intangible Cultural Heritage on our website, which sets out our existing commitments as part of ‘Our Past, Our Future’, the strategy for Scotland’s historic environment. 

Read the UK Government release here Scottish traditions to be formally recognised as UK joins UNESCO Convention - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)