“Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)” Now and for Future Generations


St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) is about to embark on a joint initiative to safeguard its intangible cultural heritage (ICH) with support from United Nationals Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Fund. St. Kitts Research and Documentation Unit (RDU) – St. Kitts Department of Culture (SKDOC) is collaborating with Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) on a National project to research, and to identify ICH that exists in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Focal Points Marlene Phillips, Research and Documentation Specialist – SKDOC (SKN ICH Lead Focal Point – St. Kitts), Pauline Ngunjiri (Acting) Executive Director – NHCS (SKN ICH Secondary Focal Point – Nevis) with support from Antonio Maynard, Secretary General – UNESCO National Commission (NATCOM) will engage Government Departments, NGO’s, Public and Private Sector Organizations, Tradition Bearers, and Community Stakeholders to participate in future activities planned to safeguard SKN ICH and protect it Now and for Future generations. What types of activities will be executed during the National SKN ICH Project? UNESCO Consultant, Nigel Encalada will provide technical assistance to SKN ICH Focal Points on a mission to St. Kitts and Nevis April 9th – 12th 2018 to advise on the project proposals that were submitted, and visit with ICH stakeholders.

The plan is to execute the SKN ICH project in three (3) phases, each phase running twelve (12) months over a three (3) year period 2018 – 2020. Phase I will focus on public awareness to sensitize the general public and stakeholders about ICH, in addition to human resource capacity building through training workshops that develop research, documentation, and data processing skills. Phase II focuses on executing a pilot inventory on SKN folklore (masquerade, clown, bull, moco jumbie, Actors, etc…), and preservation of folklore traditions through educational presentations in schools, and training workshops. Phase III will focus on improving the capacity of SKN ICH Institutions with policy development, and ICH training in order to sustain future ICH safeguarding programmes. What is Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)? ICH is defined in the Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage, Paris 17 October 2003 as the following: Article 2 – Definitions For the purposes of this Convention,

The “intangible cultural heritage” means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.

This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. For the purposes of this Convention, consideration will be given solely to such intangible cultural heritage as is compatible with existing international human rights instruments, as well as with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals, and of sustainable development. 2. The “intangible cultural heritage”, as defined in paragraph 1 above, is manifested inter alia in the following domains: . (a) Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; . (b) Performing arts; . (c) Social practices, rituals and festive events; . (d) Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; . (e) Traditional craftsmanship. 3. “Safeguarding” means measures aimed at ensuring the viability of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non- formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.

SKN ICH Project Background On April 6th 2017, SKDOC – RDU submitted a proposal to Antonio Maynard, Secretary General – UNESCO NATCOM St. Kitts and Nevis titled, “Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Now and for Future Generations”. Mr. Maynard informed us that Pauline Ngunjiri (Acting) Executive Director – Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS), also submitted an ICH project to UNESCO for Nevis. UNESCO Headquarters, Paris advised that it is not customary for a country to submit more than one project on the same topic when requesting for technical, and funding assistance.

Therefore, each proposal from St. Kitts and Nevis will be combined, because both share the ultimate goal of safeguarding SKN ICH. On June 29th 2017, it was agreed in a meeting with Mr. Maynard – UNESCO NATCOM, Mr. T. Mills, Director – SKDOC, and Mr. A. Dasent – Documentalist, Nevis that Ms. Marlene Phillips, Research and Documentation Specialist – SKDOC is the SKN ICH Lead Focal Point – St. Kitts), and Ms. Pauline Ngunjiri (Acting) Executive Director – NHCS is the SKN ICH Secondary Focal Point – Nevis to work closely together and make both of the ICH Proposals compliment St. Kitts and Nevis primary goal to safeguard its ICH.

St. Kitts and Nevis UNESCO Convention – History St. Kitts and Nevis (SKN) has ratified the following UNESCO Conventions: § Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Paris 17 October 2003 http://culture.gov.kn/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SAFEGUARDING-INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE_UNESCO-Convention-doc-2003.pdf on April 15th 2016 § Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions Paris 20 October 2005 http://culture.gov.kn/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/DIVERSITY-OF-CULTURALEXPRESSION_UNESCO-Convention-doc-2005.pdf on April 24th 2016 § Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and natural Heritage, Paris 16 November 1972 http://whc.unesco.org/archive/convention-en.pdf Accepted on July 10th 1986 § Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Paris 2 November 2001 http://culture.gov.kn/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/UNDER-WATER-CULTURALHERITAGE_126065e.pdf on March 12th 2009 UNESCO NATCOM, and SKN ICH Focal Points look forward to your active participation, and support as we liaise with you to explore how to preserve, protect, safeguard, and transfer St. Kitts and Nevis treasured cultural traditions, and valued customs to the next generation