Documenting ICH in sound and image: A participatory approach to safeguarding intangible heritage

Documentation of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) poses a series of new questions and challenges within the heritage practice. How do we document a heritage that is alive, through the heads, hands and practices of people? Heritage that is neither tangible nor fixed but intangible and dynamic. Heritage that lives within a community, which by its active practice also acts to transmit and realize a future for this living heritage. Such living heritage processes require different, explicitly participatory and dynamic approaches for documentation – for which audiovisual forms of recording seem appropriate. This article unravels the conceptual confusion between different ‘intangible’ heritage practices and then looks at examples of practice in Flanders and in existing related research methods such as visual anthropology and oral history.


This article is part of the book ‘SOIMA: Unlocking Sound and Image Heritage