by Curlan Campbell
- Grenada’s intangible cultural heritage will be officially integrated into formal school system
- Grenada National Trust will spearhead initiative in collaboration with Ministry of Education, Grace Lutheran School, and other key stakeholders
Grenada’s intangible cultural heritage will be officially integrated into the formal school system thanks to the financial support of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The programme, officially launched virtually last Friday by Director and Representative of the UNESCO Cluster Office Dr Saadia Sanchez-Vegas, is entitled “Proud of my Heritage: Transmission and safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in Grenada through inventorying and education initiatives.”
Executive Director of Grenada National Trust Adriana Rojas; Minister for Education Hon. Emmalin Pierre; Minister for Culture Hon. Yolande Bain Horsford, and President of the Grenada National Trust Darryl Brathwaite attended the virtual launch.
Surrounding communities will be engaged and empowered through the programme’s phased approach.
“Proud of My Heritage” is the name of the educational programme for children, developed to raise awareness of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Grenada. The Grenada National Trust will spearhead this initiative in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other key stakeholders, including the Grace Lutheran School, which has helped conceptualise the project and conduct the programme’s educational aspect in various pilot schools throughout the tri-island state. The participating school community will be involved in inventorying exercises, and a pilot “Living Heritage Integration Programme” will be integrated into the school curriculum.
Rojas indicated that the first phase of the programme would raise awareness among key stakeholders about safeguarding living heritage by conducting a capacity-building workshop facilitated by UNESCO during the second week of March. Workshops in April are geared towards strengthening community-based knowledge in ICH research and inventory skills, methods, and techniques will be included.
The second major phase will be the implementation of the Proud of My Heritage educational component for 5th and 6th graders in pilot schools led by Grace Lutheran School. This will include capacity-building workshops for teachers in July, using a heritage resource guide to increase educators’ knowledge about the living heritage in Grenada.
“The teachers will then be in a position to raise awareness of school community including parents, children, grandparents and educators by integrating them into ICH education activities at schools, this will include identification, documentation and promotion of Grenada’s living heritage through site excursions and the use of video, audio recording, interviews and schools exhibitions. This will be a precursor to the introduction of a pilot inventory exercise through the tri-island State of Grenada by encouraging and integrating local communities and stakeholders to participate in identifying, registering and safeguarding our living heritage for present and future generations,” said Rojas.
Particular attention of the project will also be the youth, as reiterated by Minister Pierre who strongly believes that the preservation of Grenada’s intangible cultural heritage is dependent upon the younger generation taking a keen interest.
“By incorporating Intangible Cultural Heritage in education in Grenada both formally and informally, we can reconnect schools with their surrounding communities which will foster respect and appreciation for cultural diversity and strengthen a sense of belonging, pride and cohesion within our communities. Intangible Cultural Heritage is also a powerful tool in education since it provides context-specific content and pedagogy for educational programmes and this act as a means to increase the relevance and quality of education and improve learning outcomes amongst students,” said Minister Pierre. “There is also an important link between ICH and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) around livelihood, since many people their livelihood is significantly dependent on ICH. Some of these areas are in traditional craftsmanship, the performing arts and knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe thus when we look at TVET and ICH, there is an economic aspect and the possibility of linking knowledge with qualification again showing how important this is in community development.”
UNESCO’s 1972 World Heritage Convention categorises cultural heritage as the monuments, sites, and groups of buildings with universal value as determined through historical, artistic, scientific, aesthetic, or ethnological or anthropological lenses. Later, cultural heritage grew to include collections of objects and then expanded through the differentiation between tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, delineated the difference between tangible and intangible by establishing that in contrast to traditionally recognised tangible cultural heritage, ICH is “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills handed down from generation to generation”.