Metágora 2019/2039

The «Future of Heritage: Public Policies for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Colombia (Metágora 2019-2039)» was a Participatory Action-Research (PAR) project led by Alex de las Heras and Paolo Vignolo. It operated within the Strategic Area of «Culture, Interculture, Art, Communication, and Contemporary Poetics» from the National University of Colombia.

Metágora 2019-2039 had a central objective of constructing a proposal that aimed to enhance Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) policies. This proposal was intended for both the Ministry of Culture of Colombia and UNESCO, and was developed from the perspective of cultural agents actively involved in these cultural expressions. The goal was to provoke an extensive public discourse regarding the value of culture, sustainable tourism, gender parity, and social justice in Colombia over the next two decades.

During the XIV Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, a «Metagora» event was held on Thursday, December 12, at ‘Ágora.’ This event involved a participatory action-research (PAR) dialogue circle and saw participation from representatives of diverse cultural expressions invited to the Committee, academics from the National University of Colombia, artists, and activists actively engaged in these cultural processes.

The workshop components included an introductory segment on Intangible Cultural Heritage, which explored its significance and provided examples from both Colombia and around the world. Participants engaged in an analysis of existing ICH policies, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, participants were encouraged to envision the future of ICH in Colombia over the next twenty years. This visioning process addressed the necessary changes, improvements, or innovations.

The participatory action-research (PAR) aspect delved into the principles and methods of PAR and how they could effectively engage with cultural agents and communities involved in ICH.

A session promoting debate and dialogue was conducted. This provided a platform for participants to share and discuss their policy proposals, fostering open dialogue and collaboration, devising policy proposals aimed at advancing the safeguarding and promotion of ICH, with a particular focus on sustainability, gender equity, and social justice.

Additionally, there was an exploration of various techniques for documenting and disseminating information about ICH and policy proposals, including the use of photography, film, and audio.

This comprehensive workshop stimulated participants to engage in critical reflection on the future of ICH in Colombia. It supported collaborative policy development and encouraged dialogue between cultural practitioners, academics, artists, and activists, emphasizing the enduring impact of public policies on cultural heritage and societal equity.