High-profile agencies such as UNESCO continue to underscore the urgent need to support the sustainability of intangible cultural heritage across the world, in all its forms: from languages to music, theatre to dance. That task is enormous, and within any specific region or nation, even within a community, decisions often need to be made about where to best direct the limited funding, time, and resources for sustainability efforts. Drawing on precedent from the environmental sciences, this paper suggests a ‘triage system’ to help set priorities for implementing sustainability initiatives. The tripartite model assesses (1) the nature and severity of the threat to the cultural expression in question, (2) its perceived value in the community, and (3) the solvability of the problem. The system holds potential to assist stakeholders – communities themselves, as well as bodies that allocate funding and resources for cultural maintenance and revitalisation – to determine priorities for support, in turn leading to better deployment of resources and optimal outcomes for effort.
|Keywords:||Cultural Heritage Management, Cultural Sustainability, Intangible Cultural Heritage|
Research Fellow, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia