Lingnan University has secured a fund of HK$28.63 million for the proposal entitled “ICH+” Heritage of Pride: Intangible Cultural Heritage Education. In collaboration with a major arts and culture incubator in Hong Kong, this project aims to preserve, promote, redefine and revitalize the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of Hong Kong with a novel integration of “Education”, “Revitalization and Investigation” as well as “Curating and Audience-building”.
Having recognized that the youth of today are future pillars to pass on our unique traditions to the rest of the community, from generation to generation, and to other communities, the project is going to systematically cultivate in local junior secondary school students the knowledge and theory, skillset, as well as the contemporary revitalization of our city’s ICH. As the project’s core, an experiential learning programme revolving around nine ICH items, such as cheongsam, paper cutting and paper crafting, would be implemented to popularize among students a deeper understanding of local ICH. Apart from teaching historical knowledge, masters would conduct workshops on crafting techniques that not only achieve skill transmission but also, create positive recognition of the fundamental importance of the heritage. While inheriting the past with masters, students would also build for the future with artisans – they are going to initiate an unprecedented crossover of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary art practice. By translating the unique heritage into modern-day design, youth innovation serves as a prodigious leap that enriches the functions and meanings of ICH to our community.
Besides, the project would foster close interaction with society members through an open access of research findings and the organization of awareness-raising events. To preserve and collate the historical records, teaching kits developed from literature reviews and oral history interviews, together with audio-visual materials documenting the crafting processes, would all be shared with the general public on online platforms, producing a precious common asset that strengthens our sense of belonging and ethnic identity. While the project defines knowledge transfer as engaging with the non-academic community to generate, acquire, apply and make accessible the knowledge needed for social and cultural well-being, it also fully appreciates the importance of motivating the public to spread the intellectual property, expertise, learning and skills to produce further effects. Thus, mind-provoking summits and showcases would be held to present community members with the unlimited possibilities of local ICH. When fruits are brought to the wider public, an intricate and dynamic relationship between ICH and the masses would be developed, sowing the seeds of more heritage conservation initiatives collaborated by the academia and the non-academic community.
In conclusion, this ICH education project is unprecedented in both nature and scale, encapsulating the “living cultural traditions” of Hong Kong to provide a link from our past, through the present, and into our future.