Luang Prabang Youth Present Solutions to Safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage

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News
  • 2022•10•26     Lao People’s Democratic Republic & Online

    Photo: Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC)

    On 15 October 2022, a final presentation session of the Youth Ambassadors’ Forum concluded a series of workshops aiming to enhance the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in Luang Prabang, Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Twenty-five youth ambassadors presented innovative solutions to address the needs of local ICH artisans who hope to pass on their knowledge and skills to the next generation.

    Focusing on living heritage practiced in Luang Prabang — pottery making, basket weaving, traditional recitation, and the lanad musical instrument — participants applied a design thinking approach to develop prototype projects aimed at solving the economic, social, and environmental challenges faced by practitioners.

    Pottery making
    This group built a website that highlighted traditional and modern pottery products, shared information about the local pottery centre, and hosted instructional videos and an online shop. The group’s future vision is to build a larger and easily accessible pottery centre where younger generations can learn about the ICH aspect of pottery making.

    Another group worked with a local potter to design a new decorative pattern inspired by a Lao flower. The design process was an immersive experience connecting the youth with traditional artisans, many of whom are immediate family members and neighbours.

    Basket weaving
    The group designed a wicker solar cell lamp with the help of a local basket weaver, combining traditional craft with an environmentally friendly energy source to show how ICH can be used to localise SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy).

    Traditional recitation
    Aiming to raise awareness of an art that is being lost, the group created a video clip explaining the origins and significance of recital readings as carried out at festivals and ceremonies. The team hopes to find support to establish an educational centre where youth can learn the content, meaning, and skills of traditional recitation.

    Lanad musical instrument
    This group created a Facebook page with introductory information on the lanad and the Luang Prabang traditional music centre. The group also used a microcontroller board to explore how lanad could be played using various materials.

    Jonghwi Park (Academic Programme Officer, UNU-IAS), Kay Poh Gek Vasey (Founder and Chief Connecting Officer of MeshMinds), and Anna Wai Yu Yau (Heritage Specialist and Founder of Contemplate Culture Community) provided feedback on the presentations and suggested ideas for further developing the prototypes.

    A recording of the session is available on the UNESCO YouTube channel.

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    The Youth Ambassadors’ Forum is part of the Grant for Global Sustainability project, implemented by UNU-IAS in collaboration with UNESCO Bangkok, Tokyo Institute of Technology, the International Training Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (CRIHAP), the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC), the Luang Prabang World Heritage Office, the Luang Prabang Department of Information, Culture and Tourism, and Lao New Wave Cinema (LNWC).