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Korea’s lantern festival becomes UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

Source: The Korea Times

Yeondeunghoe, the Lotus Lantern Festival, held every year to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday, was listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, Wednesday, becoming Korea’s 21st intangible cultural heritage recognized by UNESCO.

According to the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA), the lantern festival was included on the list during the 15th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, the same day. The event was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris as well as online due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is with great pleasure that the evaluation body highly commends Yeondeunghoe for its function in encouraging dialogue among communities and cultures, which lead sto enhancing the visibility of intangible cultural heritages in general,” Chung Jae-suk, an administrator of the CHA, said.

“I do anticipate that the spirit of dialogue of Yeondeunghoe will be widely shared, offering inspiration in addressing conflicts between countries.”

The Lotus Lantern Festival is held around Buddha’s birthday, which falls on the eighth day of the fourth month on the lunar calendar. The festival, which consists of a Buddhist ceremony, a lantern procession and memorial service, symbolizes lighting up the world to make it an abundant and fair place for everyone.

The history of Yeondeunghoe dates back some 1,200 years, first appearing in the “Samguk Sagi” (History of the Three Kingdoms). In the book, under the reign of the 668-935 Unified Silla Kingdom, King Gyeongmun and Queen Jinseong visited the Hwangnyong Temple to observe lanterns on the occasion of the first full moon of the year in 866 and 890, respectively.

The tradition of lantern lighting continued in the 918―1392 Goryeo Kingdom, when Buddhism flourished. Directions for hosting Yeondeunghoe were included in “Hunyosipjo” (The 10 Injunctions) compiled by Goryeo’s first King Taejo for his successors. In the early Goryeo era, the lantern festival was held to observe the full moon of the first or second month in the lunar calendar and was later moved to the fourth day of the fourth month, to commemorate Buddha’s birthday.

The Lotus Lantern Festivals of Silla and Goryeo were primarily a Buddhist event, but the event became a folk event during the 1392-1910 Joseon Kingdom. As the authorities discontinued the official Buddhist lantern festival, the tradition continued as Gwandeung-nori, or the lantern celebration, in the Joseon era.

In the modern day parade, participants hold lanterns symbolizing Buddha’s wisdom. The shape and size of the lanterns varies, with each design symbolizing different cultural meanings ― a turtle shaped lantern symbolizes longevity, while fruit represents prosperity and fecundity.

Yeondeunghoe was designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage no. 122 in 2012 and the Yeondeunghoe Safeguarding Association is in charge of transmitting and passing down the tradition.

“Yeondeunghoe began as a Buddhist event, but it evolved into a spring festival anyone can participate in. People regardless of faith, age and gender take part in the Lantern Lighting Festival now and such traits correspond to the UNESCO’s guidelines for the Intangible Cultural Heritage list emphasizing community involvement,” an official of the CHA said.

This year’s Yeondeunghoe was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Next year’s event is scheduled from April to May, with the main lantern parade on May 15.

The CHA first nominated Yeondeunghoe for the UNESCO list in 2018 and amended it in 2019. It received a recommendation for inclusion on the list from the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in November.

Other Korean intangible cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO include ssireum (traditional Korean wrestling), Jeju haenyeo (women divers), nongak (community band music), kimjang (the making and sharing of kimchi) and the folk song Arirang as well as Jongmyojerye (royal ancestral rituals in the Jongmyo shrine and its music) and pansori (musical storytelling).

Heritage Matters 12 | Heritage and Values | 12 December 2020 | 7:30-9 PM IST

Date: 12th December 2020, Saturday

Time: 1930-2100 Indian Standard Time (7:30 – 9:00 PM)

Recording Link: Click Here

Research and evaluation of Heritage Matters Webinars reveal that COVID 19 has opened up opportunities to: address inequities in the system to embed sustainable in SDGs; transform education and workplaces to rebuild the way we do things; rethink leadership as transformative, inclusive and collaborative; scope with immediacy new approaches to the climate crisis; and address culture as an integral part of UN Agenda 2030. To sustain these aspirations, especially from the younger generations, how well can we focus revealing the values of the built environment and reshaping urban conservation, and consequently enabling cities to develop towards more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable environments? Could we address the inDivisibility of heritage and values to build future possibilities and normalities – yes in plural, multivocal and pluri-praxis to respect global cultural and linguistic diversity? Eminent panellists will address these and more questions and contestations to stimulate thinking.

Panellists: Prof Dr Ana Pereira Roders, UNESCO Chair in Heritage and Values, TUDelft, Delft; Prof Rabindra Vasavada, Architect FRAS, Former Head, Centre for Conservation Studies, CRDU CEPT University, Ahmedabad; and Ritika Khanna, Heritage Consultant and Researcher, MA in World Heritage, New Delhi.

Host: Prof Dr Amareswar Galla, Professor of Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, Ahmedabad and Executive Director, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, Australia.

LADxNYUAD Symposium | Reframing Museums | 16-18 November 2020 |

Reframing Museums is a first-of-its-kind, virtual symposium to address new challenges and responsibilities facing museums today. The symposium will see a daily programme of roundtable panel discussions, break-out groups, and keynotes from global leaders such as HE Noura Al Kaabi (Minister of Culture and Youth, UAE), HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak (Chairman, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi), Jean-Luc Martinez (Director of Musée du Louvre, France), Kwame Anthony Appiah (Professor of Philosophy and Law, New York University and NYU Abu Dhabi, UAE/USA), Krzysztof Pomian (historian and philosopher) and Nujoom Al Ghanem (poet and film director)

The programme was developed by a curatorial committee and informed by key learnings gleaned from pre-symposium workshops titled “Unframed Voices.” Hosted by both institutions, the workshops were conceived to enable active engagement from a broad range of voices before and during the symposium

The three-day symposium is free and open to the public. The full programme and registration are available on the Reframing Museums website.

Prof Amareswar Galla spoke on the topic ‘InDivisible World Views & Indigenous Peoples’ in Roundtable 5 | Voices of authority: expertise, participation and inclusion in the museum of tomorrow.  Click Here for Recording.

Click Here to view program overview.

Click here to view the speaker bios. 

A Culture of Resilience: Mobilising Arts, Culture and Heritage to Win the Race to Zero in the Asia-Pacific Region | 17 November 2020 | 8:00 AM IST

This event is part of a series of three dialogues that the Climate Heritage Network is hosting in different time zones across the planet during Climate Heritage Week. Each of these 3 dialogue is aimed at a different global region and will highlight concrete culture-based strategies being implemented through new partnerships between cultural actors and stakeholders across sectors. Dialogues will address specific barriers that can hinder such multi-stakeholder collaborations and will explore the links between these resilience measures and key 1.5-degree pathways like food and cities. You can read more about the whole 3 dialogue series below or here: https://www.culturexclimate.org/dialogues

The CHN dialogue series is in turn a part of the broader November Dialogues planned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action – Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz. We are extremely proud that this event marks one of the first times that the topic of culture and heritage has been included in a high level UN event of this type. The UN November Dialogues form a part of the High Level Champions’ ‘Race To Zero,’ a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery.

Professor Dr Amareswar Galla will speak at the event in the Roundtable: Creativity, design, art and cultural heritage as decarbonisation pathways for cities and buildings. Click here to view the schedule.

Register Here for the event.

Heritage Matters 11 | Writing Architecture | 21 November 2020 | 7:30-9 PM IST

Date: 21st November 2020, Saturday

Time: 1930-2100 Indian Standard Time (7:30 – 9:00 PM)

Recording of Session: Audio | Video

The triangulation of COVID 19, Climate Crisis and continuing gross inequities formed the challenge for launching Heritage Matters Webinar Series. The underlying conviction is that heritage in all its manifestations is critical for our resilience to build post pandemic futures. It is the ethos of sustainable development. In this webinar we will interrogate the extent to which writing on architecture is accessible, relevant, and contextual. What is the state of the art with writing architecture? Has it been limited to the specialists? Can it become more interdisciplinary and accessible across specialisms, including tourism and journalism? What are the potentials and possibilities? What kind of capabilities and capacities do we need to embed in professional and educational agencies? How do we assess the layers of significance in architecture to communicate place making in contextual places, diachronically and synchronically? Could we promote a genre of writing architecture that is decolonised? The practice of writing architecture in local languages in a postcolonial context is much wanted. These are some of the contestations of this Webinar to stimulate thinking.
Panellists: Dr Wiendu Nuryanti, Professor in Architecture and Planning, Gadjah Mada University and former Vice Minister of Education and Culture, Indonesia (2011-2014); Nandini Somaya Sampat, Architect/ Solicitor and Director, SNK Somaya & Kalappa Consultants; and Ar Neha Nair, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Architecture, Anant National University.
Host: Dr Amareswar Galla, Professor of Inclusive Cultural Leadership, Anant National University, India and International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, Australia

The impact of COVID-19 Pandemic within the Women’s Civil Society Organisations in Africa | 28 October 2020 | 1730 hours IST


As part of mentoring young people, ICICL AnantU and IIIM nominated Ms Kaye Kavurani, Anant Fellow(2020-21) as a Speaker for the webinar.

Topic: The impact of COVID-19 Pandemic within the Women’s Civil Society Organisations in Africa

Date: 28 October 2020

Time: 5:30 PM IST (3 PM EAT)

Registration Link: Click Here to Register

International Conference “Innovative methods of organising exhibitions: lessons for Vietnam” | 8 October 2020 | 7-3:30 PM IST

∎ Venue: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam

∎ Primary language: Vietnamese (with English interpretation)
∎ Organizer: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME)
VME was established in 1995 and officially opened to the public since 1997. The museum carries out the mission of scientific research, collecting, inventorying, preserving artifacts, organizing exhibitions, performing and operating educational activities to contribute to the preservation of cultural diversity of ethnic groups in Vietnam, Southeast Asia and around the world.

Exhibition is one of the most important aspects of museum’s work, promoting other works. Therefore, exhibitions always require high scientificity, aesthetics and updates with the development level of science and technology in each country. Museum’s exhibitions are a bridge connecting the public and museum artifacts. Without exhibits, a museum is just a storehouse, an archive of systematized collections. The development of ideas and exhibits as well as the renovation of exhibitions play a significant role in museums, especially in the context of modernization and international integration. Therefore, VME plans to organize an international conference on “Innovative Methods of Organizing Exhibitions: Lessons for Vietnam”.
The Conference is a scientific forum aiming at exchanging and updating the concepts, methods and new trends in exhibition work of museums among national and international experts in Vietnam as well as around the world in the direction of modern approaches and international integration. Thereby, it will make an important contribution to improving the Museum’s staff capacity, drawing lessons for Vietnamese museums in general and for the VME in particular to appropriately and effectively apply to the renovation of museums for a future sustainable development.

The Conference focuses on three key themes as follows:

Firstly, approaches in developing exhibitions
(museological/ethnological/anthropological approaches, community-participatory approach, community-based approach, educational exhibitions, artistic/aesthetic value featured exhibitions, exhibitions using 4.0 technology and multimedia, virtual exhibitions, etc.).
Secondly, new trends in organizing exhibitions in the world and in Vietnam.
Thirdly, lessons learnt for the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.

Click here for the detailed schedule


Cultural Survival: Partnering with Indigenous Communities during Pandemic | 6 October 2020 | 7-9 PM IST

Virtual Workings – E-residency for arts curators | Open Call

The Japan Foundation, Bangkok (JFBKK) and the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) through its arts website culture360.ASEF.org are pleased to launch the open call for Virtual Workings, an e-residency for emerging arts curators from the ASEAN region and Japan. Organised as a response to the impact of the global pandemic, this e-residency will be held online for a period of 6 weeks and will offer an opportunity for capacity building, peer learning and collaboration with a support of an expert in the field who will serve as a mentor to each pair of curators.
About the Residency


Selected curators will work in pairs. Each pair will be assigned a mentor and will collaborate online over a period of 6 weeks (16 November – 22 December 2020).
Applicants are encouraged to apply in pairs. For individual applicants, the pairing will be done by the organisers.
Each applicant/pair of applicants is/are required to indicate their order of preference in the application form for the below-mentioned themes. This will be taken into consideration during the selection and “pairing” process. Within the chosen theme, each pair will further define and propose the specific topic of their project with the support of the assigned mentor.
Each pair will work on a final output that could take the form of an online presentation, photo documentary, podcast, video documentary, mock project presentation online, amongst others. The final output of the residency will be published on culture360.ASEF.org and partners’ social media channels.
At the end of residency, each pair will take part in a podcast or video interview about the collaborative process as part of a wider sharing of their residency experience
Fee: Each participant will receive a fee of USD 500 for their participation in the residency to be used for the implementation of their project idea (e.g. research fee, purchase of materials or any other necessary service fee)

Mentors and Themes

The 3 mentors for this residency include the following experts:

Ms Luckana KUNAVICHAYANONT (Thailand), Arts consultant & Independent Curator and former Director of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC)
Ms TAKAHASHI Mizuki (Japan/Hong Kong SAR), Executive Director and Chief Curator, Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, Hong Kong
Prof Amareswar GALLA (Australia, India), Director, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, Australia and Anant National University, India
To know more about the mentors see: https://culture360.asef.org/news-events/asef-japan-foundation-announce-virtual-workings-e-residency-arts-curators/

NEP 2020: It’s Implications for Promoting Indian Art, Culture and Heritage | 27th September, 2020 | 03:00 PM IST

Download Event PDF

Click here to access detailed schedule