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Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

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Cultural heritage is not only expressed through buildings and artefacts - it is also communicated through language, music, dance, storytelling, festivals and rituals. These cultural forms are known as Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), or living culture.

Intangible Cultural Heritage is transmitted from generation to generation and is constantly recreated by communities in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history. It provides people with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.

By its very nature Intangible Cultural Heritage is a fluid and changing form of cultural heritage. A style of dance may change with each practitioner who teaches it to the next generation, as may a story or any practise handed down through the generations. This means that intangible heritage cannot not be preserved in the same way that material heritage can.

The UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage seeks to safeguard and ensure respect for the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. This includes raising awareness of the importance of intangible heritage at the local, national and international levels, as well as encouraging international cooperation and assistance.

To find out more about the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage and about ICH in the UK, please select from the below list of topics.

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Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
Thumb: Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003)
This Convention seeks to safeguard and ensure respect for Intangible Cultural Heritage – the practices, representations, expressions and knowledge which are transmitted from generation to generation
Documenting Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland
Thumb: Documenting Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland
Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in Scotland has a broad basis in the cultural life of the country, examples of which cover the full range of ICH outlined in the 2003 UNESCO Convention.


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