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Development of a national ICH policy geared towards protecting and preserving the rich cultural heritage of St Kitts and Nevis

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, February 28, 2023 (SKNIS) – The St. Kitts Department of Culture in conjunction with the St. Kitts Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Secretariat held the opening ceremony for the Phase 1A Documentation and Equipment Skills Training workshop, which will run from February 27 to March 3, 2023, at the Warner Park Media Center.

Participants of the workshop will receive advanced digital camera and video equipment training. Jason Connor, Videographer and Photographer will lead the “Community Based Inventorying Workshop – Documentation and Equipment Skills Training”, which is one of the activities planned during the implementation of the project entitled, “Safeguarding St. Kitts and Nevis Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH): Developing a National ICH Policy Project from January 1st, 2023 – Dec. 31st, 2024. Mr. Connor will share with participants useful principles of digital camera operation focusing on camera techniques, rules of composition, scripting, storytelling, lighting, music, and editing.

The primary objective of the project is to develop a National Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Policy in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis for the purpose of safeguarding ICH within the Federation, recognizing cultural traditions, protecting Tradition/Knowledge Bearers and Practitioners and their corresponding intellectual property rights, establishing ICH safeguarding guidelines, practices and procedures for State actors, as well as for developing guidelines for interventions in support of ICH Safeguarding.

Minister of Sports and the Creative Economy, the Hon. Samal Duggins indicated that the Government intends to support the project to its conclusion.

“The idea behind this is to develop a National Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Policy over the next two (2) years and we have received international assistance from UNESCO’s ICH Fund who graciously granted $91,252 US dollars… This project entails hosting a series of consultations and these consultations have been in engaging knowledge bearers, community members, groups and individuals, government officials, non-government organizations and private sector stakeholders over several phases that are set to run until December 31st, 2024…The ICH policy will be a landmark in the English-speaking Caribbean, as it was in April, 2019 when $100,000 US dollars was approved under the convention 2023 to build capacity and identify elements aimed at developing our intangible cultural heritage,” said Minister Duggins.

Minister Duggins indicated that he hopes to table supporting legislation in 2024 in parliament in an effort to bolster the Federation’s intangible cultural heritage. St. Kitts and Nevis can be considered pioneers in the area of intangible cultural heritage, with significant work already underway to develop a national ICH policy.

“I believe that my life’s works have been a part of this entire movement, and I always enjoy being able to continually be a part of it. That is why in creating the Ministry of Sports and the Creative Economy we grouped it as an economy where culture, entertainment, and the arts and talent development were put together. That area has the mandate to provide avenues for our communities to have opportunities for greater engagement and involvement which will lead to healthier, more productive and more socially aware lifestyles. Now, at this point I want to recognize and acknowledge Mr. Pierre Liburd who would be the Director with responsibility for the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) Secretariat,” said Minister Duggins.

The Ministry of Sports and the Creative Economy was established to give local creatives the necessary support needed to develop their talents and make them even more competitive on the regional and international stage.

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