Writer : Jingi Cheon
Year : 2012

At the beginning of this year the newly constituted editorial board made a successful start in advancing the publication of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage under the leadership of our third Editor-in-Chief, Ms. Alissandra Cummins. A large delegation of eminent scholars and leaders in the field of intangible heritage gathered at the National Folk Museum of Korea in February for the 7th editorial board meeting for Volume 7 of the Journal.

In the past, most museums focused on tangible objects rather than on intangible values. However, in recent years there has been a noteworthy change as museums worldwide have begun to consider the desperate need to preserve both intangible and tangible heritage resources in our rapidly changing world. Recognising the importance of intangible heritage, the National Folk Museum of Korea put on a temporary exhibition entitled Arirang (Arirang is a Korean folk song which is considered to be the country’s unofficial national anthem). The objects in the exhibition were interpreted and set in context, their importance from an intangible heritage point of view was presented in the words of members of the communities from which they came, and in the corner of the exhibition hall there was a stage for amateur performers. This vivid, multi-sensory presentation enabled visitors to see, feel and hear Arirang.

Intangible heritage resources should be considered as the foundation for objects in museums. In addition, intangible heritage includes material expressions and cultural spaces as mentioned in the 2003 UNESCO Convention in which intangible heritage is interpreted as …the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skill - as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith - that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.

According to the Convention, forms of intangible heritage that traditionally made up the identity of a community can be developed and safeguarded through the efforts, passion, and involvement of previous generations in transmitting their knowledge to the next generation. In this way they can preserve their beloved heritage in both tangible and intangible form.

The 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was a seed that bore fruit in the establishment of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage. In May 2012 we will celebrate the seventh anniversary of the publication of the journal. In addition to having been indexed by the International Bibliography of Social Sciences (IBSS), the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (A & HCI), and the Korean Citation Index (KCI) by 2010, in 2011 the journal was also accredited by Scopus, the Modern Language Association International Bibliography (MLAIB), and the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS).

The flourishing discourse about intangible heritage will again be stimulated by Volume 7 which contains eight articles by eleven eminent authors from six different countries. Each deals with an interesting and significant topic - eagle falconry in western Mongolia, Javanese court dance and the Croatian ritual of boat incineration on the Island of Vis, among others. Each of these contributions provides an invaluable source of ideas and inspiration for readers, and will foster further developments through their communication amongst members of the global community.

In conclusion to this, the seventh Foreword to be written since the Journal was established, I, as one of the publishers, would like to pay tribute to all those who have been committed to this great project; first of all, the authors who were eager to submit their papers, then the advisory committee and the editorial board members, including text editor, Dr. Pamela Inder, and finally, all three editors-in-chief - Professor Patrick Boylan, Professor Amareswar Galla, and Ms. Alissandra Cummins. I will always be mindful of the support they have given, and will look forward gratefully to collaborating with them on future editions of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage.