Writer : Jingi Cheon
Year : 2017

In response to the publication of volume 12 of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage, I am very pleased to introduce articles from new fields of intangible heritage which have never previously been discussed in our journal. I sincerely appreciate the input of all the authors who have continued to research in various fields of intangible heritage, and to share their valuable knowledge and information with other scholars and researchers from around the world through our journal. Also, I would like to thank Alissandra Cummins, the Editor-in-chief, the members of the editorial committee, and the text editor, for their hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm from the selection phase to the end publication in ensuring the best content for the Journal.

The International Journal of Intangible Heritage has been published for over 10 years and has contained research on an infinite diversity of expressions. Along with ‘the aspect of the preservation and development of intangible heritage’, the journal has provided opportunities for museum officials, scholars, and researchers from all over the world to interact and share information about ICH. Moreover, through describing their experiences, advancing knowledge, and expanding studies on various intangible heritage subjects in the Journal, the authors have allowed the museum to extend the scope of its use of intangible elements.

In fact, the National Folk Museum of Korea has recognised the value, impact and importance of intangible cultural heritage ever since the 2004 ICOM summit held in Seoul. For instance, we have established an annual project called the 'Year of Local Folk Culture', where our colleagues live with local residents to record, categorise, report, and archive the locals’ lifestyles as intangible cultural heritage. Conducting this sort of research for so many years has allowed us to safely preserve, record and utilise a lot of data regarding diverse aspects of Korean culture. In addition, the National Folk Museum of Korea has been promoting and raising awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage more widely through various projects, from the publishing the International Journal of Intangible Heritage, to holding international academic conferences relating to museums and intangible heritage, as well as commissioning performances in various genres of traditional folklore, and exhibiting items related to intangible heritage.

In order to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the publication of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage in 2015, we hosted an international conference under the theme of ‘Challenges for the Future: Intangible Heritage and Local Communities in Museums.’ The 10th anniversary of the Journal also provided us with an opportunity to reflect on the continuity and future direction of this publication as a significant research resource. In other words, the conference gave us the opportunity to discuss a new role for the museum. The role of museums is not only the collecting and displaying of rare objects, but also illuminating the connection between tangible and intangible heritage in strengthening cultural diversity and community development. Intangible subjects do not often play much of a role in museum projects. However, the National Folk Museum of Korea, as the leading museum in Korea dealing with intangible heritage, is seeking ways to actively engage with local communities through researching, recording, and exhibiting the customs, expressions and knowledge of those communities. Even though such listening and interacting is time-consuming, the museum has recognised the importance of sincere communication between museum officials, local residents, stakeholders, and others in order to deliver and reflect local residents’ opinions.

In other words, the National Folk Museum of Korea constantly communicates and broadens networks not only with museum officials, but also with local communities, the inheritors of intangible heritage, traditional craftsmen, etc. in order to look for ways to utilise and reinforce the importance of intangible heritage. We believe this is the best way to preserve valuable intangible heritage for future generations.

Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the authors who were keen to submit their papers and enabled us to produce this important publication, then to the editorial board members for their hard work and commitment, to the text editor, Dr Pamela Inder, who edited the contributions to the Journal very carefully, and to the publication secretariat. Last but not least, I would like to pay my respects to the editor-in-chief, Ms Alissandra Cummins, who has played an outstanding role in publishing volume 12. I look forward to your kind suggestions, advice and collaboration on future editions of the International Journal of Intangible Heritage.