International Symposium on Intangible Heritage along the Maritime Silk Road

Oceans have been sustaining people’s livelihood since the beginning of time. By understanding oceans, people can relate to oceanic changes as reflected by the wind or tide, or even the moon; they can also smell and feel such changes with their skin before or during the occurrence.

Inhabitants of most island countries have traditionally used boat-making skills to make crafts for water journeys, trade, fishing, and other reason. Traditional knowledge of boat-making and related skills have historically been passed down from generation to generation through oral literature, performing arts, and festivals; in addition to sailing and navigation, other techniques related to sailing, such as weather forecasting have also historically been passed along. Together, boat making and related knowledge have become identifying markers of different cultural groups, especially in the Pacific.

However, traditional skills have been rapidly losing popularity because of the availability of plastic boats or steel–hulled ships. Today, only few masters can claim full command of such traditional skills and knowledge. Associated building costs have also increased owing to a shortage in raw materials. As a result, transmission of this heritage is decreasing, and transmitters are forced to seek alternative employment.

Within this context, the International Symposium on Intangible Heritage along the Maritime Silk Road was conceived. At the symposium, participants will explore relevant case studies and discuss how maritime skills can be revitalized and transmitted to younger generations. To be held on 13 September 2018 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, with the theme of Ship, Navigation and People, the symposium is being co-organized by ICHCAP and the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage and supported by the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea.

The full schedule is available for download here.