Traditional Knowledge Systems for Conservation and Management of Asia’s Heritage

ICCROM and the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea are very pleased to present a new publication, now available for free download.

How can Traditional Knowledge Systems be applied and adapted to contemporary conservation and management of heritage? This question was discussed during the 2015 ICCROM-CHA International Forum on Conservation. The results are now available in this new publication, which looks at examples from 14 countries across Asia.

Traditional Knowledge Systems are shown to be time-tested and dynamic processes that can contribute greatly to the conservation and management of heritage in Asia and elsewhere. They bring benefits to local communities and to others elsewhere by promoting social resilience, fostering local identity and social cohesion, building intergenerational relationships, and encouraging sustainability. 

In helping conservation professionals better understand and safeguard a community’s connection with heritage, traditional knowledge also enables professionals to overcome the divide between tangible and intangible heritage, linking also cultural heritage to the natural environment in which it is located. 

However, the reality on the ground today is that Traditional Knowledge Systems are all too often threatened by a range of socio-economic pressures from the modern globalized world, as well as changes within the knowledge-holding community. Within the heritage sector, an increased professionalization of conservation practice can also fail to recognize their importance. 

The challenge, therefore, lies in reconciling Traditional Knowledge Systems with conventional heritage management systems, showing that the two are potentially compatible and could be mutually beneficial, as various examples illustrate.

This publication is the result of a Forum series organized by ICCROM together with, and thanks to the generosity of, the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea. It is the third instalment of a four-book series that covers some of the most pertinent topics in cultural heritage preservation and management in Asia. The first on Asian Buddhist Heritage and the second on Revisiting Authenticity in the Asian Context are also available for free download.