UNESCO Chair on Applied Studies of Intangible Cultural Heritage
The UNESCO Chair on Applied Studies of Intangible Cultural Heritage is part of the Institute of Cultural Research. The chairholder is Kristin Kuutma, Professor of Cultural Research.
Over the past 15 years, many countries in the world have ratified the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Thus, the need has grown remarkably for professionals who understand the nature of cultural heritage, as well as the social and economic context.
The aim of the UNESCO chair is to observe and back these processes: doing research, preparing students for their future work in this rapidly developing field, and giving heritage professionals the possibility to exchange experiences and stay up-to-date with the latest research.
The research of professor Kristin Kuutma focuses on heritage policies and the links between cultural heritage and identity. She has also been actively involved in implementing the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage on international level – as an expert representing Estonia in the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, participaiting at numerous expert meetings and serving the UNESCO secretariat in advisory capacity. At the national level, she is the Chairman of the Council of the Estonian National Commission for UNESCO and a member of the Estonian Council for Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Kristin Kuutma's keynote Critical (Re)conceptualizations in the Politics of Heritage" at the seminar ""No such thing as heritage"? – From Basic Assumptions and Constructs to Reconceptualizations" held at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (University of Helsinki).
The staff of the Chair includes the UNESCO Cooperation Specialist Kristiina Porila. Directly applied in the activities of the UNESCO Chair are also the Senior Research Fellow of Estonian and Comparative Folklore Elo-Hanna Seljamaa who is also directing the English language MA programme “Folkloristics and Applied Heritage Studies” and Reet Ruusmann from the department of Ethnology.