CULTURAL HERITAGE SYMPOSIUM
27TH -28TH FEBRUARY 2020
at THE NAIROBI NATIONAL MUSEUM, BOTANICAL GARDENS, NAIROBI, KENYA
The Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth Symposium was held in Nairobi on 27th and 28th February 2020 at the National Museum of Kenya. Under the theme, “Culture Grows: Between Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” the event was a gathering of culture and creative sector stakeholders from Kenya and across the world. It was convened by Twaweza Communications in partnership with the British Council as part of the British Council's programme “Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth” – a pilot programme in Kenya, Vietnam and Colombia.
The overall aim of the Nairobi Symposium was to explore through a contemporary lens how cultural heritage is valued, safeguarded, shared and learnt, provide inspiration for established actors and key stakeholders as well as young emerging cultural heritage professionals and practitioners, to identify gender dimensions and gaps in cultural heritage practices and offer an opportunity for the exchange of knowledge and ideas as well as for networking.
The Symposium was organized in a manner that allowed participants to engage in knowledge sharing and learning sessions, cultural heritage site visits and practical exercises on safeguarding of cultures.
Presenters, panelists and participants sought to answer the question: How do youth involvement, contemporary cultural practices and advances in information technology contribute to the overall potential of cultural heritage and how can they lead to cultural heritage interventions becoming more inclusive and engaging with diverse and non-traditional heritage audiences? How are gender gaps in cultural heritage practices best addressed? There was consensus that cultural heritage can benefit from and influence digital technology and that youth are core consumers and creators of culture in urban and rural areas. Through opportunities availed by technology they can reach local and global audiences.
Several cross cutting issues emerged during the Symposium which are important for continued advocacy, pedagogical and practical work for the culture and creative industries.
First, the need to prioritize intergenerational learning where the younger generation is able to learn from older traditional cultural practitioners so that knowledge and skills are passed from one generation to another. This applies, for example, in development of cultural products including traditional herbal remedies and musical instruments and in other areas of life that are important in expressing identities. More youth involvement needs to be prioritized in cultural heritage
Second and closely related, is deliberate provision of opportunities for knowledge sharing across the various sectors in culture and creative industries as well as intra-sectorial learning. The culture and creative industries are vast and stakeholders may not be aware of what each sector is doing, or what stakeholders in different regions are involved in.
An annual cultural heritage convening was proposed as one of the ways practitioners in the cultural and creative industries could get together for knowledge sharing, showcasing of activities and co-creating content. The knowledge sharing would provide opportunities for creatives to find areas of convergence, networking and collaboration
Funding for the Creative sector came up as a challenge experienced by stakeholders across all countries and communities represented in the Symposium. An exploration of various strategies including audience engagement and an appreciation of the unique contexts of cultural production were recommended to allow for creatives to access funds for their work. Governments and private sector were encouraged to invest in the sector in order to create jobs and enhance social cohesion through inter-cultural sharing.