Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) will next week host the First GCC Heritage and Oral History Forum to highlight the importance of oral history in preserving the UAE’s cultural heritage. The Forum will run at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal from 14 – 16 September.
Forum delegates will explore the storyteller’s role in safeguarding elements of intangible cultural heritage and developing current fieldwork techniques of collecting data through stories told by the elderly and other heritage custodians.
The Forum is expected to proposing the setting up of a unified GCC strategy to activate oral history’s role in collecting inventory and will seek to outline the challenges faced by field researchers and stakeholders while highlighting the experiences of some Arab countries in leveraging oral history as a valuable resource.
“This initiative by our Intangible Heritage Department will help develop field research methods and enhance researchers’ skills in identifying and collecting date from accurate, reliable sources namely storytellers who are our human treasures,” said Dr. Nasser Al Humairi, Director of TCA Abu Dhabi’s Intangible Heritage Department.
Dr. Nasser says the aim is to evolve the Forum into a GCC-wide platform. “It has been decided to make the Heritage and Oral History Forum a regional one, combining the expertise and experiences of heritage and oral history institutions and individuals in the GCC countries given their multiple past, present, and even future common elements. Hopefully, participation will be extended in future years to include Arab and international institutions,” he added.
TCA Abu Dhabi has invited a number of GCC history and heritage university departments, institutions and other entities, as well as academics, experts, researchers, sociologists and historians to the Forum and a dedicated panel has studied and chosen papers to be submitted to the gathering.