Intangible heritage key in Georgia

Photo of people sat in a room in a circle
Focus Group meeting in Tserovani, Georgia, 3 April 2023 © Blue Shield Georgia

On the 3rd April BS Georgia organised a focus group meeting with displaced persons from Didi Liakhvi Valley as part of the project ‘Protection of the Intangible Heritage of Occupied Regions‘. Participants shared personal stories and experiences about cultural heritage, family, traditions, holidays, folk stories, toponyms and other heritage.

Focus group meetings create a space where displaced persons can reflect on the role of heritage in shaping their identity. Through a survey of the population of the Didi Liakhvi Valley and further research, the project team will identify the common priorities of the community.

Blue Shield knows that intangible heritage is just as important as tangible heritage, like monuments and buildings. It forms part of the collective memory of communities, and is a critical contributor to healthy, peaceful, secure, and sustainable communities.

Intangible heritage is also protected under the widely ratified 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Living heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.

Blue Shield Georgia, Newcastle University, and the Didi Liakhvi Museum Reserve recently launched a major report looking at damage to cultural heritage in the Tskhinvali Region of Georgia. As well as exploring the damage to built heritage, during and since the war in 2008, the report also explores the effects on the region’s intangible heritage and on the people displaced by the war.

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