Wanted: Ideas for heritage blueprint

Participants share thoughts at engagement session; public feedback to be held this year

The community could have benefited from a biography on pioneer cultural heritage and arts practitioners such as cultural medallion winner Neila Sathyalingam, who died last month aged 78.

This was one of the suggestions from Mr Aravinth Kumarasamy, 51, the artistic director of Apsaras Arts Indian dance company, at a National Heritage Board (NHB) engagement session yesterday.

Mrs Sathyalingam was the founder of the 40-year-old dance company.

The engagement session was held in the lead-up to the launch of the first edition of a new Heritage Plan next year.

The plan was first announced during the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's Committee of Supply debate last month.

It aims to map out a national vision for the museum and heritage landscape.

Mr Aravinth was one of 22 participants who gathered at the Peranakan Museum to share ideas on how to better document and capture the country's intangible cultural heritage.

Intangible cultural heritage comprises oral traditions and expressions, the performing arts, social practices, rituals, and festive events and traditional craftsmanship, among other things.

Participants at yesterday's session also discussed how research and expertise could be boosted for intangible cultural heritage, and how youth could be roped in.

Participants' input will be factored into the Heritage Plan.

The first edition of this blueprint will set out the strategies and action plan for the next five years.

The plan will be updated every five years, with a timeframe of 2030 and beyond.

NHB has conducted a total of 34 one-on-one interviews with "thought leaders".

It has also held 23 engagement sessions involving more than 500 participants since last September.

NHB will continue to run engagement sessions till September.

The topics to be discussed include archaeology, built heritage, museum excellence, the national collection, heritage education and community engagement.

On the subject of intangible cultural heritage, NHB has conducted a total of five engagement sessions with 100 participants covering areas such as food, heritage, traditional arts and social practices and rituals.

The public feedback leg of the Heritage Plan is set to take place later this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Wanted: Ideas for heritage blueprint'. Print Edition | Subscribe