Santander Art&Culture Law Review (EN)

Call for Papers

Edition 3

Call for Papers

(2017) Santander Art & Culture Law Review

Intangible Cultural Heritage – Successes, Problems and Challenges
10 Years After the Entry into Force of the UNESCO 2003 Convention


  • Andrzej Jakubowski, SAACLR, Polish Academy of Sciences, 
  • Katarzyna ZalasiƄska, SAACLR, University of Warsaw, e-mail:
  • Alicja Jagielska-Burduk, SAACLR, Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, 


Guest Editors


Submission Deadline for Papers: March 15, 2017



In 2016 UNESCO celebrates the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003 ICH Convention).


The 2003 ICH Convention is widely recognized as a ‘success story’ of international cultural heritage law. Having been ratified by 170 states in just 10 years after entering into force in 2006, it has proved to be an enormously popular instrument, in line with the aspirations of the drafters. Yet the Convention’s primary goal, to create broad international awareness of the meaning and the enhancement of the role of intangible cultural heritage has been accompanied by a wide criticism. The Convention’s most visible mechanism, drawing attention from the majority of states parties is the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. To date it has reached 336 inscriptions, in contrast to the Urgent Safeguarding List (43 elements) and the Register of the Best Practices (12 inscriptions). The inscription on the Representative List of a country’s major or well-known cultural manifestations is in many cases the core concern of state-parties, which often results in placing less spectacular and visible activities related to safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in the far background. Those choices seem to challenge the very notion of “representativeness” at the core of the listing mechanism in the Convention. It is however the safeguarding processes and practices that are the essence of keeping ICH alive. The ‘listing system’, modelled after 1972 World Heritage Convention, brings from its very beginning the question of the appropriateness of it’ and its application to ‘intangible’. Critical remarks concerning the impact of the ‘listing system’ on communities, groups and individuals, as well as on states’ policies are important means of inquiring into the future of the ICH Convention. What can be done about this? How can we influence or re-direct this very powerful but also potentially harmful trend? Some answers might be sought in the Convention itself. The new and revolutionary concepts of ‘safeguarding’, ‘representativeness’ and ‘intangibility’ require further examination in this regard. They  bring serious implications to the methods of keeping ICH alive, dynamic and inherited in intergenerational transmission, saving the values of the Convention if applied seriously. They also open a new path for developing in the coming years new areas and fields of concern related to broadly defined culture and cultural identity in the framework of international cultural heritage law. Also importantly, should these new notions of representativeness, intangibility  and safeguarding also spill over to other areas of practice in heritage law and management?


The 2003 ICH Convention intersects with important legal fields and concepts: human rights law, intellectual property law, sustainable development, cultural diversity, biological diversity. This Call for Papers asks also about the future of these intersections, their possible outcomes, drawbacks and impact on states’ policies as well as on the future of the Convention itself. Importantly, the system of the 2003 ICH Convention has recently evolved by amending its Operational Directives (Chapter 6 on sustainable development). In addition, the new soft law instrument, 12 Ethical Principles on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in December 2015 by the Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 ICH Convention. These developments call for a critical analysis of their possible practical and legal implications.


The aim of this Call for Papers is to bring a wide range of perspectives on the future functioning of the 2003 ICH Convention in order to offer a better critical understanding of:

  • legal and political challenges ahead the 2003 ICH Convention for next 10 years – towards a more holistic and sustainable model of thinking about cultural heritage?;
  • the aims and objectives of the Convention on the country level and its influence on state policy toward ICH – the role of UNESCO as an internationally recognized legal and political actor;
  • critical experiences in implementing the 2003 Convention, with a special focus on expertisation and politicisation processes – challenges to the role of experts, cultural brokers, communities, groups and individuals.


Accordingly, we encourage submissions that focus on the following topics (please note that this list of topics is not exhaustive): 

  • the nature and potential challenges for the deepening linkages between UNESCO 2003 and other UNESCO Conventions, with a special focus on 1972 World Heritage Convention and 2005 Cultural Diversity Convention;
  • barriers and needs in regulating the sphere of intellectual property rights concerning ICH; challenges toward the cooperation between WIPO and UNESCO;
  • the intersection of the 2003 ICH Convention and other international legal regimes, such as human rights, minority rights, trade or environmental treaties;
  • the problem of fragmentation of international cultural heritage law on the example of 2003 Convention and other heritage concepts existing in the Council of Europe and European Union legal and political  framework; challenges to the cooperation in the field of intangible cultural heritage between UNESCO with these two regional organisations;  
  • challenges to the process of including ICH terminology into national heritage legislation; impact of ICH concepts on the national legislation; implication of the new 12 Ethical Principles on the procedures of evaluating inscriptions of ICH elements on international as well as on national level;
  • new chapter 6 of the Operational Guidelines on sustainable development and its potential to meet the aspirations of Agenda 2030;
  • the political and legal influence of NGOs on the international ICH forum – is the Convention possible at all without NGOs?;
  • new methods of qualitative and quantitative research on international cultural heritage law – how to approach the 2003 ICH Convention as a subject of analysis?
  • the impact of the intensive recent UNESCO activities for the protection of cultural heritage in the armed conflicts for the topic of protecting depositaries of ICH;
  • the possibilities of using the 2003 ICH Convention as a means to rethink heritage protection and management in other domains of heritage, domestically, regionally or internationally;
  • gaps in the ICH Convention, and whether the Operational Directives are the way to address them.


The general aim of this Call is to collect a series of analytical studies answering to one important question: what kind of Convention do we want to have on the 20th anniversary of its’ entry into force in 2026?


Details concerning submissions: content, length, and due date

The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 15 March, 2017. Decision letters will be provided to author(s) by 30 April 2017. We expect to publish the issue in the second semester of 2017. More information is available at <>. 

Manuscripts should be submitted electronically by either using a storage device or as an e-mail attachment to in .doc format, and shall not exceed 40,000 characters including spaces and footnotes. Longer article may be considered  only by specific arrangement with the Editors.

The volume is peer-reviewed, with double-blind review provided. More information concerning guidelines for authors and editorial rules are available on the journal’s website.

Edition 2

2(2016)2 Santander Art & Culture Law Review

Edition 1

‘Terrorism, Non-International Armed Conflicts & the Protection of Cultural Heritage’