Previous research carried out from the field of heritage studies has shown the frictions involved in the processes of heritage formation linked to the category Intangible Heritage and the contradiction implicit in the fact that often the policies to safeguard IH are promoting its destruction. Given the conclusions of these lines of research, it is relevant to ask: under what circumstances – if any – could a different scenario occur?

In order to respond to this social and cultural challenge, this 3 years-project (2021-2024) concentrates on two general objectives: 1) to analyse the uses of Intangible Heritage by associations and other forms of collective organization; and 2) analyse the responsibilities, obligations, expectations and returns that these uses are producing.

The 2003 UNESCO Intangible Heritage Convention gives great importance to the bearers of heritage, but the expectations, adaptations, changes and responsibilities that a tradition, knowledge or practice entails to be considered IH (the care, work and tasks they must perform and the returns or effects they receive), have not been sufficiently valued or investigated.

This approach to IH is especially relevant in the present pandemic situation, marked by the effects of the COVID19 not only on the practices labelled as IH, but especially on the ways of life, mutual support networks and care infrastructures that make them possible. Beyond imagining the forms that certain practices, rituals and celebrations could adopt under the sign of the so-called postnormality (substitute mechanisms, simulations and virtualities), this project focuses on the dense network of relationships, ties and affections that, from a local perspective, give them meaning.

Through a multidisciplinary approach -typical of cultural studies and heritage studies-, this project combines ethnomusicology, anthropology, history and cultural management to analyse three dimensions in a comparative way in a selection of five case studies: 1) the territorial dimension; 2) the type of patrimonial regime; and 3) the time dimension. The cases have been selected to cover a variety of types of intangible heritage while offering combinations of all three dimensions. Thus, there are two cases of supra-state routes (EC1: the Andean Road System Qhapaq and EC2: Hospitality on the Camino de Santiago), two cases of neighborhoods in cities (EC3: the Mouraria neighborhood in Lisbon; and EC4: the Vite neighborhood in Santiago de Compostela); and a case of regional scale (EC5: Camariñas and the Costa da Morte). Some of them are of incipient heritage formation processes (The Andean Road System and the Archive of the memory of the Vite neighborhood). Others cases are part of an established heritagisation (the Camino de Santiago; the fado in the Mouraria and the bobbin lace in Camariñas).

HabitPAT: Caring for Heritage: Dwelling and Managing Intangible Heritage at the Local Level in Times of Crisis (PID2020-118696RB-I00) is a continuation of the R&D project: ParticiPAT: Heritage and social participation: methodological proposal and critical review (HAR2014-54869-R). Whereas the previous project focused on a variety of heritage categories, this proposal builds on the results obtained to analyse the models used to manage and dwell in the category of “Intangible Heritage” (IH). The project is part of a line of research about heritage, participation and conflict, conducted at the Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit, CSIC) and the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC).

HabitPAT is funded by the  Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MCIN) and the Spanish National Research Agency (AEI) [DOI:  10.13039/501100011033] under the grant PID2020-118696RB-I00.