The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted in 2003 as an instrument particularly for the identity building of people. Unlike the World Heritage Convention, it does not depend on tangible cultural property, rather on the safeguarding of the diversity of human expressions, for which it demands participatory approaches for its implementation.
All forms of cultural expression are worthy of being protected as intangible heritage as long as they do not contradict human rights.
The IHS supports the process of recognizing and nominating the diversity of expressions of intangible heritage through research and teaching. For this, the basic categories of the Convention are identified and discussed, their interpretations analysed and reflected upon and implementation strategies developed.
In this area of focus, the IHS aims to advise individuals, groups and institutions on taking account of their intangible heritage, to assist them in submitting applications and to thereby socially anchor the representative and innovative expressions of cultural diversity further. The added value for Heritage Studies is to theoretically and practically underpin the importance of intangible heritage for sustainable human development.