Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 9.B.1

The Committee,

  1. Recalling Chapter I of the Operational Directives,
  2. Having examined Document ITH/14/9.COM 9.b as well as proposal 01017 for possible selection for the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices,
  3. Takes note that Belgium has proposed ‘Safeguarding the carillon culture: preservation, transmission, exchange and awareness-raising’ for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:

The art of making music with bells (carillon) is performed by carilloners, traditionally during market and festive days. The programme to safeguard carillon culture exists in seventy-six cities and villages of Belgium and in thirty countries worldwide. The primary objectives are to preserve the components of historic carillon culture (practices, repertoire, instruments, music, oral and written history), and to ensure the continuity and sustainable development of carillon music as a living heritage that fosters cultural identity and social cohesion. Safeguarding efforts have also focused on preserving and restoring historic carillons with many formerly silent carillons now once more active. Transmission is secured by a number of educational initiatives, of which the Mechelen carillon school is the most important. Efforts have also been undertaken to revitalize the carillon, including promotion of new arrangements, compositions and styles of music. The programme combines respect for tradition with a willingness to innovate, constantly seeking new ways to safeguard carillon culture in contemporary society. It also promotes proven best practices, as well as a deep respect for local players in the field, building on cooperation among actors.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a best safeguarding practice in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:
    1. The programme responds to criterion P.1 as it aims to preserve carillon music and to ensure its continuity through different activities including training young musicians, expanding the repertoire, upgrading instruments to increase their musical potential, creating new performing venues and promoting the practice. The principles and objectives of the Convention appear to be reflected in this initiative (criterion P.3) that promotes human creativity through the preservation and expansion of the repertoire and encourages intercultural dialogue and social cohesion by promoting carillon music and exchanges among players.
    2. The programme is implemented with the participation of performers and organizations, in particular two core associations, namely the Flemish Carillon Association and the Walloon Campanological Association. A broad range of stakeholders provided their free, prior and informed consent to its implementation (criterion P.5) as well as to the submission of the present proposal. The implementing bodies and communities, as well as the State Party itself, demonstrated their willingness to disseminate carillon music worldwide through various safeguarding activities and a structure set up for this purpose. Nevertheless, their commitments to take part in the mechanism of Best Safeguarding Practices through dissemination of ideas, objectives and methodologies of the programme are less fully demonstrated in the proposal (criterion P.7).
    3. The success of the programme is demonstrated through quantitative and qualitative data on the development of carillon culture in Belgium and worldwide, with diversified performance, a large number of interested parties and an increase in activities and learning opportunities (criterion P.4). The programme is susceptible to an assessment of its results through mechanisms such as the submission of reports by local and national organizations on their activities to the World Carillon Federation (criterion P.8).
    4. With the aim of promoting carillon culture, the programme coordinated activities among different countries through the framework of the World Carillon Federation and in collaboration with international institutions (criterion P.2). Its activities of transmission, documentation and promotion, balancing respect for tradition and a willingness to innovate, could serve as an international safeguarding model (criterion P.6). The means favoured by the programme such as the development of a public soundscape and raising awareness through social media argue for its applicability to the particular needs of developing countries (criterion P.9).
  2. SelectsSafeguarding the carillon culture: preservation, transmission, exchange and awareness-raising’ as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention;
  3. Welcomes the efforts of the State Party to safeguard the carillon culture;
  4. Invites the State Party to share the experiences and know-how concerning the programme’s safeguarding measures and methodologies, taking into account the specificity of the Register of Best Safeguarding Practices, rather than over-emphasizing the dissemination of carillon culture in itself;
  5. Encourages the State Party to focus particular attention on ensuring that the experience gained in the programme can be adapted to the safeguarding of other intangible cultural heritage elements in other contexts.