A widespread form of poetry in Lebanon, Zajal is chanted in daily practice, different life events and large celebrations. Weddings or funerals, parties and festivals: so many opportunities for Zajal poets (called quâl) to sing or recite texts expressing bravery, pride, love, flattery, pain, joy, conflict, violence or the call for dialogue. It is around this element of intangible cultural heritage that Lebanon has chosen to develop a pilot inventorying methodology, which may then be applied to the safeguarding of other expressions of its living heritage.
From 29 June to 3 July 2012, actors of Zajal will benefit from an extensive training on the concept of inventory and its principles under the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the role of different stakeholders in the process and tools and techniques of participatory documentation. The workshop is intended primarily for field researchers and communities whose cultural heritage will be inventoried. It will start with a “theoretical” component including the joint development of a methodological framework for the inventory, followed by a field practicum. A day of reflection on the lessons learned from the exercise is foreseen on 9 July 2012.
The workshop will be facilitated jointly by Ms Annie Tohmé Tabet and Mr.Mostafa Gad, who form part of the network of facilitators trained by UNESCO as part of its capacity-building strategy for the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
During the three months following the training, the field researchers will go to meet the Zajal communities across the Lebanese territory. This pre-inventorying work will focus on identifying and involving the bearers (individuals, groups or communities) of this element of intangible heritage, focusing particularly on how it is transmitted, and its social functions in Lebanese society today.
All data collected will be systematized and digitized, while a film and photographic exhibition will make this experience available to Lebanese and international audiences.
The workshop and inventorying activity are undertaken as part of the Phase III of the MEDLIHER project supported by the European Union and UNESCO, which aims to promote the implementation of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.