About IMP

The Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Project (IMP) explored the variety of approaches, interactions and practices on intangible cultural heritage in museums in Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and France. How can museums assist in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage while working alongside its practitioners? How do you know if you’re taking the right approach? IMP aspires to inspire!

IMP is convinced museums can take up a role in the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage of members of intangible cultural heritage-communities, -groups or individual practitioners, who wish to transmit their cultural practices to future generations. The main question however, is ‘how’?

How can the intangible cultural heritage become an integral part of future museum practice and policies? How can the participation of the practitioners and their efforts for passing on their cultural heritage to future generation, receive a more focal place in museums? What skills and competences should museum professionals need to develop if they wish to support them? What policy and practice engagements are key?


IMP wants to build the capacities of museums, enabling them to consiously provide answers for their own organization. IMP will therefor:

  • organized five International conferences and Expert meetings on topics of shared areas of interest for contemporary ICH- and museum-practice
  • initiated five co-creations between museums and practitioners of intangible cultural heritage
  • gave the floor to museums from Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and France to share inspiring examples from today’s museum practice on intangible heritage – live during the conferences and online
  • created a methodological toolkit with and for museum professionals


IMP takes as its starting point the participatory and future-oriented Unesco 2003 Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. Intangible heritage includes the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge or skills which people pass on from one generation to another. Intangible heritage is found in (i.a.)

  • oral traditions
  • performing arts
  • social practices, rituals, festive events
  • knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
  • or the knowledge and skills to produce (traditional) crafts

These living practices are everywhere in today’s society and people see them as a part of their cultural heritage. They are a source of cultural diversity and give people a sense of identity and continuity.


The Intangible Cultural Heritage and Museums Project is an initiative of Werkplaats immaterieel erfgoed (BE), Dutch Centre for Intangible Heritage (NL), SIMDEA (IT), Verband der Museen der Schweiz (CH) and CFPCI (FR)

IMP is co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union and addresses the program priorities capacity building and transnational mobility. Made possible with the support of the Flemish government and the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. 

International conferences and Expert meetings

  • DIVERSITY | Rotterdam Museum - Rotterdam, the Netherlands | November 7 and 8, 2017
  • PARTICIPATION | Museo internazionale delle marionette Antonio Pasqualino - Palermo, Italy | February 27 and 28, 2018
  • URBANISED SOCIETY | Swiss Alpine Museum - Berne, Switzerland | September 25 and 26, 2018
  • INNOVATION | Cité internationale de la tapisserie - Aubusson, France | February 5 and 6, 2019
  • CULTURAL POLICIES | Hof van Busleyden - Mechelen, Belgium | May 7 and 8, 2019

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