Held a WHIPIC Roundtable - The Importance of ‘storytelling’ in heritage festivals

29 May 2024

On May 20, WHIPIC hosted a roundtable that will be featured in the 'HI-People' section of the third issue of periodical magazine, Interpreting World Heritage. The roundtable, on the theme of "Storytelling in Heritage Festivals," brought together experts on heritage festivals, including Noura Al-Sayeh (Head of Architectural Affairs at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities), Colleen Swain (Director, World Heritage Office), and Jinyee Heo (Manager, Jeju World Natural Heritage Center).

<Roundtable scene>

Participants have organised and run festivals to communicate the value of their World Heritage sites to the public, including Bahrain's “Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy,” the United States' “San Antonio Missions,” and South Korea's “Jeju Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, South Korea.”

During the roundtable, the experts discussed the following key questions;

* What story of World Heritage does your festival convey?

* Festivals are highly complex events. Therefore, maintaining a consistent narrative across all elements of the festival can be challenging. Could you share any difficulties you've encountered or efforts you've made to maintain a coherent context in the festival you organize?

* What role does the audience play in the story conveyed by your festival?

<Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy, Bahrain>

<San Antonio Missions, USA>

<Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, South Korea>

Despite the different geographies and cultures and the different World Heritage values of the festivals, the experts' conversations revealed their experiences and concerns were similar. They all agreed that storytelling is important factor in attracting visitors and communicating messages effectively at World Heritage festivals. This roundtable was an excellent opportunity to deepen our awareness of the importance of storytelling.

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