Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) practices, such as craft, dance, musical performance, storytelling, and painting, give communities a sense of identity and belonging. The sale of products created by ICH practice can also create jobs and income. However, many communities in developing countries like India experience significant difficulty preventing the appropriation of their heritage by others, for example through mechanisation of production methods. Conventional intellectual property (IP) rights, such as copyright, patents and design protection, offer limited protection to the authors of original creations or new inventions that cannot easily be used to protect cultural expressions whose authors are unknown, and which have been passed down through the generations, changing and adapting to new contexts. This project engages with three Indian ICH practices - Baul and Fakiri music, Chau dance and Patachitra tradition to investigate how developing 'heritage-sensitive' IP protection strategies can give communities greater control over the commercialisation of their heritage while contributing to its safeguarding and on-going viability.
The project aims thereby to contribute to the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030 by helping to build sustainable communities, protect and safeguard cultural heritage, enhance wellbeing, address income inequalities, promote economic empowerment (of women), and reduce poverty.