Geomedia Speaker Series - Sheenagh Pietrobruno
YOUTUBE AND UNESCO’S SAFEGUARDING OF INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE: INTERSECTIONS BETWEEN DIGITAL HERITAGE AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION
YouTube distributes videos of intangible cultural heritage uploaded by UNESCO, other institutions, communities and individual users. Heritage videos are transmitted on a platform whose ultimate goal is the monetizing of the communication of YouTube users through algorithms and business models. YouTube’s dissemination of heritage videos extends their impact beyond the commercial goals of the platform: YouTube diffuses videos whose contents can transmit the ways in which communities express their heritage within the political context of UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Convention). This key argument is founded on the following claims: The Convention stipulates that a nation state is supposed to safeguard the way in which all communities express a particular intangible cultural heritage practice that thrives within its national territory. Despite this stipulation, the governments of nation states often only safeguard those community renditions that confirm to their national political goals. Nonetheless, community expressions that are side-stepped by national safeguarding strategies under the Convention can find a venue for their representation as YouTube videos. This dissemination on YouTube enables communities to bypass the constraints of national heritage policies that often render the intangible heritage practices of communities invisible within the national heritage arena that is sanctioned by the UNESCO Convention.
The Mevlevi Sema ceremony or whirling dervish ceremony of Turkey serves as a case study to examine the role that YouTube can play in the transmission of the intangible cultural heritage of communities. The Mevlevi Sema ceremony was officially recognized as intangible cultural heritage through UNESCO in 2005. This interdisciplinary research combines international communication, critical heritage studies, digital media studies and digital ethnographic methods that incorporates an actual ethnographic study of a Mevlevi community in Istanbul.
Open presentation: March 21 13.00-15.00
Venue: MINERVA, Karlstad University
Closed session: March 22 09.00-12.00
Venue: 12A424, Karlstad University
Sheenagh Pietrobruno (PhD, McGill University) is an Associate Professor of Social Communication at Saint Paul University, which is federated with the University of Ottawa and a Visiting Professor (2018) at the Department for the Studies of Social Change and Culture (ISAK) at Linköping University in Norrköping. She has been awarded previous research fellowships at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths/University of London, the Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden (ACSIS), Linköping University and at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC). Pietrobruno was also awarded the Muriel Gold Visiting Professor Position at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (IGSF) at McGill University and the Scientist-in-Residence position at the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Salzburg. Her work is published in leading journals including Convergence: The Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, New Media and Society; International Journal of Heritage Studies; Performing Islam; Intermédialités; International Journal of Cultural Studies; and Early Popular Visual Culture. She is the author of Salsa and Its Transnational Moves (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006). Her next book is Digital Legacies: The Global Archiving of Intangible Heritage.