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Towards safeguarding Creole intangible cultural heritage : keynote at the Creole Fest: Building Bridges Across Borders Symposium 10 November 2018In 2003 at the UNESCO general conference voted in favour of the Convention on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. With the onslaught of globalization, ubiquitous and often commercialized branded identities can supplant the local. The UNESCO convention highlights the fragility of indigenous living cultural traditions and their importance for preserving diversity under such pressures. Intangible cultural heritage is a repository of a community’s creativity. It is a source of inspiration for new cultural expressions. This talk explores the intellectual work which the Convention brings to us as cultural historians, curators and researchers. It argues that we must address our unconscious bias in the selection of what we preserve, and must record all contextualising variables to assess their relevance. It reviews current research and its relevance to the AHRC networking project of safeguarding Creole ICH, and proposes a programme of research and publications, in addition to the continuation of the performance of the tradition that underpins ICH inscriptions as an agenda of any research network. Finally it highlights examples of digital classification, public participation, and creative re-presentation which document the ICH tradition and also seek to understand the factors that have sustained it and will influence its future as a living tradition.