CE27 - Culture, créations, patrimoine

Cultural policies, local heritage and collaborative approaches in Eastern Insulindia – POPEI-coll

Cultural Policies, Local Heritage and Collaborative Approaches in Eastern Insulindia

POPEI-coll aims at strengthening the dialogue between cultural policies, science and local heritage. The collaborative research in East Indonesia and East Timor seeks to analyse cultural policy arenas and to compare local and scientific representations of local heritage. They aim to identify various mechanisms for collaborative development, awareness raising on the issue of local heritage, and transfer of know-how.

For an identification and institutional recognition of the local heritage of Eastern Insulindia (Atauro, East Timor and Tanjung Bunga, Flores, Indonesia)

The project focuses on two societies in Eastern Insulinde (Atauro, East Timor; and Tanjung Bunga, Flores, Indonesia), where different cultural policies are expressed, but which in both cases fail to reflect the heritage visions of the populations. The main objective is to analyse, through an interdisciplinary approach, the local relevance of the notion of heritage, in order to explore, in a collaborative way with the local populations, original solutions for their promotion and transmission, in cooperation with the regional administrations. This objective will be implemented through 3 WPs:<br />WP1/ to conduct the analysis and categorization of the objects and practices of national and regional cultural policies (the cultural policy arenas); <br />WP2/ to organize the documentation at village level and in different fields (oral, singing, territoriality, but also biodiversity) of local categories of heritage, and to document their management and appropriation methods; <br />WP3/ to ensure the recognition and sustainability of these local heritages through workshops bringing together populations and officials in charge of the heritage field, restitution to village communities and local, national and international valorization operations (local promotion, exhibitions, conferences).<br />The project also includes a reflexive dimension on the notion of heritage from the perspective of communities and institutions, and training courses aimed at promoting the collaborative logic of the project among students and local partners (WP0).

POPEI-Coll is based on a comparative approach of the two territories of Atauro (East Timor) and Tanjung Bunga (Flores, Indonesia), of similar size, where the expertise of researchers and partners is combined in an interdisciplinary or even transdisciplinary perspective. It brings together various disciplines from the human and social sciences, ecology and law, working in a combined and complementary way in the identification of endogenous heritage and their modes of appropriation and management, and operating through workshops that allow the sharing of information and methodologies.
It mobilizes a GIS for data management (pooling of collected information) and for the co-development of local heritage maps, to be returned to the populations.
Going beyond the participatory approach, the research is collaborative (co-construction of research objects and approaches), and also considers legal and ethical aspects: consent of the populations, validation and sharing of results, reflection on the intellectual property of the results. Finally, it has a reflexive dimension:
- on the notion of heritage, its meaning and its translation at the local level;
- on cultural policy arenas, and in particular the position of collaborative research actors (researchers, institutions, populations);
- On the question of interdisciplinarity and the means of its implementation;
- On the transferability of results to local civil society.

After setting up the research authorizations and the progressive collection of the populations' agreements, the team was able to total 270 days in the field during 8 missions spread out before the COVID-19 episode.
Acquired data: A large corpus of heritage data (foundation stories, genealogies, rituals, elements of biodiversity, GPS surveys of a large number of localities, archaeological and historical sites, etc.) as well as a corpus of music (exceptionally original and rich on the island of Atauro) were collected. The missions made it possible to record several hundred interviews and 179 musical items (put online archives.crem-cnrs.fr/archives/collections/CNRSMH_I_2019_039/), several films are accessible on YouTube.
The GIS centralizes more than 1000 GPS locations and already allows the production of maps on demand on certain themes (local toponymy, archaeological sites and sites of tourist interest, heritage sites).
Restitution: Validations and restitution of data to local populations in Atauro took place from July to November 2019: stories in local language and cartography of territories, toponymy, posters on certain elements of the biodiversity used.
Training: The principle of summer schools was instituted with the partners, and led to the training in collaborative approaches to heritage of 11 students and local researchers, who are continuing their participation in the programme.
Valorisation: The POPEI-Coll project was presented by the team to the National Assembly (France) on 11 December 2019, at the invitation of the deputy Pascale Boyer (Amitié France Timor-Leste) and the association France-Timor-Leste.
A special «Atauro« session, organised by the team, was accepted at the colloquium of the Timor Leste Studies Association in September 2020 (resp.: K. Silva); it will be the occasion to present the first results of POPEI-Coll on 10 September 2020.

The rainy season and then the Covid at the beginning of 2020 suspended field activities. It is planned to postpone planned operations to 2021.
A lawyer has joined the team, working transversally with all the disciplines involved, and opening up prospects for institutional recognition of customary legal systems (such as UNESCO listing) managing heritage resources.
Indonesian students are to participate in the field operations planned in Flores, and a participatory workshop with the population, involving researchers from SEAC and Timorese students from UNTL, is to be held in April 2021 in Atauro.
The training in Paris of two SEAC researchers, scheduled for June 2020, had to be postponed to June 2021.
It is envisaged to involve more local schools in the process of constitution and restitution of the heritage, through drawings illustrating various themes of orality, which could give rise to an exhibition.
A new perspective has been opened by the Maison des Cultures du Monde, interested in inviting the singers and musicians of Atauro, in parallel with a conference on the project at the Musée du Quai Branly, and an event to be organized jointly at the Musée de l'Homme in 2022.

Guillaud D., 2019, Les narrations d’Atauro. N° spécial « Iles en projets ». Les carnets du paysage n° 35 : 180-193.
Guillaud D., Emperaire L., Burgos A., 2019. « De nous, pour nous » ; recherches participatives au Timor Est. Culture et Recherche, Recherches culturelles et sciences participatives, n° 140 : 73-74.
Tilley, A., Burgos, A., Duarte, A. et al. Contribution of women’s fisheries substantial, but overlooked, in Timor-Leste. Ambio (2020). doi.org/10.1007/s13280-020-01335-7

- Guillaud D., Rappoport D., Silva K., Galipaud J.-C., Emperaire L., Burgos A., Césard N., Crespi B., Habert E., 2019 : présentation par l’équipe à l’Assemblée Nationale, 11 décembre 2019.
- Tilley A., Burgos A., Duarte A., Reis Lopes J., Eriksson H. et Mills D., 2019: Gendered contributions to food and income from small-scale fisheries in Timor-Oriental. People and the Sea Conference. MARE. Du 24 au 28 juin 2019, University of Amsterdam, Netherland.
- Burgos A., 2019: She Sells Seashells by the Seashore: Women and Shells in the Asian-Pacific Region. The Explorers Club, 18 décembre 2019. New York.
- Burgos A., 2019. Shellfishing in Atauro Island: Practices, Knowledge and Challenges. Fundaçao Oriente, 22 novembre, Dili, Timor Est.
- Burgos A., 2019. Artisanal Molluscan Fisheries in Indonesia and Timor Oriental: Practices, Knowledge and Challenges. Institut Français d’Indonésie (IFI), 6 novembre 2019. Jakarta, Indonesia.
- Guillaud, D. 2019. Tradisi lisan di pulau Atauro (Timor Leste). Beberapa kunci untuk memahami pemukiman. International Seminar and Oral Tradition Festival XI, ATL, Makassar, 23-26 octobre 2019.

Ecole d’été
arc musical (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3GgpZebkZk
Descente de pirogue

POPEI-coll aims at renewing cultural policies based on heritage, all too often “top-down” and western-inspired and whose objectives are far removed from the conceptions and concerns of source populations, although their cultures are supposed to be promoted by governments. In order to propose a new dialogue between policies, science and local heritage, the project will seek to reveal the social stakes of heritage in non-Western societies and, drawing inspiration from local categories and their mode of appropriation and management, will propose new practices for the vernacular enrichment of cultural policies. The entire project will be based on collaborative principles stemming from ethical, legal and epistemological imperatives, and will imply a co-construction of the principles and methods of the project, as well as of its modes of restitution.
POPEI will be carried out in two countries with contrasting cultural policies. The comparative fields are represented by the Eastern tip of Flores Island in Indonesia and by the Island of Atauro in Timor-Leste, the small sizes of which offer well-defined study areas in a diversified cultural area recently the target of major tourism development plans.
The project, testing interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches, will be carried out by a team of researchers from IRD, MNHN, INALCO and CNRS who combine their fields of expertise for this comparative approach in association with Brazilian partners and backed by Timorese and Indonesian institutions.
After studying the functioning and principles of national cultural heritage policies, the project will consider how new cultural policies can be conceived, taking into account the so-called "emic" perspective on meaningful objects, places and knowledge to which local communities attribute a symbolic or identity value. These objectives form the basis of the 3 WPs: WP1, drawing on practices in Development Anthropology, documents the functioning of institutions that, in a broad sense, are in charge of heritage policies. WP2, based in large part on the concepts and methods of Ethnosciences, collects local elements of cultures that can be translated into "heritage" or "collective acting referent" and that can fuel heritage policies in innovative ways. At the intersection of WP 1 and 2, WP3 reflects on the conditions for a dialogue between local populations and institutions on the question of the enhancement of culture and heritage, and proposes solutions or avenues for this enhancement.
The results of the POPEI-coll program will combine events and forms of heritage enhancement that benefit local populations, and where these populations will be in contact with the institutions in charge of heritage policies. The project proposes the publication of booklets on local heritage which will form, in each field, the basis for an "encyclopedia of local knowledge". It will result in a collaborative enhancement of original heritage managed by a GIS and supported by modern digitization and sharing tools. Final restitution workshops will be organized on each site to initiate a dialogue between villagers, researchers, institutional leaders and NGOs. National study days in Indonesia, Timor-Leste and France will question the collaborative approach to heritage development. Finally, the ethical and deontological aspects of this research (compilation of the Terms of Prior Informed Consent, validation of the information collected by the communities) are a priority and a result of this project. POPEI-coll intends to produce a guide to new collaborative practices in cultural policies that will be co-constructed together with students and teachers in summer schools organized with local universities. As such, it will represent a model for other non-Western or Western contexts.

Project coordinator

Madame Dominique Guillaud (PATRIMOINES LOCAUX)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CASE Rappoport Dana

Help of the ANR 288,120 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2019 - 36 Months

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