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Title: Finding an ecomuseum ideal for Hainan Province : encouraging community participation in intangible cultural and natural heritage protection in a rural setting in China
Authors: Massing, Katharina
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Initiated in France by Hugues de Varine and George Henri Rivière in the late 1960s, the ecomuseum ideal represents a locally-based, holistic approach to heritage protection and sustainable development. China established its first ecomuseums in 1998 in Guizhou Province, as a tool to balance rural development and heritage protection in the economically-weaker ethnic-minority areas. Since then several variations of an ecomuseum-like ideal have been employed in different provinces. This research project analyses one of the newer approaches to ecomuseology in China, examining the current establishment of ecomuseums in Hainan Province, China. The focus of the ecomuseum ideal in Hainan, the strong connection between ICH and its ecological environments, is new in the Chinese ecomuseum approach. This research analysed the opportunities and challenges of this new ecomuseological approach in China with regards to the safeguarding of ICH within its natural environments; sustainable tourism and ecotourism development; and, community participation. Two of the six proposed future ecomuseums were chosen as case studies; namely Baili Baicun in Ding’an County and Binglanggu in Boating Li and Miao Autonomous County. The data collection process included a combination of literature review, the analysis of laws and guidelines, observation and qualitative interviews with the three main stakeholders of the ecomuseum establishment in Hainan Province: government officials; experts; and, the local population composed of members of the local Hainanese community and Li ethnic-minority members associated with the two case studies. This research makes a contribution to the field in several respects. It examines the ecomuseum in terms of safeguarding ICH within its natural environments in China. While there is already some literature that investigates ecomuseums and ICH protection in the country, their role in protecting ecological environments in China is largely ignored. This research concludes that a stronger interpretation and focus on natural environments is essential for ecomuseum-like approaches in China. In addition, this research argues that the current ecomuseum principles concentrate on a Western understanding of the ecomuseum ideal and are not applicable to the top-down developmental context of China. Therefore, the research suggests new ecomuseum principles for Hainan, placing a stronger emphasis on education and benefit-sharing.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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