The Biennale of Western Balkans (BoWB) bridges contemporary art with intangible cultural heritage through technology and open knowledge, with the vision to inspire people experiencing tradition anew.
Through its biannual event and year-round project, BoWB has the mission to:
- Support and present interdisciplinary art and research projects that engage cultural heritage, with focus on intangible and natural heritage, of the Greek and Western Balkan communities, and of the European and international field as well.
- Develop inclusive participation and well-being in a wide range of social groups and communities, with opportunities for learning new skills and technologies, as well as engaging with traditional, experiential and creative practices and knowledge.
- Foster a network of transnational and intersectional mobility of creators, agents, researchers, students, collectives and initiatives, to and from northwestern Greece and the Western Balkans.
The Biennale of Western Balkans is an initiative of the History of Art Laboratory, School of Fine Arts, University of Ioannina, Greece. With the tagline “tradition anew”, BoWB sets out to explore, discuss and envision intangible cultural heritage in interdisciplinary, collective and affective ways, valuing in particular contributions that examine lesser known bodies of knowledge, anonymous and non-textual works, feminist practices, indigenous and folk culture, undiscovered collections and projects that create interconnections of smaller scenes with wider ones. BoWB aims to bring forth projects that further explore such concepts as open knowledge, digital cultural heritage, community practices, cultural ecology and well-being.
Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) stands for the collective cultural expressions of the everyday culture, from small to expanded communities. It raises awareness, safeguards and promotes collective practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques, ceremonies and performing arts, as well as tools, handicrafts and cultural sites associated with and recognized by communities. Artefacts of intangible cultural heritage encompass community values through collective creation. They promote cooperative models of creation along the history of cultures (tradition, anonymous creation, copying practices), embody polyvocal forms of thinking and imagining which evolve over time and appear afresh in the present, becoming an inspiring source for the future.