What is a School of Living Traditions?

A School of Living Traditions (SLT) is one where a living master/culture bearer or culture specialist teaches skills and techniques of doing a traditional art or craft. The mode of teaching is usually non-formal, oral and with practical demonstrations. The site maybe the house of the living master, a community social hall, or a center constructed for the purpose.



Basiao, Basey SLT on Tikog Weavig (PMED)


Who teaches at SLTs?

It is the culture bearer or master or specialist. This term refers to the individual who is recognized to possess the skills and techniques in doing a particular traditional art or craft. He shall be responsible in teaching his craft to a group of learners and shall ensure that his/her students learn the craft.


blaan slt

Blaan SLT on Blaan Traditional Attire (PMED)


Who are the students at SLTs?

It is limited to the young people from the same ethno-linguistic community.The establishment of Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs) is in response to UNESCO’s call for the preservation of cultural heritage by preserving it in a living form, ensuring its transmission to the next generations (the other approach being the recording of it in a tangible form and conserving it in archives). While there are various facets of cultural heritage that can be transmitted to the next generations, this program would like to specifically focus on the transmission of indigenous skills and techniques to the young. It aims to encourage culture specialists/masters to continue with their own work, develop and expand the frontiers of that work, and train younger people to take their place in the future.

The program for the establishment of SLTs is also anchored on the mandate of NCCA to: 

(1) conserve and promote the nation’s historical and cultural heritage by encouraging and supporting the study, recognition and preservation of endangered human cultural resources such as weavers, chanters, dancers and other craftsmen, as well as the conservation and development of such artistic, linguistic and occupational skills that are threatened with extinction; and 

(2) preserve and integrate traditional culture and its various creative expressions as a dynamic part of the national cultural mainstream by helping set up or encourage, monitor and subsidize companion systems at the regional, provincial and local levels, intended to develop traditional cultures such as arts/crafts centers, preferably in community settings apart from the usual museum settings, where exponents of living arts and crafts can practice and teach their art and enrich contemporary designs.Specifically, the program aims to identify aspects/components of traditional culture and art considered to be important to a cultural community that should be imparted to the young so that these aspects can be perpetuated.

Schools of Living Tradition Guidelines ׀ List of Schools of Living Traditions

Northern Cultural Communities

Central Cultural Communities

Southern Cultural Communities

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