Southeast Asia is one of the most rapidly growing regions both in terms of economy and technology in the world. The coastal states have the population of around six hundred million and are very rich with natural and cultural resources. One clear feature of the Southeast Asia is its diversified cultural heritage, which can date back to the 2nd century BC. Moreover, their heritage is not only found in museums, temples and archaeological sites, but also in their present daily culture, where traditional forms of cultural heritage is passed on from their ancestors for many generations. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have now listed many of the living traditional art forms in these countries as intangible cultural heritages (ICH). Examples include traditional folk puppetry, dances, and local operas. Many of these are in need of urgent safeguarding as some of them are at the verge of extinction. For instance, the Malaysian traditional dance “Mak yong” and the Thailand folk puppetry “Hun Krabok” are disappearing rapidly as a result of modernization.
In response to this urgent need, the European partners have teamed up with the local researchers in the Southeast Asian countries to carry out the EU H2020 project – AniAge: “High Dimensional Heterogeneous Data based Animation Techniques for Southeast Asian Intangible Cultural Heritage Digital Content”. The project is primarily focusing on the performing arts related ICHs, particularly the traditional dances and folk puppetry, because of the partners’ professional strengths and expertise in computer animation and visualisation. The project will produce a roadmap for a wider society to understand and use the leading-edge technologies of ICH digital preservation and computer animation. The project team will establish new links and strengthen existing research collaborations among its partners and will realise benefits of the shareholders in education and enterprise practices through knowledge exchange and network activities, providing mobility of staff and students.