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Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO Conventions’

Marking four decades of World Heritage – The view from Australia

The celebration of the milestone of the fortieth year since the adoption by UNESCO of the World Heritage Convention provided a global stimulus for reflection that included activities in Australia. Four decades of experience of implementing the idealistic and international notions that underpin the Convention had demonstrated the distinctiveness of the potential contributions from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. With that in mind, the starting premise of this volume of Historic Environment has been to provide a snapshot of the experiences of World Heritage in Australia – essentially the view from ‘here’, and a specifically oriented view based on the experiences and priorities of cultural heritage practice.
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Local Identity on the Global Stage: The challenges of representing diversity

Emphasizing intangible and tangible expressions of heritage in a publication on World Heritage and Cultural Diversity presents the opportunity to discuss a variety of current and potential future challenges. These can be either epistemological concepts that promise potential for scientific investigation and reconstruction, professional challenges in the application of models and guidelines, or educational needs for the heritage community, and its academic development in the early twenty-first century. The difficult and often contested role of intangible heritage expressions in the context of World Heritage Sites is one of the aspects triggering ongoing discussion. Equally, the section heading invites an exploration of the interrelation of the two relevant UNESCO instruments, the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention)(UNESCO, 1972) and the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Intangible Heritage Convention)(UNESCO, 2003). Such explorations could be aimed at evaluating their early attempts at cooperation and their potentials for mutual enforcement. However, these aspects seem to have been discussed previously at a number of international university seminars, such as the University of Montreal round table–“Tangible and intangible heritage: two UNESCO Conventions”(Cameron and Boucher, 2007), or the Cambridge Heritage Seminar–“Tangible-intangible cultural heritage: a sustainable dichotomy?”(Baillie and Chippindale, 2007). Yet another focus could be on cultural diversity and the processes which link the representation of intangible and tangible heritage expressions to the promotion of cultural diversity under the auspices of UNESCO. It is this aspect which this …
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Introduction. Du matériel à l’immatériel. Nouveaux défis, nouveaux enjeux

Le patrimoine culturel immatériel représente aujourd’hui un enjeu majeur dans les manières de penser et de pratiquer le patrimoine en Amérique du Nord francophone et ailleurs dans le monde. Il tend à renouveler le mouvement du patrimoine ethnologique et à s’imposer comme référence incontournable aux praticiens et penseurs de tous les patrimoines. Il trouble les classifications établies et les cadres de pensée de la culture administrée. Il provoque des réaménagements dans les structures gouvernementales de gestion et de direction, et dans les programmes de formation universitaire qui doivent désormais en tenir compte. Il bouscule les règles canoniques de la conservation et participe largement à la définition des nouvelles politiques patrimoniales. Il renouvelle les débats sur le droit d’auteur, les droits humains, les pratiques muséologiques et le patrimoine matériel. Il invite à une réflexion de fond sur le sens du patrimoine lui-même.
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Intangible Heritage

This volume examines the implications and consequences of the idea of ‘intangible heritage’ to current international academic and policy debates about the meaning and nature of cultural heritage and the management processes developed to protect it. It provides an accessible account of the different ways in which intangible cultural heritage has been defined and managed in both national and international contexts, and aims to facilitate international debate about the meaning, nature and value of not only intangible cultural heritage, but heritage more generally.

Intangible Heritage fills a significant gap in the heritage literature available and represents a significant cross section of ideas and practices associated with intangible cultural heritage. The authors brought together for this volume represent some of the key academics and practitioners working in the area, and discuss research and practices from a range of countries, including: Zimbabwe, Morocco, South Africa, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, USA, Brazil and Indonesia, and bring together a range of areas of expertise which include anthropology, law, heritage studies, archaeology, museum studies, folklore, architecture, Indigenous studies and history.
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Drawing a line around a shadow? Including associative, intangible cultural heritage values on the World Heritage List

As we move through the first decade of the 21st century, it is noticeable that intangible cultural heritage values are very much in vogue in today’s discourse on cultural heritage, its preservation and management. In this thesis, I illustrate that intangible cultural heritage values are not a new phenomenon to the heritage arena, and I demonstrate how they have been recognised through UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention – The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage- since its inception in 1972. My thesis explores key issues in relation to associative, intangible cultural heritage values and their inclusion on the World Heritage List. Intangible heritage value is, by definition, non-material and mutable. In order to illustrate the changing nature of perceptions of what intangible heritage value is, how it has been utilised, and how it performs through location in place, this thesis explores the history of policy and process in relation to the recognition and protection of associative, intangible cultural heritage values through the World Heritage Convention, its List and its criteria. The Convention and its instruments have been chosen for analysis because they are the highest form of international recognition for places that are deemed to hold exceptional or outstanding universal values. All places are imbued with associations, memories and meanings, both by individuals and collectively by society. It is these that form the intangible connection of people to place. The connection may be one of a memory of an event, an inspiration or a spiritual belief. Although many places have been included on the World Heritage List for their intangible cultural heritage values, very little study of the history of the mechanisms that allow such inclusion has been undertaken. As part of the development of this history, my thesis focuses on those places that have been included on the List exclusively for their associative, intangible cultural heritage values. It focuses on those places that mark key policy changes or debates in the history of the application IX of the Convention to those values. These places include the Island of Goree, Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Robben Island. They are what Nora (Nora 1989) calls lieux de memoire, places of memory, or what could be called lieux d ‘expiation, places of atonement. In examining how the World Heritage Convention has accommodated intangible heritage values on the List, my thesis examines the political influences that were in play when these key places were considered for inscription on it. It also looks at how these influences shaped the ideas and policies relating to the inclusion of intangible heritage values on the List then, and in the future. My thesis argues that intangible cultural heritage value is mutable and subject to social preference and construction. Intangible heritage values alter over time, and each generation or society will construct the place, and its values, in a way that serves its current ends. In utilising these intangible values, I argue that State Parties to the Convention have employed the World Heritage List, and nominations to it, as part of a wider process of nation building, constructing national identities and collective memories. My thesis questions whether, in spite of a compulsion to locate such values in place, as a ‘materialized discourse’ (Schein I 997), intangible values can be circumscribed and conserved purely by protecting their locus.It also questions whether such values can be effectively included on a heritage register as static and immutable. My thesis draws on key texts of memory and heritage, which are examined through application to World Heritage places.
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Authenticity, Value and Community Involvement in Heritage Management under the World Heritage and Intangible Heritage Conventions

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage and Intangible Heritage Conventions illustrate a broader trend towards greater appreciation of the role of communities concerned in identifying, managing and protecting their heritage today. This paper will discuss requirements for greater community involvement in heritage identification and management under the two Conventions, with special attention to the determination of heritage value and the question of authenticity. The Nara Document on Authenticity of 1994, incorporated into the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention in 2005 (: Annex 4), encouraged a broader definition of authenticity that is sensitive to cultural context. Nevertheless, the determination of heritage value and authenticity remains in the hands of experts rather than communities associated with World Heritage properties. Although there is no reference to authenticity in the Intangible Heritage Convention, States Parties are specifically requested to ensure that it is communities, groups or individuals concerned who identify the value of their own intangible heritage. Yet because of a lack of oversight mechanisms under the Convention, it is difficult to ensure that this is done, especially since there is no permanent mechanism for community representation to the Organs of either Convention.
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A community convention? An analysis of free, prior and informed consent given under the 2003 Convention

When the 2003 Convention was drafted a decade ago, one of its aims was to overcome the perceived exclusions and shortcomings of the earlier UNESCO heritage conventions, perceived as not community-driven and often Eurocentric in approach. The intention was to adopt a legally binding instrument, which allowed for stronger representation of heritage expressions of the South, which placed communities and grass-roots initiatives at the centre of its activities, and which would strengthen the recognition of, and support for, heritage practitioners. On the occasion of the Convention’s tenth anniversary, this paper offers a review of the Convention’s success rate in community involvement by focusing on two aspects: the degree to which communities were the driving forces or strongly involved partners in the preparation of candidature files for the Convention’s Intangible Heritage Lists and the way in which their free, prior and informed consent was documented. Based on these findings the paper reflects on potential further improvements towards the Convention’s aims within the forthcoming nomination cycles.
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