Written by Nevena Djakovic
Written by Nevena Djakovic
Education about heritage is one of the most important tools for its preservation. When learning about different types of heritage, different ways of preservation, why something is called heritage, we learn about its value and importance. How does heritage site get on the World Heritage List, or on the List of World Heritage in Danger? How are declarations regarding heritage adopted and who decides on these questions? One of the best ways to learn about World Heritage Committee, which is the answer to previous questions, is simulation of its work – Model World Heritage Committee (Model WHC).
My first experience with the simulation of this particular Committee was during the Young Experts Forum 2015 in Germany. I was a part of few Model UN in the past and I am a member of the organizing team of Belgrade International Model United Nations (BIMUN) which helped me a lot for Model WHC, but there was still a lot to learn. Every Committee is different regarding topics, rules of procedure etc.
The topic of our Model WHC was preservation of the world heritage site in Fontania (country and the case were made up for the simulation). Main debate was whether to put the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger or not. This decision is very important for each site because it highly impacts future actions. Fonta Wildlife Reserve, natural world heritage site in question, was endangered by certain projects that would increase development of undeveloped country Fontania but would, at the same time, cause this site to lose its characteristics which constitute an outstanding universal value.
Delegations of 21 state parties together with advisory body IUCN and observer country Fontania participated in a daylong session with fruitful discussions. Thanks to many compromises made despite disagreements and sometimes very opposing views, Declaration was drafted and later agreed upon. Fonta Wildlife Reserve was not to be put on The List of World Heritage in danger yet but serious steps were to be taken for its preservation.
Regardless of the particular result of the debate the biggest value of this simulation was that all the participants, including myself, learned a lot about how World Heritage Committee functions and how it makes decisions. We followed the Rules of Procedure, diplomatic courtesy and acted in the spirit of Convention form 1972. Declaration we adopted that day helped us to prepare for writing our Declaration for the 39th Session of the Committee which followed few days after. We could also understand the Session itself better when we were invited to observe as Young Experts or members of our country’s Delegations.
Model World Heritage Committee is one of the most interesting and productive ways of learning about World Heritage and should therefore be encouraged and practiced among youth. Belgrade International Model United Nations (BIMUN) which will take place in Serbia in March 2016 will offer students around the world opportunity to participate in the Model World Heritage Committee, as one of the 6 possible Committees that would be simulated. Applications are open from October 1st 2015 and for more information please check the following website: http://www.bimun-unaserbia.org/. It will be a great chance for everyone interested in heritage to learn more and have an amazing experience.
written by Ritika Khanna
The National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland hosted the 16th international Conference of the National Trusts, ‘Common Threads; Different Patterns’ from 7-11 September 2015 in the magnificent city of Cambridge, UK. The conference brought together heritage and conservation organizations and professionals working in the field from many different countries. It explored the question ‘What is the role and purpose of the National Trust movement in the 21st Century?’ through plenary sessions, practical workshops, activities and discussion groups.
The National Trust Movement is a global movement that unites people with a concern for heritage and cares about special places such as monuments, historic buildings, landscapes, farmlands and open spaces. It also recognizes the importance of intangible heritage which includes our customs, languages, folklore and ways of living. Abiding by this movement, there are many different National Trusts across the world and each one has its own ‘model’, own set of rules and own focus. However, all these National Trusts have one thing in common – the concern for protecting our heritage, both tangible and intangible.
The history of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland goes back to 1895 when it was established with a focus on protecting open spaces and encouraging the urban poor to enjoy it. With time, the Trust delved into issues of protecting properties, reaching out to communities and volunteers, encouraging people to get actively involved in the protection of heritage and inspiring people to know the relevance of their heritage.
At the recently held conference, members of the National Trusts and heritage professionals from across the world came together to share best practices, discover common problems and show solidarity with the fellow members of the Movement. The plenary sessions were led by representatives of different National Trusts, heritage experts and eminent professionals working in the field of heritage and conservation. The sessions revolved around themes like Global Heritage Movement without Borders, Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities, Benefits of international Co-operation and Boosting the Effectiveness and Growth of the National Trusts.
During the three activity days of the conference, the delegates were taken to five National Trust’s properties around Cambridge – Wimpole Estate, Wicken Fen, Anglesey Abbey, Ickworth Estate and the Theatre Royal in Bury St. Edmunds. The activity days mainly consisted of discussion sessions which were conversation led and informal, with plenty of time for the delegates to know one another. The first activity day was based on ‘Cultural Identities’ where topics like using the spirit of the place, using the past to engage with contemporary issues, meeting the needs and expectations of today’s visitors and intangible heritage in a homogenising world were discussed. The second activity day revolved around ‘Growing the Movement’ and had discussion themes such as the expectations of the youth, techniques for fundraising, working with volunteers and legal and governance frameworks. The last activity day was based on ‘Land, Landscape and Nature’ and threw light on subjects like adapting land management to a changing world, relevance of agriculture and farming, landscape and urban scale conservation and working with water catchment, rivers and the coast. Each session of the activity days was facilitated by members of the National Trust and encouraged the delegates to share their perspectives with each other.
On the last day, the conference closed with a final plenary where reflections from the conference were discussed. The baton was then passed to Indonesia where the 17th International Conference of the National Trust will take place in 2017.
Apart from engaging the delegates in heritage related discussions and activities; the conference also provided ample time for everyone to enjoy the mesmerising buildings and expansive grounds of Cambridge. The five days of the conference were a perfect blend of inspiration, networking and entertainment. As a young professional, it was an honour to be a part of this esteemed conference which underlined the importance of conserving our heritage so that it is understood and enjoyed by present and future generations.
Writen by Rui Maio and Aleksandra Kozieł
The European Heritage days is an annual joint initiative from the Council of Europe and European Commission, involving about 40 countries, aiming to raise awareness and interest of citizens for the affairs related to the preservation and safeguarding of world heritage for future generations, which will take place between the 25 and 27 of September. These countries are invited to promote a program of activities at a national level, offering opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, which are not normally accessible to the public, in function of the theme proposed for each year. This year theme regards the “industrial and technical heritage: putting the spots on the roots of today’s technology and industry”. According to ICOMOS and TICCIH (The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage), the definition of industrial heritage consists of sites, structures, complexes, areas and landscapes as well as the related machinery, objects or documents that provide evidence of past or ongoing industrial processes of production, the extraction of raw materials, their transformation into goods, and the related energy and transport infrastructures. Industrial heritage reflects the profound connection between the cultural and natural environment, as industrial processes – whether ancient or modern – depend on natural sources of raw materials, energy and transportation networks to produce and distribute products to broader markets. It includes both material assets – immovable and movable – and intangible dimensions such as technical know‐how, the organisation of work and workers, and the complex social and cultural legacy that shaped the life of communities and brought major organisational changes to entire societies and the world in general. Therefore, this variety of activities should bring together all generations, let everyone find something for them. It is not a suprise, that many workshops, seminars, meetings or exhibitions expect adult participants, that are aware of the heritage importance. What is more, multiple events are prepared considering whole families.
Poland embraces the European Heritage Days initiative for the 23rd occasion. The main organization responsible for EHD is the National Heritage Board of Poland. This year the main theme of the event is entitled The Lost Heritage, which have a very special meaning. First of all, because it is connected with celebration of 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II, and by this topic, it is focused on massive losses of cultural heritage Poland suffered. Additionally, this anniversary is also reason to emphasize part of material identity that was lost as a result of resettlements and border changes after World War II. Another topic that is highlighted with reference to the Lost Heritage is the huge loss of national treasures, collections, as well as local traditions, beliefs and customs that are being forgotten. There is also another topic connected with the Lost Heritage, focused more as a topic for public debate on reason why and how we should protect heritage, that is not yet forgotten, but in the future it can be lost as, for example, postindustrial heritage.
Although main dates of EHD are 25th, 26th and 27th of September, events in Poland will last the whole month. Regional heritage will be promoted by multiple initiatives in each region of Poland. Thereby the audience can choose whether they want to participate in workshops, seminars, conferences, debates, guided tours, the openings of exhibitions, concerts, thematic games for children etc. The events will take place in castles, galleries, open-air museums, local cultural centers, all that to ensure access to regional culture, to share with a wider audience aspects that are very often little known or disappearing, especially nowadays. Children and youth are invited to participate in actions like on the castle in Sandomierz, where after lecture they will have a chance to recreate and draw the parts of the castle that do not exist anymore, or a strategy game based on the battle re-enactment in one of Prussian fortresses in Kędzierzyn Koźle. There is a proposition of design workshop in Bytom, with the special focus on ethnodesign. It will be connected with lecture and discussion with focus on the question whether ethnodesign is a chance to promote folk culture or a threat of shallowing heritage. Previously, European Heritage Days in Poland brought together around 240.000 visitors in 370 sites. There was approximately 1540 events. For this September the list of all events is not yet closed. So the statistics are not available, however within numerous propositions each and every person interested in heritage will find interesting activity.
In Portugal, the Director General of Cultural Heritage (DGPC) is the promoter organisation responsible to disseminate the national program of the European Heritage days 2015, so that this event can engage and captivate a larger audience, particularly of young people. DGPC invites both public and private entities to join this initiative, which are intended to organise and provide cultural activities such as: opening of monumental sites of both historical and heritage interest to public (preferably entrance free); workshops, talks, conferences, debates and seminars about the proposed theme; organising guided and thematic tours free of charge in strategic monumental sites; artistic events related to music, dance, theatre, performing arts contextualised within the theme; exhibitions; concerts performed in historical sites; street entertainment; photographic contests; reading sessions or even release of publications. The city Council of Vila Real de Santo António through the Research and Information Centre of Cacela’s Heritage (CIIPC) has join once again the commemorations of the European Heritage Days, inviting families to visit Benémola and learn more about the lime manufacturing process of this village, which once was full of intense activity in this particular craft industry. Nowadays, only a few old earthenware ovens and the memories of the older population remains. Therefore, to perpetuate these structures and memories, families and children are invited to learn more about this traditional craft industry through several educational games and activities, including the construction of a small earthenware oven sample.