Engaging Conservation Conference

Posted on 20 January 2014

First of its kind conference to be hosted by the department in July

20-01-14 Engaging Conservation Conference

Engaging Conservation: Communities, capacity building and conservation practice: Centre for Conservation Studies, University of York & ICOMOS UK, 11 – 13 July 2014, The King’s Manor, York

Call for papers

Community-based work in heritage conservation is well-established, involving local people in historic area planning and urban regeneration, in local campaigning to save heritage assets and local heritage trusts to look after them. But how effective are attempts at wider public engagement with what heritage conservation aims to achieve for public benefit? How are local people instrumental in shaping and carrying out conservation projects?

In wildlife conservation and in archaeology, we have seen public participation, training and community involvement grow strongly over the last 15 to 20 years. Research shows demonstrable social, educational and personal benefits for participants as well as tangible outcomes. Community practice in heritage conservation, by contrast, has received relatively little attention in terms of widening engagement until recently.  While the Heritage Lottery Fund in the UK has enabled many local projects, conservation practice still remains largely an expert domain, it seems, a field for specialist practitioners and decision-makers who ‘consult’ local people and facilitate their involvement. How successful have we been in building capacity for local ownership and leadership of heritage conservation projects, and genuine participation in decisions and in practice?

In the context of rapidly shrinking public-sector resources for conservation, there will be increasing reliance on the voluntary and community sector in the years ahead. What are the challenges and benefits, what works well and why?  How can we learn by sharing approaches and practical experience at an international level?

Engaging Conservation will consider what the shift towards participative practice and public engagement in heritage conservation means and how far it is being achieved. As ICOMOS International Training Committee finalises its new Principles for Capacity Building through Education and Training in Conservation of the Cultural Heritage, it will also be timely to share experience and wider thinking at an international level.

The conference welcomes stakeholders, practitioners and academics. Proposals for conference papers are invited on all aspects of engaging conservation – with communities, participation, skills and capacity building.  Abstracts of 300 words, together with a title and contributor’s details, should be sent to gill.chitty@york.ac.uk  no later than 10 March 2014. Some assistance with travel and accommodation costs may be available for invited speakers.

Booking for the conference will open in February and a preliminary conference programme will be published in March 2014.