In an increasingly globalized world, our definition of community may have expanded and changed, but a sense of belonging is just as important as ever. One important example of this is the phenomenon of heritage communities, which are united by cultural heritage. Although there is a multitude of possible definitions, The Faro Convention defines them as groups “of people who value specific aspects of cultural heritage which they wish, within the framework of public action, to sustain and transmit to future generations.”
Beyond a simple interest in a particular heritage, then, these communities come together in order to enact change and to put into motion the necessary steps to protect and pass on that heritage about which they are passionate. In such cases, the conservation and the management of heritage have the possibility to be transformed, becoming no longer the sole responsibility of central authorities; instead, they have the potential to be shared by knowledgable members of communities that have themselves become comprehensive authorities.
The Twelfth International Conference of Young Researchers in Heritage seeks to dive into the issues surrounding heritage and to explore questions such as: Who becomes involved in such projects and how? How are heritage communities encouraged and fostered? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such communities? How do these groups work with or in isolation from established heritage narratives and structures? Are these communities influenced by such structures, and, if so, how? What are the challenges faced? Who are the investors and to what end(s)? What are the funding mechanisms for heritage conservation in such cases, and how do they differ from or respond to models of traditional, welfare-state funding mechanisms? Successful endeavours as well as those that have failed, can tellingly provide us with lessons for the future.
Following from these ideas, this conference will seek to interrogate the ethical, political, cultural and social challenges and issues of heritage communities along three principal, but non-exclusive, axes:
The genesis and development of heritage communities;
Integrated approaches to the management of cultural heritage: the role of heritage communities between the different levels of public authority (local, regional or national); and
The importance of public input in the establishment of regional and national priorities with respect to cultural heritage: what place is there for heritage communities?
Since 2005, the International Conference of Young Researchers in Heritage has invited young scholars to present their research on various aspects of heritage, and has been held in Canada, Europe and South America. The conference is organized under the scientific supervision of the Canada Research Chair on Urban Heritage (Prof. Lucie K. Morisset and Prof. Luc Noppen, Université du Québec à Montréal) and its partners, and PARVI (Interuniversity Research on Narrativescapes, Cities and Urban Identities).
Young researchers across all disciplines and nations are invited to submit proposals for 20–minute papers based on any aspect of heritage communities, from case studies to theoretical analyses, that will instigate further discussions and reflections. Proposals should be no more than 500 words, accompanied by a title and a short biography, and must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 10, 2017.
Proposals and papers can be in either English or in French. All proposals will be evaluated by a scientific committee and judged in relation to their originality and to the conference theme. Travel expenses may be partially subsidized, subject to budgetary restrictions. It is possible that the best papers presented at the Twelfth International Conference of Young Researchers in Heritage may be scientifically evaluated and published in an edited volume.
The twelfth installment of the International Conference of Young Researchers in Heritage will be held at the University of Quebec in Montreal from September 28 to 30, 2017, under the scientific direction of Myriam Joannette and Dr Jessica Mace.