The Topicality of Cultural Heritage notes

Claiming Heritage - Barcamp

[Translate to English:] Foto: Antje Kempe
[Translate to English:] Foto: Antje Kempe

The working group 2020 of ICOMOS Germany invited to its first Barcamp. The meeting, organized in cooperation with the DFG-Graduiertenkolleg 1913 Kulturelle und technische Werte historischer Bauten of the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, took place on 05.10.2019 in Berlin. According to the character of a Barcamp, the aim of the organizers of this comparatively new and participative format of a conference was to discuss other topics and fields of actions with regard to the question how to create meaning, acceptance and sustainable art of dealing with a more and more diverse nature of heritage and to bring interested audience and experts of different fields together.

It became obvious already in the introduction round of the well-attended event and within the subsequently presented collection of ideas for thematic sessions how diverse the interests of the participants were. Among others, there emerged questions of subculture, of the overall compatibility of the heritage status and of its usability in urban context, like in the cases of World Heritage sites. However, there appeared also practical questions concerning the preservation of Digital Art, the sustainability of conservation works as well as particular issues of financing options. With regard to these fields of interest, 12 different workshops were organized.  

In one of them, the society of Culture Heirs in Kiel presented its projects which deal with the complex task of communicating the issues of military heritage of the city in educational projects intended for schools.

In the session on transdisciplinary perspectives on heritage, the focus quickly shifted to monument conservation work with modernist monuments. In the discussion, a pladoyer for a stronger theoretical impact and methodical extension of conservation work became apparent, issues which should be accompanied more by publications and public relation works. However, the question of what kind of approaches to cultural heritage beyond conservation and scientific research can be made today, was also touched upon.

In the workshop on digitality it became clear, nevertheless, that the participants were more interested in user-oriented tools such as Wiki-Data which enables in particular small museums to create structured digital collections of their holdings. With regard to the actual question of the session, the funding of long-term maintenance and restoration not only of Digital Art but also of the research data and thus their preservation turned out to be a crucial problem.  

The event provided many suggestions, which are also of interest to the cluster “The Topicality of Cultural Heritage” with regard to its thematic orientation and further networking. Above all, it became apparent that the communication of cultural heritage is often still inadequate, but is, nevertheless, a central concern in terms of its acceptance and identification. New formats need to be found and stakeholders such as various interest groups need to be involved.

Text: Antje Kempe