Heritage and threat
a JPI/CH-Programme Project
Today’s world contains a host of phenomena and situations that constitute threats to objects, sites and practices deemed “heritage” by stakeholders. Yet there is still a dearth of systematic information about this broad palette of threats, a dearth that constitutes a gap in our general knowledge and an obstacle to the purposeful activity of governments and institutions at times of crisis evaluation and intervention or post-crisis reconciliation. The HeAT project aims to address this situation through
- systematic analysis of threat to and through heritage in different geo-cultural locations;
- the production of a sophisticated cross-cultural typology of threat in the form of practical manuals for use, among others, by governmental organs, global organisations, NGOs and peace-keeping forces;
- small and thought-provoking exhibition(s) to popularise academic findings.
The project is collaborative, transnational and interdisciplinary. It brings together scholarly results and insights gained from research into four different localities and situations:
- the Near East between crisis and development;
- Poland and memory in times of change;
- Romania and “knowledge” registers that save/create or destroy/erase objects, sites and practices;
- Italy and construction that inevitably endangers traces of a past that is considered important.
The Heritage and Threat project is particularly innovative in that, although it focuses on global threats to heritage from a European perspective, it is planned in such a way that global and local voices can be made audible in the process. It will bring together multiple understandings and vocabularies of heritage issues: the inclusion of the Syrian/Iraqi, English, Polish, Romanian, Italian, Danish and Chinese perceptions and vocabulary of heritage will bring us closer to a global language of heritage and the threats that both endanger and emanate from it.
The four major steps in the research are:
- Taxonomy of Threat: Identification of types of threat to heritage and the nature of conflicts that can lead to the destruction of personal, national or global icons. The so-called modernization of developing countries and the surge in international tourism often involve the vandalizing of sites of tradition for local communities and the nation just as internal strife, war and frequent subsequent illicit trade in objects do. Such “manmade” threats should also been seen alongside natural catastrophes and their sources.
- Taxonomy of stakeholder positions and mapping of political and ethical positions for nations, institutions and groups with vested interests in- and outside the particular location, as well as national and international stakeholders in heritage protection, and identification. This includes the question to what extent the outside world should and can interfere with the process of heritage destruction and the question as to which stakeholders were involved in the creation of heritage (national, local, international and global organizations).
- Modes of Heritage Creation: It is well documented that heritage does not exist a priori; it is created or constructed through a number of channels and mechanisms (Harrison 2013; Samuel 2012, 205-226). This step requires close attention to historical cultural narratives as well as to linguistic particularities: what exactly does the local term for the English word “heritage” connote? Where are the terminological differences that can lead to misperceptions? What are the emotional effects of linguistic registers? Understanding the link between identity, conflict and the creation and consecration of iconic sites (i.e. heritage) is particularly pertinent to devising sustainable political strategies for crisis or post-crisis intervention in non-national heritage issues.
- Compilation of Practical Stakeholder Information: It is the aim of the research not only to understand the catalogue of threats to heritage and the modes of heritage creation but also to provide clear mapping of political positions and “spaces of operation” from which policies can be developed to influence the trajectory of a conflict situation or facilitate reconciliation afterwards. The target groups for these materials are governmental organs, global organizations and NGOs as well as peacekeeping forces.
The main outcome of the HeAT Project is the production of manuals and exhibitions, which can benefit stakeholders such as policy makers, politicians and the wider community and to which all partners will contribute. In order to achieve the common goals and outcomes the HeAT Project will operate at two different levels.
The first level is that of common methodology, which will be identified in the early stages of the project, as it constitutes the common ground on the basis of which the various projects will conduct their research. The HeAT partners will develop a methodology that will enable them to unite the research components and create consensus outside discrete project aims of the individual parts. The principal steps of this first level are exchange of theoretical assumptions with regard to taxonomy and vocabulary; identification of a possible working typology of threat; the identification of types of threat in the individual projects; consultation between the individual projects to gain a common typology (Steps 1-2); turning the results of the classification process into the desired outcome: handbook and exhibitions (Step 4).
The second level is that of the individual research projects (Step 3). The research components of the overall project have four main foci: political, theoretical, social and practical. Although all research projects deal with a combination of the four foci, one is predominant in each component and it is therefore even more important to ensure the research is conducted on the basis of shared concepts and parameters. As a result of these two levels of operation, the individual projects all contribute to a common goal (handbooks and exhibitions) but they can and will also produce and publish specialist results that are specific to their particular focus.
The four different components of the project will work within the same research framework and according to the standards of good research practice outlined in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity to address issues of threats and heritage from different but complementary perspectives.
Images, maps, and graphics of the HeAT-project
Read about the project results here: EU commission CORDIS
An abstract of the project is presented by the EU commission in the framework of EU Research and Innovation for Cultural heritage.
The results of the project partners from Bologna can be watched here.
Kinzel M., Thuesen M.B. and Thuesen I. (eds.) 2018. Conflict & Culture. Understanding Threats to Heritage. Copenhagen Forlaget Orbis.
Carstens, Kinzel, Nielsen and Schmidt (eds.) 2016. Eyes on Syria . Copenhagen: forlaget orbis. A publication of photographs from Syria back in 1961 taken by three Danes travelling through Syria on the way to join the team of the Scandinavian Joint Expedition to Nubia. Together with the book a travelling exhibition showing some of the images is running (for further information see: https://kulturkurser.dk/)
Karczewska M. - Karczewski M. 2015. Pro patria. Miejsca pamięci I Wojny Światowej na przedpolu Twierdzy Osowiec. Białystok: OBEŚW, 2015. ISBN 978-83-942895-0-8
Karczewska M. 2018, Cmentarze wojenne. I wojny światowej po stuleciu. Stan badań i ochrony. Białystok 2018.
Kinzel M. 2015. Von der Zerstörung von Kulturerbe - der Versuch einer Annährung Moritz Kinzel's contribution to the Newsletter of AIV Berlin on the Destruction of Heritage and related aspects.
Onu, M. 2018. Hegel and the science of spirit (Geisteswissenschaften). London: Academic Publishing.
Rambu N. 2015. Two Axiological Illnesses. In: Journal of Human Values 21(1) 64–71; DOI: 10.1177/0971685815580669 http://jhv.sagepub.com
Rambu N. 2016 Illusioni della civiltà nel Tramonto dell’Occidente di Oswald Spengler, in: Metropoli. Estetica, arte, leteratura. Saggi in memoria di Francesco Iengo, a cura di Antonella Del Gatto & Ugo di Toro, Ombre Corte Edizioni, Verona, Italia, 2016, pp. 107-115.
Râmbu N. 2017. The Axiological Memory of Max Weber. In: Journal of Human Values 23(3) 193-199. SAGE. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0971685817713281
Râmbu N. 2018, The Axiological Memory, Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, Germania, 2018, ISBN: 978-3-631-74456-7.
Râmbu N. 2018, Kant’s Aesthetic Ideas as Axiological Memory, Con-textos Kantianos: International Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 7, nr. 1/2018, ISI-A&HCI (Web of Science), ISSN: 1130-2097, pp. 321-331.
Râmbu N. and Zaiţev E. (eds.) 2017. Memorie axiologică şi Weltanschauung(Axiological Memory and Weltanschauung), Editura Universităţii „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” Iaşi, Romania. ISBN: 978-606-714-373-7; Link: http://www.editura.uaic.ro/fisa-carte.php?ctg=in_pregatire&id_c=1571
Sidoriuc M. 2018. Peisaje ale preistoriei. O privire socioarheologică asupra ameninţărilor faţă de patrimoniu, Editura Universităţii Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Iaşi. ISBN: 978-606-714-433-8
Zaiţev E. 2018, The Memory and the Ailing Imagination at Immanuel Kant, in Cultura International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology, Volume 15, Issue 1, 2018, ISI-A&HCI (Web of Science), pp. 115-124; ISSN 1584-1057.