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Public Debate: Heritage and Tourism (What does heritage change for tourism?)

Friday June 3  11:30 PM to 1:30 PM

UQAM, pavillon Athanase-David (DR) – DR-200

This debate will seek to question the relationship between tourism and heritage and as such overcome popular beliefs about the antagonism between tourism as a “corrupter” and heritage as its victim. It will thus consist of rethinking tourism as a genuine actor in heritage, of its development and its appropriation, including by local populations. This will presuppose, at the forefront, to distinguish heritage within the very general offering of cultural tourism: in effect, heritage, in a place, creates desirability and belonging because it implicates the historicity and longevity of this place and the environment that it conditions.

Yet heritage also derives from institutional mechanisms of selection and development that are very hierarchical and hermetic, in which the actors of the tourism industry rarely feel justified to intervene, compared to, for example, the offering constituted by events or gastronomy. But what if we invited the tourism industry to the table in terms of heritage decisions?

In a departure from the analysis of the widespread growth of mobility on the international scale, from the disappearance of common references between tourists and those that they visit, but also from the often capitalist role of tourism in the recognition, not only of destinations, but also of living environments, we will consider the following questions, among others:

How does heritage prove itself to be strategic in the touristic positioning of certain destinations?

What are the issues in the recourse of heritage by the touristic industry given that travellers are less and less homogenous and no longer necessarily share a similar history?

How can the touristic industry participate in the social choices that concern heritage other than by being simply the receptor of knowledge produced elsewhere (by the ministry of culture, etc.)?

Can we reconcile the social and cultural needs of the bearers of heritage, the residents of a place, and those of visitors?

We would like, in particular, to integrate the actors of the touristic industry in the choices of the future, on the protection and on the transmission of heritage, and in the fundamental reflection of the ways in which heritage can truly enter into the lives of the inhabitants of a place and take part in the development of contemporary societies.

Speakers : Craig Bennett, France Lessard, David Mendel and Pierre Mathieu


A lunch will be served

Registration required :

Public Debate  : Heritage and the City

Friday June 3  2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

UQAM, pavillon Judith-Jasmin (J), agora

Qu’est-ce que le patrimoine change à Montréal? Qu’est-ce que Montréal change au patrimoine?
Ce débat vise à mettre en discussion l'évolution et le devenir du patrimoine dans la métropole du Québec en interrogeant les motifs de l'attachement (ou de l'indifférence) de la société civile et des décideurs, mais aussi en questionnant les moyens dont ils disposent pour agir sur le patrimoine. Au-delà de la fameuse "pierre grise" et des matériaux expressifs de l'identité historique de Montréal, existe-t-il un patrimoine qui puisse être typiquement montréalais dans un contexte résolument multiculturel? Quelles relations la ville, en tant que lieu d'appartenance, peut-elle entretenir avec les méthodes promues de façon plus ou moins centralisée par le gouvernement du Québec? Les autorités municipales disposent-elles des moyens nécessaires à l'affirmation, à la protection et à la transmission des patrimoines des Montréalais? Comment le patrimoine pourrait-il pleinement soutenir le développement de Montréal, plutôt qu'en être la sempiternelle victime?

With Dinu Bumbaru, Luc Ferrandez, Marc-André Carignan.


Registration required :

An intergenerational conversation about heritage conservation education: The rise, fall, and (necessary) redefinition of expert knowledge

Monday June 6  9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  MB 3.430

As recent publications have demonstrated, the role of the expert in heritage conservation is a relevant, indeed imperative topic of discussion. On the one hand, the knowledge required to work in the field has evolved over time in response to changes in the definition of heritage. Once the exclusive domain of architects and historians, the expertise needed today draws on a broader scope of disciplines, including urban planning, landscape studies, anthropology, economics and climatology, often mixed together. In addition, as a result of sophisticated structures set in place over the last half-century to identify, protect and enhance heritage, experts now need skills in management since they are called on to develop and implement policy.
On the other hand, there is growing doubt about the authority of experts to identify heritage and the strategies to preserve it. Although this questioning is valid, current reflections about expert knowledge are nevertheless surprisingly silent on the role of education and training. Yet training courses and university/college programs in heritage conservation abound, having multiplied at a rapid pace since the 1970s. Rooted at first in architecture schools—the architectural conservation course given by La Sapienza in Rome in conjuncture with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property / ICCROM (then Rome Centre) in 1965 being one of the earliest examples—programs are now housed in different departments and institutions worldwide. They address a broad scope of heritage, including intangible cultural heritage, World Heritage management, landscape architecture and regional planning, just to name a few.
Recent shifts of emphasis from the iconic, the special, the outstanding, to the vernacular, as well as greater focus on communication with local communities and stakeholders raise the question of what is required for graduates to comprehend, discuss and eventually conserve heritage places. Whereas in the past heritage education was mainly about acquiring knowledge (of materials, architecture, history and theory), education today focuses more on developing skills such as listening, teaching and facilitating. If that is indeed the case, are university programs and training courses prepared for such a shift? Further, are there pedagogical strategies to develop this new generation of experts? Does this new perspective sound the death knell to the knowledge legacy of the previous generations?

Speakers : Christina Cameron, Claudine Déom, Mardjane Amin, John Diodati, Angela Garvey, Nobuko Inaba, Tracy Ireland, Jack Vandenberg


Charting new directions: Heritage, architecture and the decorative arts

Monday June 6  9:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  MB S1.430

Architectural historian John R. Stubbs suggests that architectural conservation is concerned with historic buildings and their sites as well as their associated accoutrements, such as furnishings and fittings. But what happens if the building itself is not seen as “historic” or even worthy of a heritage designation, much less conservation, while its site and furnishings are significant in aesthetic, cultural or social terms? In other words what happens when a building’s decorative arts trump its own fabric and design? While the moveable objects in such a case oftentimes find their way into history or art museums, this situation is particularly troubling for decorative arts attached to the building or embedded within its fabric, and for the gardens or landscape art that surround it. Such questions are even more relevant when “art” conservators are involved, since many of these objects are rendered in materials associated with the crafts, created by anonymous makers or by means of semi-industrial processes, and as such may not be viewed as worthy of conservation. This is especially true in light of the rejection and feminization of ornament within western art discourses that prevailed throughout most of the 20th century, in conjunction with the destruction or threats of destruction of ornamented buildings through urban renewal projects. In the cases where objects are relocated to museums, this culling process is, in itself, highly political and class contingent.

Recent decorative art and craft theory has argued convincingly that an object’s meaning is embedded within its physical, social and cultural contextsthat rather than understanding these objects as autonomous art objects, their significance is derived from their place and its function therein. Traditionally, and still today, decorative art objects have been understood to be dependent upon their architecture, even secondary to it in terms of symbolic importance. While recognizing that objects do have social lives, as do buildings, this roundtable shall focus upon the integration of the building and its decorative arts as a unit, particularly when the usual architecture/decoration value hierarchy is reversed. In order to accomplish this, the panel will consider whether decorative art theory, so important when heritage concerns were codified in the late 19th centuries, can, within its current debates over a hundred years later, contribute to critical heritage studies. Participants in this roundtable session will address what heritage changes for the decorative arts in the context of the 20th century and what decorative art theory can change for heritage studies. These participants bring together experience in the intersections among architecture, decorative art and craft discourse, including gender and postcolonial concerns, understanding of collection strategies and the implications of connoisseurship, knowledge of interdisciplinarity within academic institutions and implications for it in the field. This international roster of participants includes scholars, artists, curators, and museum directors, chosen to represent a range of viewpoints and experiences in the roundtable discussions.

This panel will comprise ten-minute presentations based on specific case studies from each of the six-eight roundtable participants, followed by a structured discussion chaired by Sandra Alfoldy in which the audience is invited to participate.

Speakers : Sandra Alfoldy, Danielle Doucet, Rachel Gotlieb, Elaine Cheasley Paterson, Susan Surette, Susan Tunick


In-community session: “Walking post-industrial areas”

Monday June 6  9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Salon Laurette (1950, rue Centre)

In recent years, there has been a great deal of debate surrounding so-called ruin gazing and the politics of representing industrial or urban ruination. Recent years have also seen photographers, artists, film-makers, urban explorers, scholars and others flood into newly deindustrialized areas to record signs of ruins and abandonment, prompting a public backlash against the hipster commodification of misery. Some have gone so far as to call the voyeuristic appeal of industrial or urban ruination a form of “ruin-porn,” urging researchers and artists to engage with the people who continue to live in and with ruination. What accounts for their invisibility? Historian Jackie Clarke suggests that new forms of working-class invisibility have emerged since the 1980s. She uses the term invisibility to “signal not total disappearance, but various forms of marginalisation, occlusion and disqualification.” 

This cross-disciplinary session will explore the ethical and political stance of researchers and artists who have created memory-based audio or art walks that engage with the post-industrial transformation of our cities. How do in situ listening and curated feeling change the experience of walking through these areas? Does it contribute to or counter the wider aestheticization of rubble into picturesque ruin? What are the underlying politics of these public initiatives? How well do these walks make visible or challenge power? In responding to these questions, participants in this round table will consider the potential of audio and art walking as critical heritage practice in the aftermath of deindustrialization.

Speakers: Steven High, Simond Bradley, Cynthia Hammond and Tobi Butler


Registration required :

In-community session: “Teaching/learning/living post-industrial ecologies: Roundtable on Concordia’s ‘Right to the City’ initiative”

Monday June 6  11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Salon Laurette (1950, rue Centre)

In a collaborative and image-rich conversational presentation, “Teaching/learning/living post-industrial ecologies” outlines the potentials and problematics of “The Right to the City,” a multi-year transdisciplinary curriculum initiative that brings graduate and undergraduate students from Concordia University to Montreal’s historic Sud-Ouest borough. Through our tethered teaching, four professors have asked, “what does it change for the university to teach/learn on-site with the residents and the cultural and natural heritages of the Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood?” This question will be explored from diverse perspectives in a pecha kucha-style (10 images/5 minutes each) roundtable, featuring community and academic stakeholders and students, who will reflect on what it means to learn in place, from place.

In 2015-2016, its second year, “The Right to the City” united 60 students of all three university levels (bachelor, master and doctoral) in four disciplines: history (Steven High), art education (Kathleen Vaughan), art history (Cynthia Hammond), and theatre (Ted Little). This initiative was supported by Concordia’s “Curriculum Innovation” program and by the Atwater Library’s Digital Literacy Project (Eric Craven), in collaboration with Pointe-Saint-Charles’ social service and community agencies such as Share the Warmth / Partageons l’espoir, the neighbourhood Y, Saint Columba House, and local cultural hubs such as the Saint-Charles Library and Salon Laurette. Throughout their coursework, students learned from each other as well as from locals, developing a myriad of creative, scholarly and community-based projects that engaged with contemporary resonances of the heritage of Pointe-Saint-Charles. Drawing on the concept of the “right to the city” as advanced by Henri Lefebvre (1968), and the interwoven notions of environmental and social justice in post-industrial ecologies, this roundtable and the tethered courses it reflects have an exploratory, activist orientation as much as a research/teaching agenda.

We see this roundtable as a companion to the session “Walking Post-Industrial Areas: A Round Table” (@ Saint Columba House in Pointe-Saint-Charles), which aims to explore the impact of artistic/scholarly engagement with Montreal’s heritage in the Sud-Ouest borough.

Speakers : Seven High, Kathleen Vaughan, Edward Little, Simond Bradley, Cynthia Hammond and Tobi Butler


Registration required :

Small (ERA Architects Inc.)

Monday June 6  12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  MB 2.445

As Canada shifts from a resource-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, small communities that were established to service the primary sector are faced with a complex and unique set of challenges. They are communities built on a culture of hard work, resourcefulness and creativity; their residents are now tasked with developing strategies to deal with a lack of employment, depopulation and resettlement.

Small is premised on the notion that leveraging the rich cultural heritage of these places is crucial to the transition from resource-based to creative economies. The program began in 2010 by focusing on Newfoundland’s historic outports, and has since helped communities across Canada identify and use their cultural heritage resources—tangible and intangible—to explore place-based opportunities for renewal.

The experience of working with these small communities has generated a picture of what sustainable rural economies might be: tied to the landscape as a natural and cultural resource; reliant on traditional cultural practices to generate new investment and entrepreneurial activity; and attractive to new residents who resist conventional urban and suburban development.

Our hope is that small communities, as they transition from natural to cultural resources, will play a pivotal role in redefining Canada’s national cultural identity, as well as its future economic success.

Speaker: Jessica Mace


Le patrimoine comme enjeu de la participation citoyenne à Montréal

Monday June 6  1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  MB 3.430

De l’ère du maire Jean Drapeau et de ses interventions autoritaires sur le tissu urbain de Montréal, dans les années 1960 et 1970, à l’instauration d’une démocratie municipale dans les années 1980, sous l’administration de Jean Doré, la population est de plus en plus sollicitée dans les grands débats concernant la transformation du patrimoine urbain de Montréal. Notons l’instauration en 2002 de l’Office de consultation publique de Montréal, tribune où les citoyens peuvent exprimer leur avis sur les grands projets de transformation du tissu urbain ou de bâtiments patrimoniaux. Soulignons aussi la sensibilisation au patrimoine opérée par les fondations Héritage Montréal et Action patrimoine dont nous célébrons les 40 ans de mobilisation en matière de patrimoine. Des projets actuels de requalification d’églises (Imaginons Saint-Marc, 2012), d’espaces urbains (Clouard, Racine et Jubinville, 2014) et d’équipements publics (Abrassart, Gauthier, Proulx et Martel, 2015) montrent une volonté des intervenants d’intégrer la participation citoyenne non plus a posteriori de l’élaboration des projets affectant le patrimoine bâti, mais en amont. De fait, de nouveaux exercices de concertation et de co-création invitent les citoyens à participer au processus d’élaboration des projets ; il se développe donc un art de planifier avec les communautés locales.

Speakers : Marc-André Carignan, Samuel Mathieu, François Racine, Samir Admo, Mikael St-Pierre


Critical heritage studies and the law: What does it change?

Monday June 6  1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  MB S1.235

This roundtable session engages with the relations between critical heritage studies and the law. From the definition of heritage down to specific safeguarding programs, the law influences heritage management, and heritage studies seem to overlook that influence. It also contributes to articulating connections to cultural identity, and structures around cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. For the most part, these relationships between heritage studies and heritage law are fraught with difficulties. The law seems to be for the most part blind to the field of critical heritage studies, and too deferential to orthodox understandings of heritage as a goal in itself. Furthermore, critical heritage studies scholars normally see the law as part of the set of authorizing practices that form the “authorized heritage discourse,” and that must be combated. All the while, potentials to use the law (as a language of power) to articulate critical heritage studies goals seem to be missed, and the law remains oblivious to the fact that heritage is not (or should not) be an end in itself. These tensions can be seen in examples as varied as the limitations of a state-centric approach to curbing the illicit traffic of objects, down to flawed constructions of cultural identity to serve a limited legal system that are usually attributed to “strategic essentialism,” the exclusion of communities from a legal system that is too deferential to certain types of experts, or even the ways in which human rights law tools have been used by certain international organizations to promote certain heritage goals and programs.

This roundtable is formed of both lawyers and non-lawyers in the field of heritage studies, all of whom engage with the law in their professional practice. It will start by asking participants to articulate their experiences with the legal system and the field of critical heritage studies, and the tensions in those encounters. It will then proceed to inquire whether relations between the two fields are possible, or even desirable. The participation of the audience will be a key component of this roundtable, and we expect to leave plenty of room for a broader discussion in the room. We hope that the exchange of experiences and the open dialogue will allow roundtable speakers and audience participants to reflect on what, if anything, the law can do for the future of heritage.

Speakers : Lucas Lixinski, Andrzej Jakubowski, Donna Yates


Le Canada doit-il signer la Convention pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel?

Monday June 6  1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  Conc007_Amphi_(120)

L’objectif de cette table ronde est de questionner une éventuelle ratification par le Canada de cet instrument multilatéral qu’est la Convention pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel immatériel. La réunion se tiendra en français et en anglais avec interprétation simultanée. Elle prendra la forme d’exposés d’experts et de tables de discussion.

Une consultation sera préalablement menée auprès des principaux groupes de praticiens du pays afin de recueillir leur avis sur la question de la ratification et de nourrir les échanges de la réunion.

Différents intervenants seront invités à prendre part à cette session d’étude : représentants ministériels provinciaux et fédéraux, représentants d’organisations non gouvernementales (ONG), personnel du Secrétariat de la Convention de 2003, chercheurs universitaires, personnalités politiques, représentants des Premières Nations et des Inuits, etc.

Les questions suivantes seront notamment débattues : Quels sont les motifs de la non-ratification actuelle ? Les impacts ? Quels sont les avantages et les désavantages de cette situation sur la culture traditionnelle au pays ? Quels seraient les bienfaits d’une éventuelle signature de cette convention ? Quelles sont les étapes liées à une éventuelle ratification ? Qu’est-ce que le Canada pourrait ou devrait faire aux échelles nationale et internationale une foisle traité ratifié ? Les textes de loi fédéraux ou provinciaux actuels sont-ils compatibles avec une telle ratification ?

Simultaneous translation

Speakers : Christine Bricault, Pierre Chartrand, Dr Chiara Bortolotto, James Count Early, Antoine Gauthier, Karine Laviolette, Ghislain Picard


(in)Significance: Values and valuing in heritage

Tuesday June 7  1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  MB 2.430

The roundtable will explore ideas around the concept of insignificance. That is, how things are judged to be unimportant, not worthy of conservation, meaningless, or without substantive power or influence. We will examine this notion in relation to the history, theory, and practical application of significance as a concept and method in heritage. In short, we will discuss the significance of insignificance.

The notion of “significance” is central to heritage conservation in many parts of the world. It is used to represent an amalgam of values and is deployed to describe what, how, and for whom the institutions of heritage choose to remember and to forget.

Determining significance is a process of ascribing values—culturally constructed meanings or qualities attributed by experts, individuals and groups to a heritage object, collection, place, landscape or practice. Valuing heritage has led to practices that typically list, rank and then privilege particular values, employing concepts of thresholds and scale–such as world, national and local levels of value.

Objects, places and practices deemed not to meet thresholds established in mandated heritage regimes might be said to be insignificant. They are non-heritage in a quasi-legal sense. However there is currently much interest in approaches to heritage which challenge the authoritarian role of expertise, which are interested in personal and emotional concepts of heritage, and more broadly in how people, narratives and memories are interwoven with things, places and landscape. There is also evidence of interest in the “insignificant” as a counter to the use of heritage in cementing the grand narratives of nations and the progressive histories of the “West” and the “North.”

At the heart of these discussions around significance has been the need to make values explicit and to understand where they come from and whom they benefit—the notion that values are made and constructed within particular historical, political and economic circumstances remains somewhat contentious in heritage conservation and management. Debates are polarized between positions that see values as inherent in objects, and thus able to be managed through strict adherence to principles of care and management, and the position that there is no such “thing” as heritage—where the material is intentionally de-privileged to focus on how power is embedded in the processes of heritage, such as significance assessment. This in turn leads to further debates around materiality, intangibility and values, where values or knowledge not seen as “embodied” in a material form (practices, rituals, beliefs, and so on) are perceived as evanescent and endangered, further obscuring how intangible heritage is embodied and intertwined with the material and social world.

The roundtable will scrutinize different ways of conceiving of value, with a particular focus on how values intersect and at times conflict with one another. The trend toward defining discrete aspects of value and measuring them through particular outcomes will be critically examined and alternative approaches explored. Furthermore, the roundtable will explore the tension between institutional or “official” values, and the values people produce in and for themselves; a tension that is an endemic and difficult issue across the cultural sector.

Key questions to be addressed are: How does significance assessment intersect with concepts of ethics, social justice and sustainability? How might a notion of insignificance be framed and theorized in ways that support heritage practice? Could narrative forms be used to counter values-based approaches, especially for those things (objects, places, practices) assessed as insignificant?

Speakers : Steve Brown, Christina Cameron, Tracy Ireland


Thinking through the museum: Difficult knowledge in public

Tuesday June 7  1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Concordia, John Molson School of Business Building (MB)  Conc008_(060)

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights opened to the public in September 2014. Yet this “first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights” met serious criticism from a variety of stakeholders before it even opened its doors. These stakeholders included Indigenous and Ukrainian communities, anti-poverty activists, feminists, gay rights activists, and disabilities advocates who questioned some of the museum’s key curatorial choices in framing issues of rights and their historical violation, and drew attention to ongoing injustices, close to home (particularly in Winnipeg), that the museum’s narrative elides. Conflicts like these, and attempts to quell them, are increasingly common as museums across the globe take up the charge of representing histories of injustice. Yet rather than retreating into controversy-avoidance, how might these significant cultural institutions proactively turn such inevitable challenges into opportunities for learning and dialogue? Can museums’ social justice mandates extend beyond proclamations about global inequities on their gallery walls, to the diverse communities on their doorsteps? What new tools and methodologies might be developed for productive, ethical engagement with the painful histories around us if we invite scholars, artists, and community members to join together with museum professionals in collaboratively thinking through the museum?

The four co-investigators of a new Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant with experience both as scholars and curators, along with an associated postdoctoral fellow and two doctoral students, will open a roundtable discussion about what it might mean to “think through the museum” in relation to the “difficult knowledge” of traumatic histories and ongoing legacies of violence and conflict. In brief, in relation to this year’s ACHS conference theme: what might the heritage of difficult knowledge change, if productively curated?

Speakers : Shelley Ruth Butler, Erica Lehrer, Monica Patterson, Jennifer C. Robinson



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