|Promoting people-centered approaches to conservation: living heritage
Heritage affects and touches the diverse aspects of human life in many ways. The recognition of this fact has resulted in revisiting the definition of heritage and its integration into a wide variety of socio-political and economic aspects of society.
There is a growing demand for people-centered approaches to deal with many facets of heritage conservation:
- respect for diversity;
- a focus on both past and present;
- enhancement of the value of all cultural products;
- the influence of heritage on the contemporary life of people and how it can improve their quality of life;
- heritage as perceived by people, moving away from the sharp lines drawn between its various types (e.g. movable/immovable; tangible/intangible);
- respect for people’s voices in conservation and management of heritage;
- the improvement of relationships between heritage and people;
- recognition of the living dimensions of heritage, particularly of religious heritage;
- consideration for the impact of globalization on living environments such as historic urban centres and cultural landscapes;
- the recognition of the custodianship of people for the long-term care of heritage;
- the link of heritage to the sustainable development of society;
- and relationships with a wide variety of non-professionals.
All of these challenges require new approaches to conservation and management of heritage, which must differ from the conventional methods.
ICCROM, over the years, has pioneered the highlighting of some of these issues (e.g. conservation as a cultural decision-making process; conserving the sacred; the living heritage approach; assessing values of collections as the basis for conservation decision-making, etc.). The Living Heritage Approach developed by ICCROM has touched on many of the above-mentioned issues and can be considered as a people-centered approach that could form a
new paradigm, one which places the living dimension at the core of decision-making.
29 February, 2012