Recent decades have witnessed a fundamental change in social values throughout the world, and this in turn has affected the ways in which we think about and care for cultural heritage. Increasingly, heritage professionals are challenged to adopt more people-centred approaches within conservation, whereby constructive and critical dialogue between stakeholders is an essential part of the decision making process. However, the achievement of this in practice is not so straightforward.
ICCROM was one of the first organizations to tackle this issue, when in 2002 it launched an international course on Sharing Conservation Decisions. The course sought to examine mechanisms of decision-making within other fields, in order to learn from these and reflect on current practices within heritage conservation. This provided a valuable opportunity to reconsider the value systems, roles, responsibilities, and expectations surrounding heritage. Participants were encouraged to think outside the box, listen to diverse voices and seek ways to make processes more inclusive and transparent.
As a sequel to the ten-year ICCROM Programme on Sharing Conservation Decisions, this publication is concerned with the still-growing quest for participatory decision-making in cultural heritage conservation. Case studies from different countries and heritage contexts document the wide array of decisions that confront professionals in our field, the challenges these present, and how innovative solutions can be found by embracing a sharing approach. To put these experiences in perspective, additional papers discuss issues of heritage and conservation values, reflect on the development of cultural heritage concepts, and review practical tools for decision-making.
This publication will be of interest to heritage practitioners, managers and educators alike, as well as all those with an interest in promoting greater inclusivity in the use and conservation of cultural heritage.
In the spirit of this publication, ICCROM is keen to receive feedback from readers, and invites you to share your opinion on the ideas expressed in the articles at firstname.lastname@example.org.