5th Heritage Forum of Central Europe Heritage and Environment

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Date(s) - 2019.09.19 - 2019.09.20
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International Cultural Centre


Over the last two decades or so the links between heritage and environment, broadly understood as “that which surrounds”, have started to occupy a central position in the debate on human inheritance, both tangible and intangible. In the wake of the spatial turn that has prioritised the categories of place and space in social sciences and the humanities, as well as in view of some unprecedented global environmental challenges faced by humanity, heritage studies have become particularly concerned with an investigation of the reciprocity between heritage and environment, as well as their mutual engagement. Given the relational and processual character of heritage – typically defined as an act of engaging with the past (Laurajane Smith) or an intergenerational exchange or relationship (Brian Graham, Gregory Ashworth, and John Tunbridge) – it has not escaped the attention of many a researcher that “our experiences and engagement with memory and identity are located within our broader surroundings – with our ‘environment’” (Hugh Cheape, Mary‐Cate Garden, and Fiona McLean). What is more, as David Lowenthal aptly observed with regard to a reciprocity of natural and cultural heritage, “these inheritances everywhere commingle; no aspect of nature is unimpacted by human agency, no artefact devoid of environmental impress”.

In light of the above, the aim of the fifth edition of the Heritage Forum of Central Europe, to be held on 19–20 September 2019 at the International Cultural Centre in Kraków, is to discuss and analyse the links and mutual dependencies between heritage, those “meaningful pasts that should be remembered” (Sharon Macdonald), and environment, both material and socio-cultural. While investigating the relationship between the two, special consideration is to be given to an attempt to transgress and challenge various dichotomies that have traditionally shaped our way of thinking about heritage and environment and their antithetical rapport (nature/culture, permanence/transience, tangible/intangible, etc.). By means of addressing such issues as, for example, the impact of environment on memory and identity, natural and/or cultural heritage, historic environment(s), biodiversity and conservation, the Forum’s objective is to demonstrate that the relations between heritage and environment – particularly between culture and nature – should be marked by “cooperative amity” rather than “envy and rivalry” (David Lowenthal).

The International Cultural Centre hereby invites professionals from a variety of fields (e.g. art and architecture, history and literature, biology and horticulture, sociology and geography, conservation and management) to submit their proposals for papers on the following themes, although submissions are not limited to them:

  1. heritage and natural environment, and particularly:
  • natural heritage
  • natural heritage sites
  • natural landscape
  • landscape restoration
  • landscape and garden design2. heritage and anthropogenic environment, and in particular:
  • heritage and the Antrophocene
  • the built environment
  • historic environment
  • cityscapes and urban environment
  • postindustrial landscape
  • virtual environment3. heritage and socio-cultural environment, with particular reference to the following:
  • heritage sites
  • cultural landscape
  • heritage vis-à-vis political/social environment
  • ecotourism
  • ecomuseums4. heritage and the spatial turn, and in particular:
  • sites of memory
  • environmental history
  • tourism geography
  • memory, identity and space
  • ambience
  • the void
  • geopoetics

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