Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values
Embracing Change in the Management of Place
May 13 - 15, 2015 at the UMass Amherst Campus
In recognition of the importance of cultural landscape research in contemporary heritage policy and practice, the University of Massachusetts Center for Heritage & Society (CHS) and the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) have co-organized a two-and-a-half day conference. The goal of the conference is to bring together a broad range of interdisciplinary scholars and heritage professionals to explore key issues in cultural landscapes and heritage values.
Cultural landscapes may be urban or rural, and they include parks, gardens, historic sites, agricultural landscapes, and areas of cultural and historical associations and significance. In the broader field of Heritage Management, the study of cultural landscapes is of particular and current interest. Landscapes are at once “cultural” and “natural,” calling into question traditional divisions of cultural and natural heritage resources and landscape management (e.g., “Cultural Landscapes” vs. “Natural Landscapes” in the World Heritage categories). Landscapes constitute a living heritage, reflecting the mutual influences of diverse groups of people and the equally varied places they inhabit. Like societies, landscapes are continually evolving, and their management demands that social and environmental change be understood and embraced. Landscapes define the sense of a “place,” and are the embodiment of the inextricability of tangible and intangible heritage. For these reasons and others, landscapes are a critical subject in heritage studies.
The themes of the conference emphasize the need to acknowledge and engage change in the successful interpretation, conservation, and management of landscapes; the often unproductive dichotomy of “natural” and “cultural” resources; the factors of social and economic inequality inherent in the designation and management of living landscapes; and other critical issues in heritage studies today that are raised and provoked by cultural landscape research and conservation.
Themes to be explored in this conference include:
- Multi-Cultural Landscapes: Issues of Social Justice and Power
- Authenticity and Integrity vs. Change in Living Landscapes
- Tangible and Intangible Heritage in Cultural Landscapes
- Sustainability in Cultural Landscape Management
Landscapes express the diversity of the peoples who have lived and worked in them through time. The issue of which cultural landscapes, and which aspects of multi-layered cultural landscapes, are conserved and commemorated are embedded in contemporary power relationships. Heritage sites and landscapes can be tools for cultural reparations, social cohesion, for education as sites of conscience, and for places of commemoration of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural heritage. Abstracts should include case studies and research on indigenous cultural landscapes, diasporic heritage, ethnographic methodologies in cultural landscape research, legal frameworks and litigation, landscapes of disrupted heritage (involving conflict, ethnic cleansing, or other disruption), and other issues of social justice.
Landscapes are the products and precedents of natural and cultural processes that began in the past and continue into the future. Understanding cultural landscapes as living landscapes has recast ideas of historical integrity and “authenticity.” If we acknowledge that change is inherent in living landscapes, then how do we safeguard something that by definition changes? And in the context of change, where does authenticity lie? Abstracts should address issues of integrity and authenticity in landscapes that continue to change and which reflect the changes in the lives of the people who inhabit them, including historic urban landscapes, agricultural landscapes, indigenous cultural landscapes, and other living landscapes.
Cultural landscapes embody tangible as well as intangible heritage, and are a combined expression of both. Various forms of traditional knowledge shape landscapes and are therefore a vital topic in cultural landscape research and practice. Abstracts should address case studies and research in traditional landscape management practices; layers of meaning ascribed to landscapes that have been lost or are contested; proxemics patterns and their influence on power and social structure; ephemeral landscapes and landscapes of change; agricultural landscapes; indigenous landscapes; and other examples of intangible heritage in cultural landscapes.
Climate change, environmental degradation, and goals for an increasingly sustainable future affect cultural landscape research and practice in many ways. Abstracts should address heritage planning in relation to climate change, the integration of sustainable food systems in cultural landscape management, cultural landscapes as infrastructure, and sustainable technology in landscape conservation.
Submission of Abstracts
- This conference will be open to the public and will explore the theme of “Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Values” as described above. Papers selected will be the basis of twenty-minute presentations followed by discussion. To propose a symposium, paper, or poster for one of the four sub-themes listed above, please submit an abstract (maximum 200 words) HERE by January 15, 2015. No more than one abstract will be accepted per author (you may submit a second if you are not the principal author). Proposals will be selected through a blind peer review by the conference committee. Authors will be notified of the Program Committee’s decision by February 1, 2015.
- Registration for the conference will open soon. Stay tuned!