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International Scientific Conference:

Modern Heritage – Identifying, Assessing and Managing its Protection  and Conservation
Florence, March 10-13, 2016 (Auditorium al Duomo, via de’ Cerretani 54/r

International Scientific Committee for Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration
International Scientific Committee Twentieth Century Heritage

Conference promoters:


–       International Scientific Committee for Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration
–       International Scientific Committee Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC 20C)
–       Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco-Life Beyond Tourism
The contemporary definition of heritage significance is very broad and diversified. Types of heritage can be very different contemporary sites/objects/places – the rules and limitations concerning age, substance, function or artistic value vary from country to country. Contemporary conservation theory accepts all forms of place-bound historical objects, and aims at defining the rules of its protection and management. The modern heritage is a particularly challenging problem. Even setting straight the typology and terminology for the heritage of the 20th century evokes discussion. Thus, the term “modern heritage” should be understood in a broad sense, as a definition of the whole set of monuments, places and sites created by the culture of the 20th century, whose significance earns them the status of heritage.

Do we need to define the criteria to select modern heritage places/ elements/objects, which should be granted the heritage status of listed properties, or are the selection criteria the same for all types of heritage, whatever its age?

International discussion about criteria and significance is timely, because the process of creating and destroying the product of the material culture has accelerated considerably in our globalized world. Currently, there is a great diversity of approaches to defining an appropriate time distance, which in the past allowed to evaluate the elements/objects of value to be protected.

Previous ICOMOS research amongst its members has demonstrated the variety of selection criteria and approaches to modern heritage management presented in the Montreal Action Plan (MAP) project that was shared amongst all ICOMOS national committees in 2001.

As local, national and World Heritage identification of modern heritage places increases, the ICOMOS ISC20C has developed guidelines and research to assist. Currently ISC20C is developing a thematic framework for Twentieth Century Heritage to assist in providing a contextual basis for comparing and verifying the significance of sites, working with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). Nowadays the process of assessing the value of pieces of heritage is carried out more quickly, and it is so important to discuss and define the criteria and the methodology to assess the value of potential heritage – this is also a challenge for the conservation theory.

In 2014 the ISC20C published The “Madrid Document – Approaches for the Conservation of Twentieth Century Architectural Heritage”, which was presented to the ICOMOS General Assembly in Florence as a contribution to clarify this issue. It sets out a clear methodology to protect and manage the elements/objects considered as the modern heritage. It has been translated into twelve languages and can be downloaded from http://icomos-isc20c.org/id13.html

The Madrid Document is currently the focus of expansion in collaboration with ISCs IFLA and CIVVIH to broaden its scope to cover cultural landscapes and urban ensembles.

Moreover a very difficult task is to define rules and standards to regulate the protection of the modern heritage and to develop common objectives and principles for the conservation and restoration of this younger cultural heritage. Previous meetings about conserving modern heritage have considered  questions of practice and theory, such as The Colloquium to Advance Practice in the Conservation of Modern Heritage in 2013, which can be downloaded at http://www.getty.edu/conservation/our_projects/field_projects/cmai/colloquium_report.pdf

It is the consideration of the Theory ISC that the traditional and strict protection rules, prevailing in the protection of historical monuments, could be directly used only in some assets of the protection and conservation of modern heritage. These problems are caused by the differences in the technical, functional, design profiles of modern and pre-modern heritage like traditional monuments of art and history and historical sites. The ISC20C welcomes broad international discussion of these issues.

The Theory Committee proposed that a joint ISC meeting to further discuss and elaborate key issues concerning the protection and management of the modern heritage would be timely in Europe. These issues include a:
–       Typology and terminology of the heritage of the 20th century, including “dark heritage” of war and dictatorship
–       Criteria of selection of the heritage of the 20th century
–       Evaluation of mass / serial production and of standardized products of the 20th century
–       The value of thematic historic frameworks
–       Approaches to conservation of the heritage of the 20th century
–       Forms of protection of monuments and sites, including spacious urban, industrial and cultural landscape heritage areas of the 20th century
–       What constitutes excellent examples of protection/adaptation/conservation of the heritage of the 20th century

Elaboration of the above-mentioned issues by a joint conference of ISC20C and Theory Committee members will assist and develop the efficient protection of the modern heritage in the 21st century.

The International Scientific Committee for Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration in collaboration with the International Scientific Committee Twentieth Century Heritage and the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco-Life Beyond Tourism is organizing the International conference entitled “Modern Heritage – Identifying, Assessing and Managing its Protection and Conservation” (Florence, 10th-13th March, 2015). .
The aim of the conference is to share current state-of-the-art practice in identifying assessing and managing modern heritage, in particular concerning the criteria and methodology of selection of modern heritage as well as the forms of its protection, conservation and management.

In compliance with the aim of the conference and the tasks of the organizers, the presentations should lead to conclusions, which can be used to develop the contemporary conservation theory and practice regarding the modern heritage.

The conference will be organized as three thematic sessions.

1.      The identification and assessment evaluation processes for selection of modern heritage sites and places as an object of protection.
2.      Analysis and proposals of rules/methods/forms of protection of  modern heritage sites and  places.
Presentation and critical analysis of examples of excellence and protection/conservation/adaptation and interpretation of modern heritage

This meeting falls under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by ICOMOS and the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco of Florence in Paris, 4th March 2013, which recognizes special conditions for organizing the annual meetings of all the ICOMOS ISCs in one of the Foundation’s venues, in Florence.
Besides, accomplishing with the 18th ICOMOS General Assembly Resolution n, 42/2014, the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco and the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration (TheoPhilos) are pleased to invite Observers to attend this international conference.
Renowned  specialists and experts from all over the world will deliver reports at the conference. The participation of external Observers (young researchers and scholars in particular) is welcome and a special section of the program will be just dedicated to Q&A; this will provide an extraordinary opportunity for upgrading skill and knowledge in conservation and restoration and for extending professional and scientific contacts.

Papers proposals should be sent in summary form up to 2 pages (summary developed in the form of separate subsections or bullet points will facilitate the understanding of the idea of the paper).
Proposals for papers should include nomination of which of the three thematic session to which they refer.

Please send the paper proposals up to January 18th, 2016 to the following addresses: isctheory@gmail.com  and isc20c@icomos-isc20c.org

Scientific reviewers from both committees will select the papers to be presented at the conference – the conference materials will be published as the reviewed monograph.

Authors of papers will be notified of the reviewers’ decisions up to January 30th, 2015.

For additional information please send the questions to:  isctheory@gmail.com

We encourage you to submit paper proposals,

We invite you to participate in the conference