Sunday, 13 April 2014

Abstracts: 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development' (16 & 17 May 2014 at the UCL Institute of Archaeology)

The Institute of Archaeology Annual Conference 2014 'The impact of cross-disciplinary conservation on social development' has now released a tentative timetable.  

The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, 16 & 17 May 2014, at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in Lecture Theatre G6 from 8:30 to 18:00.  Conference posters will be on display all day Friday in room 612.

You can book your tickets here!


Naseer Arafat (Arafat Soap Factory, Palestine)
Restoration in a crisis area: a struggle towards development
Arafat discusses restoration works of Old Nablus in three periods of its history: 1994-2000, under the management of the Municipality of Nablus; 2000-2008, when efforts were mainly focused on reconstruction and emergency work to maintain historic buildings from falling; and 2008 to the present, which coincides with the return of relative political stability and when conservation management is focused on the needs of the local population and empowerment of major stakeholders.

Jody Butterworth (British Library, UK)
The Endangered Archives Programme (EAP): a global approach to saving vulnerable material
Butterworth discusses EAP’s aims to raise awareness of vulnerable material and encourage initiatives that will combat further loss and destruction. The project promotes a better understanding of archival standards, particularly of cataloguing and preservation as well as promoting scholarship and research of previously scarcely known archives. The paper discusses and compares several past projects where true partnership and training have taken place and produced successful outcomes for all parties concerned, both locally and abroad.

Miriam Clavir (Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada)
Conservation and collaboration
Clavir reviews changes in the last thirty years, using Canada as an example, that have prompted conservation’s material-based field to incorporate values related to the intangible attributes of objects in museum collections. The following questions are then asked: today, are the conservation field’s own self-image of what we do, the idea employers have of our competencies, and what is taught in our conservation training programs, sufficiently addressing concerns indigenous people have voiced in relation to the preservation of their belongings?  In addition, can we say that collaboration is now a recognized conservation skill?  She will illustrate three examples where relationships are part of a project’s goal, not just conservation.

Chris Collins (Natural History Museum, London, UK)
Building Bridges between communities through Conservation, Anthropology and Natural Sciences
This presentation will discuss conservation work that engages a range of cultural groups from around the world with collections of natural history research objects. The paper compares and contrasts the influence of conservation and exhibition on these groups and the bridges that are built through an understanding of the object and its values to a specific community.  The paper finally contrasts the differing expectations around the world of cultures to Natural Science Collections and how interaction with different communities has changed our conservation practice.

Anne-Marie Deisser (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
Cultural and natural heritage conservation: cross-disciplinary perspectives
Deisser discusses the ways in which conservators’ ideas about culture and nature, and their potential partnership are mediated, shaped, negotiated and contested through legal issues, ethics, local politics, and respective ‘traditions’. Conservation is explored as a cultural practice, which is conceived, debated, developed and performed in partnership, as a cross-disciplinary response to international and local crisis of politics and/or of socio-cultural values. In these contexts, conservators are concerned with assessing, modifying, and/or integrating sustainable practices into their particular settings and seek what partnerships between ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ can offer.

Dinah Eastop (National Archives, UK)
Learning from archives: integrating preservation and access
Eastop introduces the inter-disciplinary approach to conservation (understood as investigation, preservation and presentation) adopted at The National Archives (UK) and links it to the democratic mandate of the institution. The paper highlights the underpinning conceptual and practical approaches used to make conservation sustainable by integrating strategies for preservation and access. It demonstrates the engagement of local groups in the development of archival records, the democratic ethos of The National Archives, and how this ethos is manifested in practice. The main conclusion is that the archive sector can provide excellent models for managing cultural heritage in a way that is sustainable in environmental, social and economic terms.

Pieta Greaves, Simon Cane, David Symons, Cathy Shingler and Elizabeth Thatcher (Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, UK)
The Staffordshire Hoard Conservation Programme and the Mercian Trail: reaffirming regional pride in our Anglo-Saxon past
The authors explore the long-term impact of the Staffordshire Hoard on the English Midlands region, and examine how the hoard conservation programme, in collaboration with the Mercian Trail, is using the enthusiasm for the Anglo-Saxon past generated by the hoard to create new opportunities for social and economic development at a regional level. Central to this, the conservation programme has developed new ways to share the conservation process with several groups. The talk provides a glimpse into the way conservation can sit within a project and help to illustrate different aspects of a project other than the objects themselves.

Adam Guy (University College London, UK)
Engaging the public with landscape scale conservation
Adam Guy’s paper illustrates some misconceptions associated with peri-urban spaces by considering the land along the Tidal Thames Estuary. Territory, both terrestrial and marine, marked as empty on most maps, is actually an intensively contested landscape under pressure from competing claimants.  In an economic and political climate where government increasingly delegates conservation decisions to governance partnerships, informing the public about longer-term policy options becomes crucial.  The Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) approach is to take the public out into the field to celebrate often-overlooked landscapes, and discuss concepts and challenges in situ. The paper discusses emerging practices of landscape-scale stewardship, and ways to involve the public in future planning and development.

Dana Goodburn-Brown (CSI: Sittingbourne Project, UK)
Conservation as a retail opportunity
Goodburn-Brown discusses the original motivations, operational logistics, and issues of long term sustainability for the shopping mall conservation project, CSI: Sittingbourne. This is an archaeological conservation partnership, which originated following the unexpected discovery of a large high status 6th-7th century Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Kent, England. The paper presents views on how the project fits into a niche within the changing role of town centre shopping precincts - providing an interesting, participatory, social and educational venue for the community. It also discusses how the project partners worked together to create an innovative exhibition and conservation facility to conserve the 2,500 grave finds.

Jessica S. Johnson, Brian M. Lione, and Kim Cullen Cobb (University of Delaware and Smithsonian Institution, USA)
The role of conservation education in reconciliation: the example of the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage
In recent years, many governments have been funding cultural heritage preservation in the aftermath of conflict and other disasters.  This paper examines the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil (Iraq), as a case study in using cultural heritage education in support of reconciliation and redevelopment.  The authors discuss the collaborative development of the project, review the evolution of the educational programs over the last 5 years and the recursive approach to curriculum review and development to support a renewed community of heritage professionals in Iraq.

Catherine Magee (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
The Washoe People at Lake Tahoe: the reciprocal relationship of tourism and cultural heritage preservation
Magee highlights the tourist versus local tension expressed in the actions of local and native populations to reclaim or reassert their authority over their cultural heritage landscape from tourist use in Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada, USA.  The case study specifically focuses on the Washoe Indian tribe, examining the transition of the Lake Tahoe landscape from a Washoe summer gathering place to a shoreline occupied by tourist resorts and summer home communities.  It examines the reciprocal relationship of the Washoe to tourist sites, and the cultural and ecological implications of this relationship.  The paper culminates with the link between Washoe cultural practices and tourism at Lake Tahoe today.

Renata F Peters (University College London, UK)
Conservation and engagement
Peters examines the ways in which museums/heritage institutions and particularly conservators have been changing their attitudes and approaches to use of objects in their care, against the backdrop of an increasingly globalized world in which, counter-intuitively, individual, community and local identity are increasingly emerging. The talk explores whether conservators can take up a role of championing minorities’ aspirations without compromising conservation principles. The author  argues that conservators can only fulfil their potential when effectively engaged with key interest groups related to the collections they work on.

Elizabeth Pye (University College London, UK)
Objects and wellbeing
Pye explores the many ways in which people may value and enjoy objects, and the various ways in which they are explored and appreciated. She also discusses the effect of multiple values on conservation choices, and ways in which conservators may make this enjoyment of objects more accessible to others. She shows that objects may prompt stories – of the people who owned them, or historical events – and how these stories may affect the conservation process. The paper shows that objects should not be frozen into inactivity but should be enabled to continue providing enjoyment on many different levels.

Flavia Ravaioli (University College London, UK)
Selecting locally accessible materials for use in preventive conservation
Employing adequate materials is essential for the success and sustainability of conservation strategies. This is particularly important when working in challenging contexts, in which resources are very limited and specialised materials unavailable. In such circumstances, the attempt to apply Western standards of best practice may not be sustainable, and can disempower practitioners. This work aims to identify the major issues linked to selecting locally accessible conservation materials, and to discuss practical measures to overcome them.

Anna Teresa Ronchi (Politecnico de Milano, Italy)
Community involvement in built heritage conservation: a learning tool for local
Ronchi explores the topic of community involvement in built heritage conservation, with the aim to identify the main success factors which can emphasize mutual potentialities between conservation processes and local sustainable development. A case study (the rehabilitation of the old town of Birzeit, State of Palestine) is discussed, in which the role of local communities was emphasized through various strategies, including awareness-raising campaigns, public consultations during the planning phases and direct engagement in the practice of conservation through voluntary work and professional training. In the discussion, particular relevance is given to the organisational set-up of the project, and effectiveness and sustainability of preventive conservation are highlighted.

Manasa Sibanda (Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe)
Contesting power and knowledge in conservation: a case of  Sengwe in Zimbabwe
Indigenous or local knowledge is recognized to complement the so called modern knowledge in conservation discourse. This paper looks at the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA). It discusses ecological knowledge of the people residing in the Sengwe wildlife corridor in Zimbabwe and outlines scientific or modern approaches to conservation exercised by the GLTFCA. In so doing, it illustrates how little has changed in conservation policy from the perspective of the local people despite the paradigm shift from exclusionist approach of the colonial era to participatory rhetoric and the advent of the so called ‘Peace parks’.

Craig Spence (Bishop Grosseteste University, UK)
Open lab project: successfully addressing the skills deficit of volunteer community archaeologists in Lincolnshire
Spence discusses a programme of practical support, skills training and awareness raising among local community archaeology groups developed by a team of academics and archaeologists at Bishop Grosseteste University (Lincoln, UK). The programme, known as the ‘Open Lab Project’, successfully engaged five local groups from across the geographically extensive rural county of Lincolnshire. The aim was to provide the volunteers with the knowledge, skills and resources to work in an independent manner. Equally important outcomes were an increased sense of self-worth and physical and mental wellbeing amongst a number of the participants.

Dean Sully (University College London, UK)
Creating conservation communities
Sully discusses conservation approaches developed in partnership with communities, in order to reflect the aspirations of the participants in the conservation project. His approach validates conservation responses that seek to incorporate the multiple ways that people care for, and use their own cultural heritage. This is discussed in relation to the care of Hinemihi, the Maori meeting house at Clandon Park, a National Trust Property in the UK. The increased participation of Maori in Hinemihi’s care has resulted in a shift from a focus on the material authenticity of Hinemihi as a historic building towards a Maori view of Hinemihi as a living being and an active ceremonial meeting place.

Ephraim W. Wahome and B. Mugwima (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
Conserving for whom? Sociological impediments in heritage conservation in Kenya
Wahome and Mugwima examine the challenges experienced in the conservation of cultural materials in Kenya since independence and the contribution of communities in the systematic demise of heritage in their custody throughout the country. The talk discusses the potential causes of conflict in heritage conservation in Kenya today with emphasis on public sensitization and poverty. The authors explore existing national legal structures and their effectiveness in deterring deliberate destruction of heritage. The paper also explores the benefits of conservation for the custodians of heritage through an appreciation of the principles of human rights as entrenched in the national Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Gilbert K. Wafula (University of Nairobi, Kenya)
Archaeological heritage and public benefits: effectiveness of Kenya’s legal administrative and policy framework 
Members of the general public in many African countries share persistent social and economic challenges including poverty, illiteracy and disease. Yet, Africa possesses resources of diverse nature that could positively impact people's livelihoods. Archaeological heritage is one of these resources. The issue is who this heritage benefits and how. In a changing world where citizens are increasingly recognizing and appreciating democracy and human rights, the moral and legitimate rights of ordinary citizens in exploiting their heritage cannot be taken for granted. This paper is aimed at specifically addressing the effectiveness of Kenya's legal, administrative and policy framework in addressing public interests and needs in the exploitation of archaeological and related cultural heritage.

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