International Forum of Young Researchers and Professionals in Cultural Heritage 

Group forum


“Spirit of place, where are you?” This is the question that we will seek to answer during the International Forum of Young Researchers and Professionals in Cultural Heritage taking place at the École des Ursulines de Québec (Canada) on 27-28 September 2008, just prior to the ICOMOS 16th General Assembly (29 September to 4 October).

Invited by the Quebec-ICOMOS 2008 committee, the Cultural Heritage Institute of Université Laval, directed by Professor Laurier Turgeon, agreed to organise the first International Forum of Young Researchers and Professionals in Cultural heritage. Young researchers from the Institute acquired a solid expertise in the management of major events since this International Forum follows three international meetings of young researchers in heritage.

The Forum is aimed at young researchers and professionals from all fields of study (architecture, urban planning, geography, ethnology, archaeology, history, arts and literature, etc.) who are less than 35 years old, who are students or have graduated less than five years ago and who, thanks to their research and work, share a common interest in heritage. Participants are invited to examine the concept of spirit of place in relation to the construction of memory, and the protection and transmission of heritage.

The Forum will also provide the opportunity to assess the draft Declaration on the Spirit of Place that will be tabled for adoption at the ICOMOS General Assembly. Discussions at this forum could have an impact on the content of the Declaration. Young people are thus invited to share their experience and express their views and concerns about the sprit of place, with the goal of providing a new perspective on this subject, which plays a fundamental role in the protection and transmission of heritage.



The increasing recognition and valorisation of tangible (sites, buildings and artefacts) and intangible heritage (oral traditions, beliefs, rituals, festivals and practical knowledge and skills) observed in recent years raises the issue of their safeguard. The main objective of the Forum will therefore be to determine the attitudes that need to be adopted and the approaches and methods that could be developed to ensure that the spirit of place is integrated in the “heritagization” process, that is to say the process that leads to the recognition of the historic value of certain objects and practices and of the imperative need to ensure they are protected.

The Forum will be an opportunity for young people to exchange ideas and enrich their knowledge in the field of heritage protection. It will also give those who wish to take part in the scientific symposium organized by ICOMOS that will take place in the days following the chance to prepare. Young people will thus be able to benefit from the expertise of their predecessors and the latter will discover the new guard, who will bring a fresh ideology and new ideas. All participants can thus take advantage of a mutually rewarding experience and in doing so will be able to better assess the relevance and importance of identifying and protecting the spirit of place in their professional practices.