Topics: Forum of Young Researchers and Professionals

Participants

Registration at the Forum is limited

  • At young researchers and professionals from all fields of study 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.
  • With the combined registration (General Assembly and Forum), a participation certificate will be required to access the scientific conference as well as the members meeting.

THINKING TOGETHER ABOUT SPIRIT OF PLACE  

Spirit of place remains central in the presentation and valorisation of tangible and intangible heritage. But how can it be identified and brought to the fore?

Spirit of place cannot be defined in a simplistic manner because it is made up of multiple factors that determine the very nature and character of a place – such as its history, the remnants of the former practices and beliefs of its successive inhabitants, the events that took place there, the activities held there, the people who live there and finally the governing authorities. It is this complex interaction between multiple factors and the uniqueness of place that will be at the heart of discussions throughout the Forum.

Moreover, though the place itself may indeed radiate spirit, everyone does not perceive this spirit in the same way. It is apprehended and interpreted by each individual depending on who they are, what they are currently experiencing and their past experience, according to their culture, values, beliefs and even their temperament or state of mind. For this reason, can it not be said that a place possesses not just one but indeed a number of spirits of place?

Tourism, religious practices, migration and globalization, for example, are all factors that influence how spirit of place manifests itself. They constantly reshape it and give it its complexity and depth. In truth, spirit of place is not inanimate, permanent and static, but alive and in constant evolution. In other words, spirit of place is continually being shaped and transformed by the relationships it maintains with those who, when contemplating the value of this cultural heritage, discover the presence of the spirit that inhabits it.

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SPECIFIC THEMES

1- The role of memory

Acknowledging the role played by memory in defining the spirit of place is an interesting opening topic. Places and material objects are bearers of memory, which at the same time help shape it. Memory can be “happy,” as the inexpressible joy Proust experiences tasting a Madeleine perfectly illustrates, or “sad,” as so aptly evoked by the Berlin Wall. Do spirit of place and memory not spring from the same source?

Key words: memory, forgetting, mnemonic tools, mourning, commemorative uses, monuments and toponymy.

2- The fragility of spirit of place

To understand the fragility of a place, we must first recognize the threats to which the spirit that inhabits it is exposed. All causes of deterioration to a place of historic value are a threat to its spirit. Participants are thus invited to assess the consequences of both human and natural catastrophes (war, hurricanes, earthquakes, abandonment, vandalism, migration, globalization and new technologies) for heritage sites. Could it not be said that heritage sites, as the bearers of memory of a specific people and sometimes even of all mankind, are perfect targets?

Key words: physical and construction qualities, deterioration, destruction, tourism, transformation, climatic factors, fragility and new technologies.

3- Safeguarding and transmitting the spirit of place

This workshop will enable participants to examine the stakes underlying the strategies developed for protecting and valorising heritage sites so as to determine which avenues are most likely to bring to light their inherent spirit. Could new technologies be used to establish closer ties between the spirit of place and the users of a place? Would it be possible to manipulate the debate on spirit of place? Does archaeological research bring to light or rather dispel the spirit of place? Could spirit of place become a source of inspiration when integrating new architecture in historical centres? Can the spirit of place survive without tradition bearers?

Key words: conservation practices, restoration, tradition bearers, inventory, characterization, regulation, transmission and protection.

 

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