From 4-8 September 2023, the 21st General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) will be held in Sydney, Australia. In collaboration with the Consortium of Humanities Centres and Institutes (CHCI), the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC) is sending three humanities experts in cultural heritage to attend the General Assembly as part of its official delegation of ambassadors.
The ICOMOS ambassadors will strengthen existing networks and promote the importance of the role of universities and humanities centres in preserving and shaping ideas around cultural heritage, including non-tangible cultural heritage.
Humanities as Cultural Heritage
ICOMOS has more than 10,000 members globally – architects, historians, planners, archaeologists and other specialists – and officially advises the World Heritage Committee and national governments about heritage issues.
Universities and humanities centres, in particular, play a crucial role in the protection, conservation and management of cultural and natural heritage through research and education programs. For example, Universities have partnered with UNESCO to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge-sharing, collaborative work and increased faculty and student mobility among higher education academics and institutions throughout the world.
SSSHARC is very proud to be sending three mid-career scholars to ICOMOS Sydney, which is concerned with changing notions of heritage and cultural resilience, including responsibility, rights and relationships. Each of these researchers have extraordinary projects underway with communities across the globe for whom heritage is a lived experience.”
Increasingly, higher education institutions are partnering with cultural heritage institutions, such as museums, libraries and archives, to confront the task of how to archive and conserve digital cultural heritage for future generations of public and scholarly audiences.
Dr Louise Cooke, senior lecturer in Conservation from the University of York, is a conservation expert interested in sustainability, historic buildings, archaeological sites and landscapes. An expert member of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage, Dr Cooke has conducted desk-based reviews for World Heritage sites and volunteered as a mentor through their Emerging Professionals scheme. Dr Cooke is the Chair of Trustees for Earth Building UK and Ireland, and a trustee of the Paul Oliver Vernacular Architecture Library, as well as an advisor to the British Council, Cultural Protection Fund.
Dr Tristen Jones, lecturer in the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies program at the University of Sydney, is a cultural heritage specialist who specialises in recording and managing Australian Indigenous cultural landscapes, with a focus on rock art, intangible cultural heritage and archaeological sites. Dr Jones has active research projects Kakadu National Park, West Arnhem Land, Cape York Peninsular and metropolitan Sydney. Dr Jones has active projects with the Frobenius Institute (Frankfurt), RJM Museum (Cologne), and the Quai Branly (Paris).
Dr Natali Pearson is an early career researcher at the University of Sydney, where she researches and teaches at the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC). Dr Pearson’s research is in critical heritage studies, specialising in maritime heritage in Southeast Asia. Dr Pearson has recently published her first monograph, 'Belitung: The Afterlives of a Shipwreck' (University of Hawai'i Press, 2023), which reveals new insights into the neo-colonial attitudes that pervade international and institutional responses to heritage destruction in a Southeast Asian context.
In addition to attending and presenting at the Assembly, members of the delegation will expand their networks and act as advocates for the role of universities and humanities centres in preserving and understanding tangible and non-tangible cultural heritage.