Bringing together international heritage professionals and communities - Participating to the 21st General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) -

23 Sep 2023

From August 31st to September 9th, the 21st Regular General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) was held in Sydney, Australia. Sojeong Kang and Hyeonji Kong, Programme Specialists of the Center's Research and Development Office, participated in the event. ICOMOS is one of the advisory bodies of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, an expert NGO established to preserve and conserve the cultural heritage of the international communities. This year's ICOMOS GA held both bureau meetings and Scientific Symposiums and side events such as poster sessions and a young professionals forum.

ICOMOS General Assembly

Before joining the on-site event, WHIPIC gave presentations on research outcomes at the ICOMOS ICIP(International Committee on Interpretation and Presentation) Symposium on August 30th. Ms. Kang presented why we need a new definition of heritage interpretation and presentation and what WHIPIC is working on for this research question. According to her presentation, although various definitions exist across the world, they do not respond spontaneously to the changes in the heritage field, such as the growth of digital and virtual heritage after the COVID-19 pandemic, broader uses of social media in any age, and changing paradigms in heritage communities as well. This is when we should have in-depth discussions on the core aspect of heritage interpretation and presentation that WHIPIC believes the meaning-making process promotes connections between people and heritage.

ICOMOS General Assembly

Ms. Kong's presentation focused on "Attributes", a fundamental subject of World Heritage nomination and management processes. As an essential part of World Heritage interpretation, attribute mapping is necessarily asked for by the State Parties for a part of Preliminary Assessment process in the nomination process of the year 2028. In the presentation, she explained the concept of "attributes" and how attribute mapping should be done for World Heritage properties during and even after the nomination process. Through her research, finding ways to improve the attribute mapping process, methodologies, and even the notions of "attributes" itself would be possible.

ICOMOS General Assembly

In this 21st GA Scientific Symposium, the main themes were 'Resilience,' 'Responsibility,' 'Rights,' and 'Relationship,' with individual programmes focused on 'Indigenous Heritage,' 'Culture-Nature Journey,' 'Heritage for Climate,' 'Heritage as Sustainability,' and 'Digital Heritage.' The ICOMOS GA in Sydney, taken over by ICOMOS Australia, notably presented numerous Australian cases that uncovered the diverse heritage values through interpretation and presentation involving the community and indigenous people.

ICOMOS General Assembly

By participating in various activities at the ICOMOS assembly, WHIPIC understand academic trends and paradigm, crucial topics, and research outcomes related to heritage and World Heritage. We also received feedback on the WHIPIC’s main activities and future research directions through meetings and networking with international heritage professionals. As we advance, WHIPIC will continue exploring and sharing academic achievements in various fields in cultural heritage, natural heritage, and museums. WHIPIC will also strive to lay the theoretical foundation for heritage interpretation and find policy solutions, enabling more heritage communities to speak up for their voice.

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