ICOMOS-ICIP (International Committee on Interpretation and Presentation) Academic Symposium

28 Aug 2023

- Definitions and concepts of interpretation and presentation, and attribute extraction as heritage interpretation


Various academic events and workshops of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committees are scheduled to be held in Sydney, Australia, from September 1-8, coinciding with the ICOMOS General Assembly. The ICOMOS-ICIP (International Committee on Interpretation and Presentation) will host an academic symposium on 'Key Issues in Heritage Interpretation' on August 30 before the opening of the General Assembly. At this symposium, Sojeong Kang and Hyeonji Kong, Programmes Specialists of WHIPIC will share the outcomes of theoretical research on interpretation and interpretation policy research conducted by WHIPIC over the past two years.

In her presentation titled "New Definitions of Heritage Interpretation and Presentation,“ Sojeong will share some of the results of the Centre’s research. She will share how the two terms are used in the field of World Heritage, the challenges of applying the definition ratified by ICOMOS in 2008 to the current year of 2023. She will also address how they aim to distinguish between interpretation and presentation and delve into the interrelationship between these two concepts. It will be based on a working group discussions dedicated to the theoretical research. Importantly, with the new conceptual definition, Sojeong will raise the question of how to address the issue of 'different interpretations' among various stakeholders.

Hyeonji is presenting the concept of attributes titled "World Heritage Interpretation: Extracting Attributes as Part of the Interpretation," aiming to introduce the theme of "attributes" as a means to convey the value of World Heritage. Previously, the extraction of attributes was conducted to understand the impact of specific developmental activities on World Heritage. However, since 2028, the extraction of attributes is now required even before the Preliminary Assessment stage for potential World Heritage site listings. Hyeonji will share a literature review on the concept and definition of attributes as part of heritage interpretation and their function in the World Heritage process. Furthermore, she will share methodologies for identifying attributes that can recognize values beyond OUV (Outstanding Universal Value), which has been discussed with interpretation policy research working group.


As the role of interpretation and presentation becomes increasingly significant within the World Heritage system, there is a growing demand for proper definitions and concepts of interpretation and presentation, and the guidelines and protocols for policy implementation are needed.

The insights shared by the two specialists at the ICOMOS-ICIP symposium will address the key issues in the interpretation field, not only for World Heritage but also for heritage in general. It is anticipated that the discussions will provide an opportunity to contemplate together on the future of heritage interpretation.

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