Preserving Transcultural Heritage: Your way or my way?

School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon (Portugal),
July 5 – 08, 2016
Call for Sessions, Deadline: March 31, 2016


At a time of generalized globalization, which generates more and more miscegenation at almost every level of our existence, cultural
frontiers also tend to fade substantially. This has motivated a growing reaction to defend several unique cultural heritages, considered
exceptional, identifying elements with irreplaceable value from societies and collectivities that created them. However, this same
globalization that began centuries ago with trade, technology, culture, politics and military exchanges between different people, increasing
progressively its intensity until the present, became itself originator of a heritage created exactly in the meeting of cultures. This new
transcultural heritage (or hybrid heritage) presents a whole range of different complexities that could make the safeguarding and
preservation for the coming generations complicated.

Among the vast cultural heritage resulting from fusions and re-appropriations between different cultures, architectural heritage
stands out as one of the most visible and tangible signs of any culture: cities, temples, fortifications, public works or merely common
houses, among many other built structures. Many times in history this “crossbred heritage” was deliberately abandoned or destroyed because of
negative symbolisms associated to it, but also obliterated or distorted because of functional or ideological reasons, or simply by ignorance
from whoever tried to protect it.

Whatever are the causes, the fact is that transcultural architectural heritage, created in the conjugation of cultures, still is endangered
nowadays, and problems concerning on its patrimonial preservation continue to be more relevant than ever. This is also due to
globalization, which imposes new conditionings and contextualization, demanding new ways to deal with them.

As a matter of fact, questions concerning the safeguarding of this kind of heritage involve a vast set of themes: the intense polemic about the
preservation of architectural structures, the memory of which can allude symbolically to cultures considered as oppressors; the debate on
authenticity, generated by confrontations between patrimonial values coming from cultures involved in the creation of each particular
transcultural heritage – which could differ substantially, and therefore should be taken into consideration in the moment it is
decided how to act to preserve that heritage –; the problematic related to migratory fluxes; the ideological instrumentalisation of
architectural heritage; the touristic commercialization of cultural monuments; and several other related themes demanding further debate on

There is an ambition to encourage the dialogue about this matter, which assumed particular relevance for the world heritage panorama. It aims
to stimulate the knowledge of paradigmatic cases, the interchange of experiences, the exposure of problems and solutions, and the increase
of potential collaborations that can be helpful instruments for the safeguarding of unique transcultural heritages, many times ignobly
vandalized, unwisely neglected, irretrievably adulterated or harmfully over-exploited.

Hence, all the concerned community is invited to participate in the International Congress Preserving transcultural heritage: your way or
my way?, opened to academic scholars and specialist technicians, to policy makers and to all of society. The congress will take place in
Lisbon, between 05 and 08 July 2017, with the organisation of the ARTIS – Institute of History of Art | School of Arts and Humanities of the
University of Lisbon and the ICOMOS Portugal. All the researchers, specialists and other stakeholders are invited to participate in this

The ARTIS – Institute of History of Art, School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon and the ICOMOS Portugal are pleased to
invite all the researchers, specialists and other stakeholders to participate in the International Congress Preserving transcultural
heritage: your way or my way?, which will take place in Lisbon, between 05 and 08 July 2017.

The organisation encourages multidisciplinary and international research on the safeguarding of transcultural heritage (architecture,
urbanism, archaeology, landscapes and decorative arts in built heritage). Therefore, the organisation will give priority to sessions
co-organised by scholars from different universities and countries, especially those belonging to cultures that created specific
transcultural heritages (each session should have at least two organisers).

Major thematic headlines:

1. Questions on authenticity between different cultures, when focusing the safeguarding of transcultural architectural heritage
– The debate on the confrontation between image value, historicity value, technological value and other values, when focusing the
safeguarding of transcultural architectural heritage (for instance: prevalence of the image in Eastern cultures versus prevalence of the
material in Western cultures versusprevalence of ancestral built technologies in developing countries, and what is the prevalent value
when acting in transcultural built structures)
– Idiosyncrasies in patrimonial actions performed in architectural structures inside transcultural contexts (for instance: in
Portuguese-Chinese heritage, in Indian-British heritage, in French-Maghreb heritage, etc.)

2. The evolution of the patrimonial conscience inside different cultures concerning the transcultural architectural heritage
– Theories of restoration and conservation and its implications and applications in the safeguarding of the architectural heritage originated in the fusion of cultures.
– Architects, restorers, safeguarding policies and paradigmatic case studies of actions on the transcultural architectural heritage

3. Controversies on the relevance of conserving transcultural architectural heritage associated to dominant foreign cultures
– Polemics about the preservation of undesirable memories from cultures considered invaders/oppressors (for instance: European colonial
heritage in Asia and Africa, Ottoman heritage in Maghreb and Middle East, Muslim heritage in Iberian Peninsula, Japanese heritage in China, Nazi heritage in Central Europe, Soviet heritage in countries of
Eastern Europe, etc.)
– Safeguarding of architectural heritage belonging to ethnic and religious minorities inside countries with dominant cultures (for
instance: Christian heritage in the Middle East, pré-Colombian heritage in America, aborigine heritage in Australia, Jewish heritage in Europe,
– The ideological instrumentalization of transcultural architectural heritage as nacionalist or regional claims, and the politicized
(re)construction of the Past (for instance: Portuguese colonial heritage in Africa, Roman heritage in Romania, Hellenic heritage in
Asia, Hindustani heritage restored under British rule, etc.)

4. Globalization and its repercussions for the safeguarding of transcultural architectural heritage
– The safeguarding of transcultural architectural heritage generated by international and inter-regional migratory fluxes (for instance:
heritage with African origin in America and Europe, Muslim heritage in European countries, Asian heritage in American countries, Indian
heritage outside India, etc.)
– Hesitations on the preservation of recent architectural heritage (from Modernism to contemporaneity) of uncertain character: regional
circumscribed, international standardized or intercultural miscegenated
– The growing commercialization of transcultural architectural heritage and the conflict between cultural tourism as creator of synergies for
its maintenance and as potential threat to its safeguarding

5. Other relevant themes

Session proposals are welcome until 31 March 2016. Please submit your session by sending the proposal to
(see the submission guidelines above).

The proposals will be selected by the Scientific Committee on the basis of merit and the need to organize a well-balanced programme, according
to the following criteria: relevance, innovation, scientific quality and organisation of the session. On 30 April chairs will be notified regarding acceptance of their session and will receive further instructions.


Download the submission template and fill it with the following data:
– Title of the session, with 15 words maximum;
– Description of the proposed session with 300-500 words, clearly mentioning important key issues such as the leading subject, the
scientific significance of the session, the goals intended to be achieved, and a list of possible themes that could fit in the debate intended to be promoted in the proposed session.
– Three to five keywords;
– Personal data (name, professional affiliation, mail and email addresses, and telephone contact of both session organisers);
– Short biography of the organisers, with no more than 300 words each.

The session organisers are responsible for:

– Selecting the proposed abstracts to integrate their session, according to the scientific quality and thematic relevance, in collaboration with the – Scientific Committee;
– Reviewing, in collaboration with the Scientific Committee, the papers accepted in their session, in order to assist the authors to improve
their communications, and to prepare the papers to be published in the book of proceeding of the congress;
– Informing the paper applicants about the acceptance or the (justified) rejection of their proposal;
– Reminding the paper authors about their duties (deadlines for paper submission, maximum length of their presentation, etc.) and distributing the session abstracts among them;

– Chairing the session, including an introduction of the session theme and aims, a short introduction of each author, the management of the time schedule, a brief reflexion on the presented papers in the end, and the lead of the final debate.

– Session organisers are not allowed to present papers in their own session. If there are insufficient papers in a session, it may be cancelled by the Scientific Committee after the deadline for abstract submissions.

Session organisers are expected to have their own support to register, for travel and for accommodation.
For further questions, please contact the organisation.

Contact Info:
Inês Cristóvão
Executive Committee


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