Keynote Abstracts

Keynote Address – Sir Neil Cossons OBE (UK/TICCIH)

‘Cultures, Communities and Conservation: a future for global heritage’

Globalisation has been a gathering force for over three hundred years, affecting communities throughout the world. Mass migrations of people, the mercantile and industrial revolutions, as well as imperial ambitions, have led on the one hand to the progressive erosion of indigenous character and distinctiveness and on the other to the creation of a new world order typified by the growth of intercontinental markets, new forms of commercial dependency culture, and the novel communities that derive from them. The demographic issues that arise from this mean that for the first time in human history more people on the planet are now urban dwellers than live in rural landscapes.

This has profound implications for cultures, communities and the future of their heritage. At a local level we see small communities in decline in the face of the pull of the city, industrial communities overtaken and marginalised by new technologies elsewhere. The heritage of these relict landscapes is frequently rich but the economic capacity to secure their futures often fragile. In this lecture Neil Cossons will address issues of the conservation of the heritage of globalisation, from World Heritage sites and traditional towns, industrial archaeology and the cult of the ruin.

Plenary Speaker – Deborah Boden, Post Grad Dip Mus Studies

‘A Living Legacy – the interaction of Cornish mining heritage and contemporary culture’

The paper will summarise how the counties of Cornwall and west Devon, UK, are profiting from their extensive, globally significant, mining landscapes and the cultural traditions of the society that created them, and in particular how World Heritage Site status has contributed to this.

Beginning with a brief explanation of the Outstanding Universal Values of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, and how these are relevant today, the paper will go on to identify how the Site’s management plan is helping local people to achieve their social and economic aspirations.

World Heritage Site status has been a significant factor in attracting major capital investment for preservation and conservation works – over £70 million during the last 10 years. This has enabled their reuse as marketable “assets” – whether through sensitive adaptation of industrial buildings for new economic activities or by creating a network of historic mining landscape features that is being presented as a new tourism destination offer, with funding from the European Union.

In addition to supporting this physical renewal, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site has been stimulating cultural activities that celebrate the people that created the mining landscape. This has included investing in;

• the continuation of customs and cultural traditions that personify the mining communities

• the presentation of stories about the mining landscape and the people who shaped it, using drama, dance and music

• the creation of mass participation events that draw new audiences and increase awareness of mining heritage

The impact of the pursuing the WHS management plan, and the need to widen community involvement in management of mining heritage to ensure its survival, will be discussed.

Plenary Speaker – Gerald T. Takano, AIA

‘Beyond Sentiment: Financing the Rehabilitation and Restoration of Historic Company Towns’

The study and research of American company towns and industrial sites have traditionally concentrated on historical, architectural, political and social developments. The ascent and success of these places, during historical periods of economic diversification and the search for new lands and resources, are adequately recorded. From sugar plantations to the logging industry a wealth of information is accessible to document past achievements, utopian paternalism and welfare capitalism of the era’s industrial expansion. What is unfortunately missing, however, are current case studies for the funding of the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of former company towns and industrial sites especially in a declining and changing economic environment. Without major supplemental financial resources and fiscal sustainability, these places will vanish or be transformed radically. Dependence on governmental protection, subsidies and punitive measures are insufficient to maintain and revive physical entities continually threatened with insensitive alterations, redevelopment or demolition. Unlike individual building or structures, the survival of entire historic towns or industrial complexes, with multiple contributing resources and antiquated infrastructures, requires new realistic objectives.

This presentation will primarily assess selected California sites challenged with new social attitudes, a weakened American economy and decades of car-oriented, suburban planning directives. The conflicts, collaborations and problem-solving solutions among citizens, government and developers will also be explored. Examples will include the San Francisco Presidio, a former military-industrial community, and the collective resources of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings of the privately owned lumber mill towns of Samoa and Scotia, California. These towns provide a study of funding constraints and opportunities in achieving historic preservation and conservation within economically depressed regions and economies. Samoa pursues a complex and controversial development plan process while Scotia recently received approval to subdivide the town into various parcels. Ongoing conflicts and disagreements, erupting over the redevelopment of these towns, have resulted in years of inactivity and delayed development.

The fundamental purpose of the presentation is to identify workable strategies to minimize further erosion and degradation of the sites’ fabric and authenticity when public fiscal resources are extremely limited and governmental requirements and restrictions remain arduous and formidable. All case study examples require fiscal responsibility — support and commitment must be secured from the private sector as well as from policy makers and community advocates.

Plenary Speaker – Prof Peter Spearritt, BA (Hons) Syd, PhD (ANU), M.ICOMOS

In summing up the conference, Peter Spearritt will also draw on research about how Broken Hill has been portrayed over the last hundred years, and make some remarks about current and potential tourism. While industrial heritage has its fans, including him, the general public can be slow to appreciate its significance. And then there are the transport constraints on isolated settlements in Australia, where state governments, the federal government and airlines are inclined to turn a blind eye.