The 2nd International Conference on Best Practices in World Heritage: People and Communities aims to create a meeting point on the management of tangible and intangible properties inscribed as World Heritage from the point of view of those who participate and coexist with them.
We have included the term “people” in the first place because we are not interested just in communities. We believe people are present at every place: unknown people who are interested in the historical, cultural, archaeological, anthropological, architectural, landscape, or immaterial values; people who may have different perspectives from the academic or specialized ones, who value their past from other perspectives and also people who live there and feel or appreciate what is known as cultural property in the specialized world. Without these people, in favor or not of the more traditional Cultural Heritage vision, everything in this context would be meaningless... there would be no justification in protecting these elements of the past, and at the same time, nothing would justify that Menorca, as many other sites, is running to be included in the tentative list of World Heritage and is involved again in a Conference on the matter, in the race to become World Heritage which will expose the Island to the world.
World Heritage is again the main topic of reflection in this event, as was in the last Conference, and since the Conference is organized by the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, and sponsored by the Consell Insular de Menorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), it reinforces the aim of this island to become a reference place for studies on the treatment of World Heritage sites inscribed by UNESCO. We know that being World Heritage has changed a lot when compared to those first properties inscribed as World Heritage in 1978. Today, there are many more sites and the list does not stop growing... In the previous Conference we worked on this fact, but reality is imposing and we have to go beyond mere criticism to imbalances, colonial discourses and other problems that have been reported on numerous occasions: this time, we seek to highlight the socially constructive aspect of being World Heritage.
Promoting research in World Heritage from a global perspective and not commissioned by UNESCO continues to be our goal. For more than ten years, the "Archaeological heritage" research group at the Complutense University of Madrid, works in projects on archaeological management and World Heritage, involving people from several national and international research centers and administration bodies (www.parquecipamu.es). With our work we want to improve the treatment given to these exceptional cultural assets.
The focus of this second Conference is on social action, i.e. the involvement of citizens in the heritage assets. We aim to accomplish new readings on what being World Heritage means and work with the people who do not know it, or do not perceive it in the same way, because we think they should be included in UNESCO discourses and should be heard and considered in dealing with their past.
In this Conference, the people behind the properties have to be the protagonists, and we have to channel the acquired knowledge and shape it so that it allows us to collaborate, creating opportunities for understanding and being able to develop practical experiences; that is, to move from thought into action.
Once again, the Conference and the impact it will have on the world will be, without a doubt, an important point in favor of Menorca’s nomination for its prehistoric monuments to become World Heritage (http://www.biosferamenorca.org/Contingut.aspx?IdPub=557).
The Conference is starting already. Using the social networks, spaces are generated that will become the first virtual records with your contributions. We want the people who live or appreciate Menorca to have an active role in the Conference, with participatory experiences that we will be announced and repeated or expanded during the Conference.
The Conference proceedings will be indexed in the Conference Proceedings Citation accessed via the ISI Web of Science, and should be ready before the Conference starts. Sessions, and lectures will be included, giving special attention to roundtables, chaired by people of our committees and with the active participation of the participants attending the Conference.
Organizing a conference with participatory experiences means that we are open to suggestions, new activities and forms of work. All of this will be updated through the social networks.
We welcome you!
José Ramón Bauzá Díaz
President of Govern de les Illes Balears
Santiago Tadeo Florit
President of Consell Insular de Menorca
José Carrillo Menéndez
Rector of Universidad Complutense de Madrid
General Director of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Miguel Ángel Recio
General Director of Bellas Artes, Bienes Culturales y de Archivos y Bibliotecas. Ministry of Culture.
Gustavo M. Araoz.
President of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
Maria Rosa Suárez-Inclán.
President of Spanish Committee of International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
Mayor of Sintra. President of Organización Ciudades Patrimonio Mundial (OCPM)