Water heritage – a source of knowledge for sustainable development | International Conference

Tino Mager's picture
Call for Papers
September 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Historic Preservation, Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Maritime History / Studies

Thursday 11.11.2021 - Friday 12.11.2021 / European Academy Berlin

In Europe, a variety of objects, institutions and cultural practices have developed over long periods of time that serve the management of water in the broadest sense. These include drinking water supply and wastewater disposal, agriculture, flood protection, transport and energy production, but also spiritual purposes and rights of use. This water-related heritage links nature and culture and holds rich historical knowledge for the development of sustainable strategies for the future. 

The event will focus on the specific question of what contribution water-related heritage can make to sustainable development or to achieving the climate goals and the global goals for sustainable development of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The research of this heritage over long periods of time and in the context of social and ecological developments, the communication of these findings, and the dialogue with engineers, planners, political decision-makers and organised civil society play a prominent role in this.

In cooperation between the European Academy Berlin, ICOMOS Germany, the ICOMOS ISC Water and Heritage, the University of Groningen and TU Delft the central themes of water, cultural heritage and climate goals will be brought into relation over two conference days. The conference aims to help close disciplinary and institutional gaps, stimulate communication and interaction between the cultural heritage and water sectors, and communicate the relevance of the topic as well as policy needs and goals between civil society and politics. 

As an interdisciplinary event, the conference takes an intersectional approach, focusing on the intersections and mutual added values of the different fields. Stakeholders from academia, politics, administration, civil society and culture will come together to present this important topic in a differentiated way and to discuss it from multiple perspectives. A hybrid format enables the international public to participate in the conference. The results are intended, among other things, as a contribution to the conference on the future of Europe. This dialogue with the citizens of Europe, conceived as a two-year, multi-phase consultation process, serves to develop, discuss and implement possible future concepts for the European Union. Water and the cultural heritage associated with it play a key role here.

Underlying questions of the conference include:
-    What contribution can water-related heritage make to fulfilling the SDGs and the European Green Deal? 
-    What value should be attached to natural heritage, what to cultural heritage? What is the significance of tangible cultural heritage, and what of intangible cultural heritage?
-    Which water-related historical structures/principles/forms of organisation have proven to be sustainable? What can we learn from them?
-    How can water-related cultural heritage be communicated as an important factor for sustainability and climate protection? How can communication and cooperation between the climate protection sector and the cultural heritage protection sector be improved? 
-    What links/forms of communication between cultural heritage conservation and business, civil society or politics are desirable and necessary?

They will be addressed in the following sections:
-    Water heritage and water history as a knowledge resource
-    Water-related heritage - historical resource and future potential
-    Water infrastructure and inclusive development
-    Implementing water heritage for sustainable development
-    Future workshop on water heritage (topics: education & culture, civic engagement, policy making)

If you are interested in contributing to the conference, please send a 300 word abstract of your possible contribution and a one-page CV by 15 September 2021 to: water@icomos.de



Contact Info: 

Tino Mager, University of Groningen, tino.mager@rug.nl

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