13th Annual Heritage Conservation Symposium
Embodied Heritage Praxis: Ontologies of Participation and Process

UNESCO’s 2003 approval of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage enshrined within heritage studies and heritage conservation sentiments that had been growing in popularity for decades: that the practices, representations, expressions, and knowledge inherited from one generation to the next constitute essential components of tangible heritage. Since then, this relationship has been explored through community-based conservation, cultural landscape and Historic Urban Landscape approaches. However, despite these initiatives, it has remained a challenge to incorporate these strategies in practice.

This question permeates fields related to heritage conservation, such as architecture, urban planning, and community design, where the concept of public participation became an important issue in the 1960s and 70s. Recognized as an important endeavor at every level of the process, recent efforts have been made to redefine who participation involves and how it takes place in contemporary contexts.  Both Indigenous perspectives on governance and emerging notions of vital materialism challenge conventional ideas of who and what constitutes participation.  Further, in museology and curatorial studies, embodied and practice-based research contributes to the break-down of archive/repertoire divisions that have developed from memory and performance studies. These ideas suggest new possibilities – even ontologies – within the field(s) of heritage (and) conservation.

Addressing these ontologies of participation, this symposium embraces the interdisciplinary nature of the heritage field by asking: How may emerging and evolving ontologies of participation and process inform heritage conservation practice? Situated in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies, this symposium seeks perspectives from Architecture, Engineering, Planning and the Arts; scholars of New Materialism, Indigenous Studies, as well as Museum and Performance Studies to share and investigate ideas of participation, process, and praxis.