World Heritage Theory, Policy and Practice (2017)

International Conference “World Heritage Theory, Policy and Practice” BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany. April 12 – 14, 2017

Of the many barriers to effective protection, conservation, and presentation of the world’s heritage, one of the most significant challenges is how to reconcile theoretical approaches, policies that govern decision makers, and the ability of front line practitioners to deliver and act on the theory and policy in a practical and realistic way.
Too often, these three realities remain isolated in different institutions, with actors whose paths rarely cross.

Academics think, write and contribute to important dialogue and discussion about the state of heritage issues, researching and envisioning how the field of heritage conservation can be improved to everyone’s advantage. The realm of academia resides in our universities and institutions, and work is sometimes practical but more often theoretical in nature.

Government officials and other institutional policy makers struggle to reconcile competing financial, social, cultural and political realities to develop legislation and guidelines that reflect the innovations of the academics in a way that is actionable in a practical sense; a daunting task made more difficult by ever shifting political priorities.

Finally, there are the practitioners, the people who work directly with the heritage and the people to whom it belongs. The interpreters who develop and the school programs that will inspire the next generation, the conservators who work tirelessly to ensure that heritage will remain and the laborers who hold the knowledge that shape cultural identity. These people who work on the front lines of the heritage world, are too often disconnected from the policy makers who may not consult with them, and from the academics, whose dialogue is often inaccessible to those outside their institutions.

World Heritage Theory, Policy and Practice is a forum meant to bridge these gaps, bringing together actors from each realm of the heritage world in meaningful dialogue so each can better understand the challenges and barriers faced by the others. By doing this, opportunities to connect these world will be identified and positive change can take place.