What to Conserve? Heritage, Memory, and Management of Meanings

Kamel Ahmed, Ehab orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6737-9356 (2015) What to Conserve? Heritage, Memory, and Management of Meanings. International Journal of Architectural Research, 9 (1). pp. 67-76.

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This Paper explores and criticizes different theories and perceptions concerning ‘cultural heritage’ to explore the definitions of ‘heritage’ throughout history, and questions how the conflicts in considering and identifying ‘heritage’ might have affected the approaches to its conservation. In such process, the paper investigates the relation between ‘place’ and ‘memory’ and how place has been always the medium through which history was written, resulting in two inseparable faces, tangible and the intangible, forming the two-faced coin of ‘cultural heritage’. This research assists understanding the complex construct of heritage places; stressing the growing awareness of intangible heritage’s importance, which represents a remarkable turn in heritage conservation realm in the twenty-first century, and emphasizing the notion of heritage as a coefficient of society, which is understood through experience, learnt through performance, and represented through ‘activities’ formed in the present maintaining and developing the identity of place and preserving its spirit, rather than a past oriented vision that tends to ‘pickle’ images from the past in a picturesque manner that is only tourism-oriented.

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