Unter dem Titel „Industrial Heritage in the Twenty-First Century: New Challenges“ findet vom 6. – 11. September 2015 in Lille der 16. Internationale TICCIH-Kongress statt. Anmeldungen über die Website des Kongresses sind ab sofort möglich. TICCIH-Mitglieder zahlen einen deutlich reduzierten Beitrag; es lohnt sich also, seine Mitgliedschaft vorher zu erneuern oder neu beizutreten (Info hier) …
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The beginning of the twenty-first century has seen considerable renewal in how the industrial heritage is considered. Its contribution to our understanding of the past, the way it is approached by academic research, its place in the evolution both of landscapes and of societies, all these are witnessing rapid change. Under the title “Industrial Heritage in the Twenty-First Century, New Challenges”, the sixteenth TICCIH Congress to be held at Lille and in its region in 2015 aims to give a general, world-wide review of the present-day state of industrial heritage, opening up new perspectives on the people involved in it, its achievements and its recognition.
Much effort is still necessary to give industrial heritage the social recognition it deserves, but the Congress will show how, throughout the world, it is a heritage that can make contributions where contemporary demands are concerned, in terms of sustainable development, urban regeneration, architectural invention, local economies, culture and education. The role of the citizen and the part that citizens can play will be at the heart of our approach. We keep this heritage because it means something to us and we want to keep that meaning for future generations. But what precisely does the industrial heritage mean to today’s societies? What importance do these societies attach to industrial heritage? What influence can industrial heritage have on the way societies evolve?
Lille and its region represent one of the richest industrial territories in France, with a tremendous diversity of activities: coal mining, textiles, mechanical engineering, chemical industries and agricultural and food-based industries, as well as a mail-order sector which takes advantage of its location and of a remarkably dense transport networks. The industrial and cultural landscapes of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region are many and varied, marked by successive waves of immigration. Over recent years, as elsewhere, they have suffered from the effects of deindustrialization.
Held at Lille and in its region, the Congress will show how and why the recent inscription of this region’s mining basin on UNESCO’s list of world heritage as a continuing cultural landscape symbolizes how our ways of appreciating the industrial past and the traces it leaves—both material and intangible—are changing, both for citizens and for institutional organizations. The Nord-Pas-de-Calais mining basin is a splendid illustration of the how TICCIH’s principles, laid out in the Nizhny Tagil Charter, correspond with the criteria established by ICOMOS and UNESCO. For the local community, the recognition of the outstanding universal value of the landscape is of tremendous significance, underlining the strength of its identity, its culture and its resilience.
At Lille, associations will have a dedicated space, which will remain open to the general public throughout the duration of the congress, in order to present their projects. The conditions for access to this space will be indicated shortly.
The management of the industrial heritage in landscape contexts and the identification of new players in the field of industrial heritage will be two major lines of enquiry addressed by the congress. The program committee will therefore pay special attention to proposals for papers examining new heritage practices, and in particular practices to do with the landscape or with associations. This does not mean however that it will exclude propositions on other topics to do with the industrial heritage, or with the activities of TICCIH and its sections. Poster sessions will also be organized to allow students, young researchers and project developers to present initiatives recently completed or still in progress.
1 • Listen, educate, transmit
The public for the industrial heritage comprises civil society as a whole. Citizens can be both players and targets for actions in favor of the industrial heritage. The way they consider this heritage and what they expect from it vary from one country to another according to where they live—village town or metropolis—and according to their country’s particular industrial history.
Who are they? Citizens are the public of, and the target for, designated places of memory, museums, publications, films and so on. But how do these citizens perceive the industrial heritage today? How can the industrial heritage help citizens understand their history, whether they are stakeholders in this heritage, workers in the industry concerned or inhabitants of places now recognized as heritage?
Transmission. Industrial heritage, as the product of social changes which are relatively recent, can serve as a tool for relations between the generations. But understanding and preserving the industrial heritage requires the sharing of stories, of values and of skills. In societies that are now largely de-industrialized, how can this transmission be effected between former industrial workers and younger generations? How can the industrial heritage accompany the long process of resilience for populations who have been the victims of brutal de-industrialization? How does the industrial heritage contribute to the image that citizens have of industry?
1.2. Education and training
The industrial heritage results from social constructions and forms of education which vary from one country to another, according to educational systems and according to the survival, and proximity, of this heritage. Training in the field of industrial heritage has changed considerably over the last thirty years; the formalization of courses for university students, for professionals or for members of associations, along with the creation of professional master degrees, has helped give the discipline a higher profile and to supply heritage organizations with competent staff. At the level of secondary schools, many experiments have been carried out, which it would be useful to compare and synthesize into some kind of reference document. The Lille-region Congress will offer this chance to compare teaching experiences in the field of industrial heritage and in training for the skills this heritage requires.
1.3. From museums to ‘new territories of art’
The history of changing perceptions of what the French call ‘friches industrielles’— brownfield sites or redundant industrial plant—is a long one, and their reevaluation as place of culture can take many years. By confronting different experiences, whether or not they have been successes, we will reach better understanding of the different parts played by different stakeholders, how tendencies are evolving and the compromises that are possible. The militants for the preservation of the industrial heritage are now joined by players with different preoccupations. The movement which has seen the investment of abandoned industrial places by artistic creation and, more systematically, by cultural industries, is an artistic movement in its own right, present in all countries and worthy of being studied as such. But what importance do these ‘new territories of art’ attach to the history of the places they occupy, to their formal identity and to the stories that preceded the moment of artistic creation?
2 • Defending and promoting the industrial heritage, the players
The Congress will be an occasion for comparing the approaches and objectives of the principal players who support and represent the industrial heritage in different countries. Without a doubt, associations emerge as the leading players in the defense of the industrial heritage. The role of local authorities or state institutions varies from country to country but is often decisive. And amongst the institutional players, UNESCO and ICOMOS play a highly specific part. The way these organizations have come to recognize the industrial heritage is a crucial factor in the way citizens of different countries now appreciate the industrial heritage.
National associations, federations or regional associations have played a vital role in the recognition and preservation of the industrial heritage. Over the last forty years, their ambitions and their organizational modes have evolved, like their membership and the sections of the public they address. Their achievements vary widely in form and in contents. A comparative approach would be very useful in order to understand different issues in different countries and to see how industrial heritage associations are changing. In particular, questions can be raised concerning editorial policies: what are the best ways of sharing information and knowledge with the different publics targeted? Can industrial archeology feature at one and the same time among scientific publications (how does it rank in international classifications of scientific periodicals?) and among works of popular promotion.
Since the 1980s, alongside State initiatives or initiatives coming from local authorities and other institutional players, new actors have emerged in the field of the industrial heritage. What has become of the industrial sites identified by earlier inventory campaigns? Where are inventory and study projects going today and what are the policies of interpretation and presentation that underpin them? What enterprises take on the preservation and development of their own heritage, and how?
Industrial archeology and the industrial heritage are now fields for study and research in higher education. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in particular, have witnessed remarkable pieces of scientific research, bringing together fieldwork and archival enquiry often mobilizing hitherto unfamiliar source material. But the field of archeology is itself undergoing profound change today. What contribution can new techniques of archaeological investigation and analysis bring to the vestiges of industry? The twentieth-century industrial heritage is notably different from the industrial heritage of earlier centuries in terms of the scale of the sites, materials, processes, new sectors of production… How are these differences to be apprehended?
New technologies are widely applied today in the field of archeology and for heritage inventories (Geographic Information Systems, 3D modeling, data and image bases accessible on line…). How are these new techniques employed in the realm of industrial heritage? And, at the same time, how has the use of photography evolved in the study of the industrial heritage?
2.4 UNESCO, ICOMOS and TICCIH
What place does the industrial heritage occupy in UNESCO’s list of world heritage? How have the studies carried out by different world heritage bodies, also created at the beginning of the 1970s, contributed to the definition of industrial heritage? What universal values can an industrial heritage site embody? In candidatures for inscription on the world heritage list, how can the specificities of the industrial heritage be brought to comply with UNESCO’s categories and criteria? Before and after inscription, what are the effects of the UNESCO label, and how can this label continue to be justified without interfering with the traces of the past nor handicapping contemporary activities?
3 • Industrial landscapes and territorial policies
The industrial heritage is understood today, and interpreted, at the level of the landscape. This change of perspective raises the question of how to manage the heritage within active, living territories, where cultural properties co-exist with on-going economic activities. How to conserve and preserve whilst accepting the necessary modernization of these territories? Furthermore, contemporary societies are trying to base their sustainable development by rebuilding towns and cities ‘over themselves’, economizing on energy and environmental expenses. This tendency brings the industrial heritage into a position of conflict between two interpretations of its values, the real estate value of the land occupied in the city, and the heritage value of the buildings. At the same time, the industrial heritage is joining a sector of the economy which is not its original one. These issues are common to all continents, whatever their level of industrialization: what role can the industrial heritage play in the development of a cultural and visitor-based economy, in both rural and urban zones?
3.1 Local typologies
Any site of industrial production, either on its own or in association with others, contributes to the development of neighborhoods and towns. Industry plays a structuring role of greater or lesser significance. Such ‘industry-based towns’ present different forms, of which it is vital to appreciate the richness and diversity. Workers’ villages, workers’ settlements and company-built housing estates, factory-towns, ‘phalansteries’ or utopian communities… all these forms need to be carefully analyzed to determine their characteristics, their differences and the way they evolve, in order to draw up a typology of what is a transnational phenomenon. This must include forms associated with colonial or foreign occupation, how these forms may or may not be appropriated, how they may hybridize imported industrial, urban and architectural practices.
Outside the productive space of the factory itself and its associated housing, the industrial heritage has more difficulty in settling its identity and fixing its boundaries. Structures for storage, warehousing, wholesale or retail distribution and buildings such as silos, warehouses or docks represent a built and technical heritage of considerable importance but which is not always properly recognized. Proposals for papers on this theme will be particularly welcome.
3.2 Urban regeneration
The factory is often a landmark in the territory, an architectural and social point of reference around which the urban tissue is articulated. With the passage of time, the city has come to absorb its industrial areas, making industrial activity undesirable there. But once industry has gone, what is to be done with its buildings, with these zones which present particular constraints? How are existing industrial buildings to be kept whilst responding to the requirements of urban development? To answer such questions, examples of interventions in large cities, as well as smaller towns and countryside areas, have to be studied. These studies must contribute to defining the place of the industrial heritage in what is known as the ‘historic urban landscape’. It is question of defending identity values, and encouraging active conservation which combines preservation, renovation and re-use for new activities.
Within a given territorial area, the industrial heritage can be approached in all its amplitude and complexity. An approach by landscape types—mining, metallurgical, perfumery, textile, infrastructural networks, etc.—will allow for comparisons between achievements in different countries and on different continents. Environmental questions need to be addressed, either from the point of view of the elimination of waste products (depollution), or, alternatively, the interpretation of waste as it still bears witness to an industrial process (slag heaps). The ways interpretation initiatives are evaluated, for example with particular labels, might also be compared, like cultural policies based on the industrial heritage. Finally, this landscape approach will allow for an analysis and comparison of programs of economic and industrial development that can sometimes affect the heritage adversely, and which require compromises.
3.4 Economic activities
Tourism. Industrial heritage can represent a key element in the attractiveness of a town or a rural area, with dedicated facilities. But is it possible to speak of a specific economy based on the industrial heritage, considering its integration into other offers for tourists, its economic results and the specific constraints involved in receiving the public at industrial heritage sites? How does the industrial heritage contribute to the heritage sector as a whole, in terms of tourist facilities, ‘routes’ and cultural circuits, craft skill demonstrations, festivals etc.
Visits and company museums. Companies which are still active are amongst the key partners in the industrial heritage world. In certain countries a long-standing suspicion tends to set businesses against industrial heritage conservation. But companies can foster and exploit their own heritage in different ways, by the preservation and opening up of their archives and historic collections, for example, by the creation of museums, or by visits organized to their factories. The Congress will be a forum of debate on this theme of ‘industrial tourism‘ (business museums and factory visits), in partnership with businesses themselves. More broadly, it is worth looking at the question of how the industrial heritage can be a tool in developing the general public’s interest in technical questions, an instrument of transmission where scientific, technical and industrial culture is concerned.