Call for Papers: World Heritage in the Americas

15th Annual US/ICOMOS International Scientific Symposium
40th Anniversary Celebration of the World Heritage Convention
May 30 – June 1, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas

Confluence of Cultures
World Heritage in the Americas

In 2012, US/ICOMOS will return to San Antonio, Texas, site of the first US/ICOMOS International Symposium in 1996. That meeting explored the question of “Authenticity” and its meanings in the Americas. Since 1996, San Antonio has continued as a city at the confluence of cultures and heritage in the Americas. US/ICOMOS seeks proposals for presentations at the 2012 Symposium, which will be organized as three sessions around these themes:

  1. Authenticity and Identity in the 21st century — revisiting the 1996 “Declaration of San Antonio” (see What are common themes and variations throughout the Americas? Authenticity continues to be a key topic in preservation in the years since the first Symposium. It resonates differently in different places and to different groups. It carries different meanings in the treatment of built fabric, in the social and cultural dimensions of places, in the uses of heritage for economic development.
  2. Cultural Sustainability — designing a future that includes the heritage of humanity, maintaining both the natural and cultural systems that support our existence, considering people and their relationship to places in truly sustainable design. Sustainability is framed as including environment, economics, and social equity. A lively conversation has asked whether culture ought to be considered a fourth node added to this triad, or whether it is a dimension that encompasses all the others. Either way, culture is essential. How do we sustain cultures of place while allowing – assisting – their necessary adaptation?
  3. Continuity and Urban Growth in Cultural Heritage Contexts — managing change within living cities and places with strong cultural heritage, to include cultural landscape and cultural geography issues.

The 21st century is the world’s first urban century: more than half of all people now live in metropolitan regions, and increasingly in urban megaregions. The heritage of smaller places and previously rural landscapes is subject to pressures at unprecedented scales, but also to significance and opportunities at new scales. For the past year ICOMOS has been reviewing a draft Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (see, which will be a particular focus of this session.  Note: In all three sessions the conference committee will favor papers that address the Metrics of cultural heritage assets. How do we measure and map the values of places with local or ethnic relevance? How do we identify the assets that give identity to places? How can value-led planning be made systematic for heritage conservation? How can we measure the efficacy of implementation methods?

Each session will be organized as a panel discussion. Participants will each make a short presentation (10 minutes) introducing their subject. Most of each session will be given to discussion among the panelists and with the audience. The conference committee will seek diverse voices and perspectives in each session.

A separate poster session will accommodate additional research and explorations.

Abstracts must be received by US/ICOMOS by Monday, December 12, 2011.

For more information or to submit an abstract, visit


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