Call for papers for a conference: "Interpretation for heritage protection. Values" (Poznan, Poland, October 21-22, 2021)

We are pleased to invite you to submit your papers for the conference titled "Interpretation for heritage protection" whose aim is to discuss the issue of the public discourse on heritage. The central theme of this year’s meeting are values.
    Connecting heritage to a set of values is at the heart of the classically understood protection of natural, tangible and intangible traces of the past. Various values are attributed to the resources through analysis, communication and education. These include both universal as well as contextual values, which depend on the cultural context, but also social, functional and symbolic values as well as individual and associative values. Some of them can be situated in the economic discourse, others belong to the realm of ethics. All of them, however, surface in a relationship with a receiver. It is there that heritage interpretation takes the crucial role of a mediator.
    In its original form, heritage interpretation is understood as a method whose aim is to “reveal the meanings and relationships”. It was conceptualised in 1957 by Freeman Tilden and since then it has been present in the storytelling, tourism and education practice of many institutions worldwide. The main area of development for interpretation has been finding ways to communicate information that would adhere to Tilden’s principle of “not instruction but provocation”. The discussion of the influence and the role of interpretation in shaping collective identity remains open and important.
    Critical Heritage Studies, opening new museums and tourist attractions as well as social changes at the beginning of the 21st century have significantly influenced the range of tasks and aims of interpretation. Its original descriptive role is more and more often turning into a performative action that creates values and “the possibility of individual freedom from the weight of heritage” (Neil Silberman). How is the interpretation used today? Is it still drawing attention to heritage as a realm of values? In what contexts does it situate values and heritage?

    We are pleased to invite professionals from a variety of fields, researchers and practitioners to submit their proposals for 20-minute presentations discussing the issue of values in heritage protection and interpretation. The presentation can be both a theoretical discussion as well as a reflection based on an analysis of case studies in the fields of exhibition design, tourism, education and social animation.

Some suggested themes include the following:

  • ethics and philosophy of interpretation (how to create a value-based interpretation? how to empower people to interpret on their own? how to refer to values?),
  • interpretation in heritage sites (how to identify values? tools for valuing the landscape, conflict of values in the realm of heritage, discovering the values of places involving communities in interpretive planning, genius loci),
  • roots of heritage interpretation (how to draw inspiration from the past? works of art, artistic strategies and institutions’ activities which can be analysed from the perspective of heritage interpretation),
  • contemporary trends and challenges of heritage interpretation (how to address contemporary changes? the development of the museum sector, climate education, post-pandemic world, interpretation in the virtual reality, how to preserve the first- hand experience as a paramount quality in interpretation?),
  • heritage interpretation management (when can we say that interpretation is successful? values in the education, exhibition and tourism sector, use of interpretation by institutions, interpretation programmes),
  • interpretation of Poznań heritage (how to talk about the city and its heritage? identity of the place, local heritage vs. national and European heritage),

Proposals for papers should be submitted by May 31, 2021, using the following form:

Notifications of acceptance will be sent by email by June 30, 2021.

Conference date:  October 21-22, 2021

The conference fee is PLN 100.

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

There will be separate sessions in Polish and English during the conference. The conference will be held either on the site or it will take the form of a hybrid event, depending on the epidemiological situation.
The papers will be published in full in a post-conference publication or in a thematic issue of the international journal Studia Periegetica []

The conference is organised by Poznan Heritage Centre []

Partners: National Heritage Institute, Interpret Europe, WSB University in Poznan.