2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Second International Congress of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments and, more importantly, the adoption (in 1965) of the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter). Expanding the concept of universal heritage first set out in 1931 in Athens, the Venice Charter sought to address the growing complexities of cultural heritage, partly in response to a post-war Europe and the expansion of heritage classifications. The Venice Charter attempted to provide a framework for universal value beginning with the fundamental assumption that as material culture, creative works embody various forms of human knowledge, e.g. aesthetic, technical, cultural, social, religious, and scientific. This belief owes its origins in part to the great knowledge-accumulation projects of the Enlightenment; however the Charter also recognized the ability of a thing or place to present the everyday human experience of lived time. What survives, what is forgotten, what is cared for or destroyed describes the lives that creative works can take and, in this concern, the Charter also embraced the legacy of nineteenth century Romanticism.
Contemporary conservation practice has long held to the principles of the Venice Charter nevertheless arguing that value and significance are culturally determined, a point also clearly stated in the preamble of the original Venice Charter. Originality and authenticity have been the hallmarks of identifying and qualifying heritage; however, as we have come to discover in recent years, this is not nor has ever been universal for many cultures and intangible qualities have recently gained conservationís attention in defining a fuller appreciation of heritage values. The upcoming anniversary affords an opportune time to reconsider the inherited tenets of heritage conservation as codified in the Venice Charter. Critics have already recognized certain biases inherent in the document, namely, the time and place, attendant representation, resource experience, and a preference for the monumental. Reconsideration at this moment offers additional opportunities given current post-modern challenges in not only defining what heritage is, but how it should be used, interpreted, and displayed.
The editors of Change Over Time invite contributions on the subject for the 2014 issue to help celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this important gathering and document. Articles are generally restricted to 7,500 or fewer words (the approximate equivalent to thirty pages of double-spaced, twelve-point type) and may include up to ten images. The deadline for submission of manuscripts for the spring 2014 issue is June 15, 2013. Guidelines for authors may be requested from Meredith Keller (email@example.com), to whom manuscripts should also be submitted. For further information please visit cot.pennpress.org.
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