Authenticity and Reconstruction

17:45 by Cornelius Holtorf

Authenticity and the reconstruction of cultural heritage are today on the top of the agenda of heritage studies. They reemerged in the aftermath of natural disasters and human conflicts resulting in destructions of cultural heritage, such as the recent military conflicts in Syria.

Can, and, indeed, should, destruction be undone? Does the reconstruction of cultural heritage always lie in the best interests of the local population? How can heritage best contribute to future-making? What is the relationship between the values of a given heritage and the circumstances of its creation or re-creation?

The articles in a new special issue on Authenticity and Reconstruction of the International Journal of Cultural Property, edited by Cornelius Holtorf, explore some of these issues:

The papers are combining current thinking in different disciplines (psychology, architecture, urban planning, historic preservation, and archaeology) with practical examples from around the world. They derive from the pilot workshop of the ICOMOS University Forum, titled “A Contemporary Provocation: Reconstructions as Tools of Future-making“. Held on 13–15 March 2017 at ICOMOS’s international head- quarters in Paris, France, the workshop was co-organized by Cornelius Holtorf (Linnaeus University, Sweden), Loughlin Kealy (University College Dublin, Ireland), Toshiyuki Kono (ICOMOS/Kyushu University, Japan), and Marie-Laure Lavenir (ICOMOS, France). As an event of the ICOMOS University Forum, its aim was to stimulate dialogue between professional heritage consultants and academic heritage experts.

Cornelius Holtorf
In 2017, Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden, was awarded a UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. This is one of eight Chairs in Sweden, and the only one within the cultural sector. Cornelius Holtorf, holder of the UNESCO Chair, alongside his team, will continue to generate ideas through this forum.

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