The Changing Perception of the Concept of Cultural Heritage and its Consequences
Since the second half of the XX century, interest in cultural heritage has been growing steadily and the definition of the concept has become ever broader. The concept was initially restricted to that of the historic monument for purposes of national identity, aesthetics and prestige, but since then it has gradually expanded to embrace vernacular, industrial and modern products as well as urban and rural areas, sites, architectural ensembles, landscapes and neighbourhoods, particularly because of their symbolic, social, technological, environmental, economic and creative value. In short, the changing perception of cultural heritage and what it means has been marked over the last few decades by the fact that awareness and knowledge of the concept have expanded into both a holistic vision and a living culture focused more on the present and the future than on fragments of the past.
In the context of this chair, Christina Cameron's work on built heritage will focus on the problem of the changing perception of the concept of cultural heritage and the contemporary meaning flowing from it and on the impact of the changes on heritage conservation, development and management processes. The study is organized around five main themes - development, ownership, awareness and use of built heritage - and will produce a number of benefits, including the following: it will foster interdisciplinary approaches, combine basic research and research-action initiatives, and factor in local and international situations. It will thus provide a particularly interesting context for conducting research, giving professional training, and raising awareness of Quebec, Canadian and world heritage.