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SHIFTING CITIES: Urban Heritage in the 21st Century

This international conference will examine the phenomenon of shifting populations and their connections to urban heritage. Hosted by Rutgers’ Program in Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies (CHAPS), this conference will bring together leading scholars and practitioners from around the world to address the complex and interconnected challenges facing cities and their populations. The overarching goal is to identify new approaches towards working effectively with diverse and dynamic populations as part of current efforts to rethink the meaning and practice of heritage conservation within the “shifting cities” that define urbanism in the 21st century. According to the Getty Conservation Institute, conservation of historic cities is “currently one of the most universally urgent and challenging cultural heritage issues.” As populations grow and migrate and our world becomes increasingly urbanized, socio-economic change, environmental stresses, armed conflict, and the difficulties of continuing traditional forms of use threaten the sense of place and identities in urban communities. A critical rethinking of urban heritage conservation is called for at this time.

By bringing together heritage practitioners with scholars and organizations engaged in what would not traditionally be considered “heritage” or “conservation” work (such as social services and public health), Shifting Cities will be a critical step in pointing us forward to new directions and approaches. The conference will include session panels and case studies that explore tangible ways in which practitioners and community organizations have been able to address the challenges of heritage conservation in the face of shifting populations. Two Roundtables, one focusing on the city of Camden, New Jersey and another focusing on armed conflict in the Middle East, will bring together diverse sets of professionals working in each city or region to share experiences and expertise.

Keynote Speakers:

Ishmael Beah, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and author of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier & Radiance of Tomorrow

Jyoti Hosagrahar, Director, Sustainable Urbanism International GSAPP, Columbia University, New York, and Bangalore &
UNESCO Chair Professor in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology, Bangalore

Panel Sessions:

Urban Development: Managing Competing Claims *
Environment in the City *
Urban Memories and Competing Histories *
Urban Cultural Identities *
Social Services: Education, Employment, and Public Health
Technology and New Media

Other Sessions:

Roundtable 1: Heritage in Armed Conflict - Syria & Iraq
Roundtable 2: Camden, New Jersey *
Poster Competition
Memorial Design Exhibition
CHAPS Shifting Cities Student Work
Musical Performances

*AIA Learning Units available through Preservation New Jersey, a proud partner of CHAPS and supporter of SHIFTING CITIES: Urban Heritage in the 21st Century.

missionOur goal is to become a model of interdisciplinary interaction, innovative thinking, and creative teaching. CHAPS is committed to a curriculum of excellence, and ideally placed to pursue it. Rutgers’ geographic location puts it at the center of professional action within the field. Reflecting the rapidly changing demographic of 21st century America, our increasingly diverse population is at the center of engagement on issues of cultural heritage that will reshape how the nation sees its past and how it preserves that past for the future. Most international and national organizations maintain a presence in New York, providing outstanding opportunities for collaboration, not only at the teaching level and as potential sources of funding, but through research, internship, and field work opportunities.

With twenty-one historic properties now inscribed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites, and many more pending, the United States has entered a new era of international engagement on issues of heritage preservation. Both governmental and non-governmental agencies dedicated to comprehensive planning and protection programs are engaging with preservation partners worldwide to develop successful protection strategies for the 21st century.

Crossing boundaries between the humanities and social sciences, and combining a rigorous academic program with opportunities for professional training through field work and internships, CHAPS aims to move Rutgers to the forefront of this rapidly expanding field.  Awareness of the importance of protecting the world’s cultural patrimony-- its monuments, historic sites and cultural landscapes--is at a record level, and it is growing. CHAPS invites students to engage these issues and to join in developing strategies that will ensure the preservation of the past for the future.

Department of Art History
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New Brunswick, NJ 08901
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