The fate of cultural heritage in light of the challenges of the 21st century became the topic of the inter-university round table, which was held at RSUH on June 15 on ZOOM platform.
“Cultural and natural heritage must be studied at the university level, since it is the comprehensive training of specialists that can create the basis for preserving its objects,” Dr. Marta Polyakova, professor of the Department of Museology, emphasized in her welcoming remarks.
The first speaker, Dr. Yuri Vedenin, leading research fellow at the Institute of Geography of the RAS, analyzed the potential use of the cultural-landscape approach. “The co-creation of nature and man creates a single complex system with both material and non-material characteristics,” he noted. “A comprehensive view of the legacy from this perspective can be an effective tool in the process of safeguarding it.”
Dr. Pavel Shulgin, Head of the Center for Comprehensive Regional Programs for Social and Cultural Development of the Higher School of Economics, spoke about comprehensive regional programs implemented in the process of safeguarding and updating cultural heritage. He outlined the types of historical and cultural territories and the structure of a comprehensive regional program, which included not only the heritage itself, but also the sphere of culture and education, tourism, infrastructure and production.
The problem of authenticity, one of the key issues in the study and preservation of heritage, was addressed by Dr. Natalia Dushkina, professor of Moscow Institute of Architecture and Architecture and MIIGAiK, member of the Federal Council for the Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture. She touched not only upon the technical issues related to restoration, but also the legal aspects, including international documents, which are increasingly less likely to deal with establishing the authenticity of objects.
In turn, Professor Marta Polyakova drew attention to the enduring relevance of documents such as the Venice Charter, which argues that the restoration process should be stopped where conjecture begins. Each object needs an individual approach. A vivid example here can be made of old estates, such as the Melikovs' House in the village of Ovsishche, Tver Region, in whose fate the Department of Museology of the RSUH took a direct part.
Dr. Maria Stefko, Acting Head of the Department of Museology, continued the discussion that began in 2017 by Dr. Savoy and Dr. Sarr. It concerned the restitution of the colonial heritage stored in French museums. The idea of returning artifacts exported during the colonial period to Europe was widely discussed in the professional community. ICOM France, attaching great importance to studying the history of the origin of objects and museum collections, called for removing the issue from the political plane and giving professionals the opportunity to work directly with each other. The presentation described the issues related to restitution, and emphasized the importance of expert dialogue.
A new issue for our country, risk management of cultural heritage, was in the focus of the presentation of Sergey Polyakov, a student of the Department of Museology. He reviewed the international practice of implementing a risk management system using the examples of Jordan, Portugal and Japan, and highlighted common approaches that could be used in Russia.
The presentation of Evgeny Sosedov, Deputy Chairman of the Central Council of All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments and Culture, was devoted to the issue of the legal status of historical settlements. He outlined the trends associated with the practice of applying the concept of “historical settlement”, and analyzed the list of such settlements, which turned out to be rather short. “This cannot but cause concern: even Moscow is not included in this list, which jeopardizes the preservation of the historical development of the city,” said the speaker.
The presentations will published in a special issue of the journal Heritage and Modernity.