Innovative Approaches in Documentation, Research, Management and Education
50 years after the adoption of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the protection of World Heritage seems to be at a crossroads. While awareness of the value of universal Cultural Heritage has raised considerably and the number of sites enlisted at UNESCO has been growing steadily, so has the pressure under which global Cultural Heritage has found itself. In 2008, UNESCO published a list with 14 categories and many subcategories of threats to Cultural Heritage. The threats range from war and crisis, weather and climate change impact, natural disasters, encroaching development, resource extraction, illegal activities as well as management issues, such as shortage of funding and/or skilled labor.
Given the challenges outlined above, there is an active process of rethinking the policies to protect Cultural Heritage in general, taking place within and between political institutions, scientific communities and civic society around the world.
We believe that technology can make a difference and help to protect, research and valorize Cultural Heritage in a sustainable way and to thereby preserve it for the next generation. Technological innovations enable the investigation of cultural heritage assets following minimally invasive approaches, they allow the wide dissemination of research outcomes and the promotion of Cultural Heritage to a broad audience, even during a global pandemic that seriously affected free movement. Digital technology and the scientific communities around it provide research tools, knowledge and educational opportunities to a practically unlimited audience, thereby making Cultural Heritage more inclusive and accessible. This increases the potential of Cultural Heritage to contribute to the shaping of identities and social cohesion of communities around the world. Finally, technology offers the means for the rapid documentation of the state of Cultural Heritage assets and the monitoring of potential alterations over time. It can, therefore, support management, decision-making, restoration and conservation actions for a sustainable Cultural Heritage around the world.
The Conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies (CHNT) provides a platform to showcase and discuss new research, exchange experiences and ideas and to build an ever-growing community around these topics. Since CHNT 26, 2021, the conference on Cultural Heritage and New Technologies is being organized by the CITY of Vienna (Department 7 – Cultural Affairs) together with CHNT-ICOMOS Austria, a sister association of the Austrian National Committee of ICOMOS. With the upcoming conference we want to contribute to the ongoing discussions by again bringing together cultural heritage professionals, decision makers, tech enthusiasts and other stakeholders with a strong interest in the application of new technologies in the field of cultural heritage.