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Cultural landscape as place for civil society engagement in heritage management (Gerhard Ermischer)

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Landscape has become a focus point of interest in the last 15 years. This is also mirrored in international conventions. So was landscape introduced as specific catagory into the world heritage conevtions of UNESCO. The EU Council of Ministers has drafted principles and guidelines on spatial development, which stress the great importance of landcape for identity and social well being and the need for a good landscape management for all types of landscapes, including urban landscapes and degraded landsapes. Last but not least the Council of Europe has formulated the European Landscape Convention, which sets great value on the participation of the civil society in developing and managing the landscape. The cultural aspects of landscape have been neglected in many countries for a long time, defining landscape as a pure feature of nature. But more and more the cultural aspects of landscape, including the tangible and intangible cultural heritage, have become a focus of research and understanding. Landscape, and especially the cultural heritage, have become important factors for identity building. In all aspects of research, communication and management civil society can play an important role and people can engage themselves. This can be done through prospection projects, archaeological excavations, heritage management programmes, the construction of cultural paths and many other activities. Such projects help to inform people about their own landscape at their own doorsteps and make them wardens for a good landscape management and heritage protection. The lecture shall show the potential of (cultural) landscape as a place for civil society to engage and give examples of how a positive engagement of people for their landscape can be achieved.

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Cultural landscape as place for civil society engagement in heritage management (Gerhard Ermischer)

  1. 1. Pathways to Cultural Landscapes Landscape and Civil Society Hessen MKK AB-LK MSP AB MIL Bayern
  2. 2. Pathways to Cultural Landscapes Landscape and Civil Society The Spessart is a densly forested upland region in central Germany. It is devided by many administrative borders. It has an image of poverty. It therefore is a landscape difficult to manage with a lack of identity. The Spessart-Project aims to recover the identity of the Spessart. It is a bottom up initiative doing research and communication work and adivising politics and administration in questionons of landscape management. Backbone of the project are the „cultural paths“. More then 60 of these paths were created in the last 10 years. Layout and printing of folders, information tables, signs and other media are provided by the Spessart Project as common features. All paths are created together with the local people who collect the data, discuss possible features to include in the paths and discuss the overall theme for the actual path. The scientists of the Spessart-Project monitor the process and do or initiate additional scientific research work where necessary.
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  5. 5. Pathways to Cultural Landscapes Landscape and Civil Society To communicate the lanscape we use all ways of communication: Lectures Conferences Seminars Training of Landscape Guides Publications Media Internet Events Exhibition Art and more
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  7. 7. Pathways to Cultural Landscapes Landscape and Civil Society Research work is done in all fields like: Archaeology History Ethnology Lingiustics Sciences Geography Geology etc. It is always done together with local people. Research work is done in co-operation with universities, insititutes and schools. Research and communication include also features of daily life, like local cooking and local dialects.
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  10. 10. Pathways to Cultural Landscapes Landscape and Civil Society A major research area is archaeology (as the founders of the project were all archaeologists). Archaeology is modelled on the idea of the „communal dig“ in England and done together with volunteers from the local community. Many archaeological features in the Spessart are not visible or spectacular. Careful reconstruction work helps to give them a „monumental“ character and aids to gain social control for the objects. Communication is important also in archaeology. So many excavations are invcluded in local cultural paths and specific programmes deviced for visitors, schools and primary schools. Events help to make the sites more popular. At many sites new societies were founded to care for them or existing historic or local societies have included them into their work.
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  29. 29. Pathways to Cultural Landscapes Landscape and Civil Society We take work with children very serious. Special programmes are done for children at all excavations. Special tours are deviced for children at the cultural paths. Some cultural paths have been remodelled with children for children. We do projects with schools and primary schools, to communicate the cultural landscape. These projects of course are mainly hands on and experience orientated. Working with children has not only given us great opportunities for communicating the landscape also tho their parents and relatives, but has also produced most valuable insights for our scientists.
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