In August, the Centre for City Ecology and ICOMOS Canada hosted a panel discussion titled CONTEMPORARY SITES: new ways of seeing and using Toronto’s cultural landscapes. The panel was convened by the CCE’s Annabel Vaughan and ERA Architects’ Michael McLelland to convene a conversation about the shift that Toronto is experiencing in the role that heritage plays in the contemporary use of cultural landscapes. Panelists included:
Janna Levitt, Partner at LGA Architectural Partners
Robert Kerr, Supervisor of Special Events at the Fort York National Historic Site
Franco Boni, General and Artistic Director of the Theatre Centre
and Rui Pimenta and Layne Hinton, Artistic Director/Founder and Co-curators of Art Spin
The panel contributed to an ongoing international dialogue on how we conceptualize and realize heritage in contemporary society. The 18th General Assembly of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), to be held in Florence, Italy, November 2014, focuses on the general theme of ‘Heritage and Landscape as Human Values’. The Florence Agenda includes sub-themes related to sustainability, local empowerment, and cultural landscape. This panel sought to bring the Florence Agenda into the local context by examining the ways that heritage is used as a tool for civic engagement by a range of actors – from arts groups to architects to established heritage institutions.
The conversation was engaging, and ideas flowed naturally between the panelists. Insightful questions from the audience questioned the role of insitutions in enshrining notions of “official” culture and heritage, and the way in which differing understandings of the term “heritage” influence how we engage with and present our past, present, and future.
Thanks to all who attended. And for those who missed it, presentations by panelists, with audio, is available through the screen cast below.