Report on the Scientific Council meeting in Marrakesh - 14 October 2019

ICOMOS 2019 MarrakeshThe Scientific Council was delighted to meet in Marrakesh, at the invitation of ICOMOS Morocco. The meeting was attended by 21 International Scientific Committees, 13 Board member observers and 64 Observers.

Sheridan Burke (Scientific Council Officer) made a presentation covering the activities of the Scientific Council, noting that to carry forward its work between its annual meetings, the Scientific Council Officers (Mikel Landa, Sheridan Burke and Christer Gustafsson) met online monthly on a broad range of topics. The agenda for the meeting in Marrakesh highlighted the current Scientific Council projects, which include

  • the development of ICOMOS scientific documents – 4 Charters are underway by International Scientific Committees currently:
    • International Cultural Tourism Charter Review,
    • ICOFORT (Committee on Fortifications and Military Heritage)’s Draft Charter on Fortifications and related heritage; guidelines for protection, conservation and interpretation;
    • CIF (Committee on Training)’s Principles for Capacity Building through Education and Training in Safeguarding and Integrated Conservation of Cultural Heritage;
    • Intangible Heritage Charter - a new proposal from ICHC (Committee on Intangible Heritage).
  • finalising the next Triennial Scientific Plan (2019-2021) and
  • supporting the health and vitality of the International Scientific Committees, which is measured in four ways: by observing regular elections and Committee activity; through delivery of Committees’ annual reports on activity; and through the International Scientific Committees’ participation with various ICOMOS working groups, such as their engagement with the Emerging Professionals Working Group.

The Scientific Council meeting in Marrakesh continued the discussions initiated in Argentina about implementing sustainability actions in all we do as ICOMOS members, improving remote access for members to meetings and improving out external and internal communications to support our leadership aspirations.

The Scientific Council asked to follow up on the outcomes of the recommendations put to the Advisory Committee and Board in Argentina, that:

  1. The Advisory Committee reinforce the remote hosting requirements for meetings and asks ICOMOS (via the Secretariat International) to actively investigate improving remote access for member participation in ICOMOS generally and advise on its outcomes at the GA2020.
  2. Confirm that ICOMOS will develop a Sustainability Policy including measurable targets to reduce ICOMOS carbon footprints for consideration at the General Assembly in Sydney in 2020. A small working group has been formed.
  3. A Communications Plan for ICOMOS will be developed and implemented to support its scientific outreach and profile, as well as improving internal communications for members.

Members were reminded by Peter Phillips (Secretary General) of the need to review the Eger Xi’an Principles and a working group formed with a view to a revised draft being adopted in Sydney at the GA2020.

All Committees were also reminded by Toshiyuki Kono (representing ICLAFI) of the need to review their statutes and adopt the new By-Laws recently circulated by the Secretariat.

An excellent presentation was delivered by Stacy Vallis (Emerging Professionals Working Group, or EPWG) which set out to inspire Committees to join the “Journeys to Authenticity” project - a platform for open discourses sharing ideas, solutions, and discussion about the concept of authenticity. Formats of communication might range from posters, live feeds, blog posts, reports, PowerPoints, video interviews or presentations, for example. The EPWG hopes that the Journeys to Authenticity could be an opportunity for collaboration and mentorship between established ICOMOS members and emerging professionals, enabling intergenerational dialogue about these concepts and encouraging the use of diverse communication media and strategies. Each committee could develop one or more case studies. A New Zealand example case study was shown in part (due to a technical problem, it could not be shown in full).

A Report on progress of the formation of a new Water and Heritage Working Group was received form Ian Travers and an update on progress of the International Scientific Committee on Industrial Heritage from Grainne Shaffrey.

The Scientific Council Officers’ year ahead will include all the issues above, and we encourage all International Scientific Committees to:

  • engage in further work on the Triennial Scientific Plan 2019-2021,
  • prepare their next annual reports (due in Late January),
  • progress reviewing their By-Laws and
  • engage with the Emerging Professionals Working Group by contributing to the implementation of the Journeys to Authenticity project.

Laura Maxwell and Gaia Jungeblodt encouraged Committees to contribute to the development of the membership database, now being finalised by the Secretariat.

Members were reminded to consider preparing to stand for election as a Scientific Council Officer of ICOMOS in 2021 and contribute to the leadership and aspirations of ICOMOS. The success of ICOMOS depends upon us all as volunteers contributing to its leadership, and the scientific work is especially rewarding professionally. Please contact Mikel Landa, Christer Gustafsson or Sheridan Burke if you have any questions.

A warm welcome was extended to everyone to join the General Assembly in Sydney in October 2020. It’s going to be a fantastic event, with so much to see and do – don’t miss it! We look forward to seeing you there!

Sheridan Burke
Scientific Council Office

Photo credits: ICOMOS

See also

Picto doigtMore information about the 2019 ICOMOS meetings in Marrakesh

Picto doigtReport on the National Committees meeting in Marrakesh

Picto doigtICOMOS Morocco's website with more information on the 2019 ICOMOS meetings


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