Daniel Thérond: The Faro Convention, heritage and change management

Following the signing of the Faro Convention by the Italian state, Hotel du Nord continues to put online the texts of the speakers at the meeting of 2 March 2013 in Venice (see the presentation of the meeting and see the texts already online). Here is the text of the communication of Daniel Therond, Secretary of the Drafting Committee of the Faro Convention and former head of the Department of Culture, Heritage and diversity at the Council of Europe. Offering an updated view of the heritage the Convention to which Italy has just acceded supplements the previous major texts of the Council of Europe and UNESCO on cultural property. This text resituates heritage as a response to the expectations and needs of citizens ' well-being in advanced democracies. It highlights the party that can be drawn from the heritage to improve the quality of the living environment of the inhabitants while promoting a strengthening of the social bond. As a framework Convention, Faro is a site of reflection and experience that it will be up to each country to develop according to its specificities. However, a very specific illumination of the text is due to the "bottom up" approach suggested with the concept of "heritage community", which carries initiatives and public engagement. The new construction of the heritage promoted by Faro is based on four pillars:

  •  The perception of heritage not as an end in itself but as a useful resource to society;
  • Access to and use of heritage as a practice of human rights experienced by citizens;
  • The shared responsibility of all towards this heritage and the diversification of its actors;
  • The direction of the heritage economy towards sustainable development of the Territories.

Heritage as a resource Faro adopts a definition that exceeds the traditional compartmentalization of material and intangible, buildings and objects. It is a "resource" expression of "values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions in continual evolution". Far from being only retrospective the lead of the heritage continues over time. For the first time also a convention defines the "common heritage of Europe", as the product of successive strata having characterized the territories. It is the whole of these strata in all their aspects, whatever the origin and the vicissitudes, which today form the heritage of a certain place.  Perhaps it is precisely the diversity of such a resource and all its facets that may have spawned in time the creativity of the territories up to the present. Faro also encompasses in the common heritage of Europe the ideals of principles and values that have led to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. This unprecedented political reference to the traditional definition of cultural property was controversial in the drafting of the text. However, the relevance of the text is better understood when one thinks of a world news involving violence and resurgences of obscurantism. The use of heritage resources and the exercise of human rights in the extension of fundamental rights, the fact that every person can be recognized in one or more heritages is the right to participate in the cultural life recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the increasingly recognized right of the jurisprudence to benefit from a better environment.  Every person (article 4) must "respect the cultural heritage of others as well as their own heritage and consequently the common heritage of Europe".  The article on "Cultural Heritage and dialogue" innovates in an instrument of this type by referring to methods of intercultural interpretation of property and to a conciliation process where contradictory values are Attributed to the same heritage by various communities. Thus heritage becomes a pedagogical tool that can contribute to a culture of living together: far from fuelling the exacerbations of identity it can promote the awareness by people of the multi-cultural affiliation of many territories and their inhabitants. Shared responsibility and the diversification of actors the concept of a "heritage community", not to be enclosed within ethnic or linguistic boundaries, embodies the exercise of the right to heritage on the ground. It reflects the involvement of people sharing the same interests in the identification, conservation, valorisation and dissemination of heritage approaches. The initiatives born spontaneously in Venice and Marseille illustrate the importance of heritage communities who intend to invest in the development of the potential of the territory's resources. Examples are multiplying in other countries, particularly in the case of industrial wastelands and large equipment of the 19th and 20th centuries calling for reconversion. Faro is the first international text (cf. Title III) describing the indispensable combined action of a range of actors (public authorities, investors, property owners, private companies, professional circles and associations). The growing share of the contribution of private investors and the associative world does not, of course, make the role of the public authorities responsible for the general interest and the setting of the rules of the game obsolete. Public/private collaborations and the balance between the involvement of experts and public participation, the role of public officials and the commitment of civil society are the challenges of a new set of Policies and heritage practices. The diversification of roles and modes of intervention is obviously linked to the heritage economy. Deepening the debate on a diversified heritage economy long regarded as an unproductive burden heritage has been seen for decades as a source of benefits from tourism and a set of cultural industries. Studies on the direct and indirect effects of investment in heritage and its multiplier effects are numerous. However, it would be possible to refine the reflection because it cannot have a single vision and apply the same recipes to different and complex situations such as: the management of urban centres and habitat, the management of very frequented major monuments or the Otherwise insufficiently frequented, very diversified activities entering the meaning of Faro in the wide family of heritage such as crafts, the arts of the table, gastronomy, fashion, or even the popular arts and traditions or the Carnival. Because of their nature and meanings certain types of heritage entails constraints of protection, respect for authenticity and a large proportion of public funding while other elements can live with constraints of protection Less or even without legal protection and from largely private funding and volunteer support. There is a role everywhere for heritage communities, on the understanding that in some cases this role is all the more decisive because there is a lack of support for public budgets because there is no means. Solutions and partnerships are actually building on a case-by-case basis. Faro's follow-up involves a valuable international exchange of experiences ("benchmarking") that can help to identify and better understand the strategy of cross-financing and informative transposable of partnership. The sustainable use of the heritage potential of the territories could put the main emphasis on the prospects for the growth of cultural tourism in the hundreds of millions of new potential visitors from countries Both the heritage and the landscapes of Europe keep attractive. There is no need here to dwell on a development choice that would make certain parts of Europe a huge amusement park after relocation of almost all other production activities… It is an otherwise ambitious vision that underlies the Convention by inserting the heritage into as broad a perspective as possible of land-use planning and endogenous development. It is obvious that we must bring Faro closer to the European landscape Convention (Florence 2000), both of which are part of a territorial regeneration perspective involving not only tourism activities and their direct, indirect effects and induced but a real diversification of economic activities drawing on "territorial intelligence", knowledge and know-how of regions and cities and calls for the experience of any other alternative model of sustainable development and Solidarity economy that promotes employment. It is the interest of articles 8 to 10 of the Convention to underline principles of sustainable use of resources such as the importance of maintenance, respect for heritage values in the case of adaptation and conversion of goods, the insertion of needs Conservation in the technical regulations of general scope, the promotion of the use of ancient materials and techniques and the exploration of their contribution in contemporary production, finally the maintenance of a high level of Qualification by the procedures of qualification and accreditation of persons or companies. Article 13 stresses the major role of training and the transmission of know-how which is a "sine qua non" condition of the heritage future. European cooperation in this area remains a need to be met on-line, moreover, with the work initiated in Venice from the years 70 by the Council of Europe with its experimental Centre for the training of craftsmen and the networks initiated at that time.  The promotion of the image of trades and their economic and social utility remains, in all cases, an imperative of local development. Through several articles emphasizing the strengthening of access to heritage as a central objective, Faro also addresses the issues of the use of digital technologies (article 14) both in terms of content quality, Linguistic diversity, prevention of illicit traffic in cultural property and free access to information. These subjects call for work on ethics and deontology which would have its place in an effective monitoring of the Convention. Such follow-up remains to be put in place to promote the development of the momentum created by the innovative text of the Council of Europe on the ground. It is legally up to the signatory States to specify their forms under the auspices of the Council of Europe.  However, it is not doubtful that regions and cities as well as civil society will have a practical role to play, for example, when we keep in mind the spontaneous experiences in Marseille and Venice around the "message of Faro".  Thematic projects could thus be launched and pursued through networks of European partners willing to invest in them. Without any exhaustiveness come in particular in mind: the comparative study of local development activities based on the sustainable use of heritage resources; The experience of new audiences (Cf. "Northern Hotel"); The Vitality of crafts and heritage in the competitiveness of the Territories; The quality of content of digital products using heritage support; The evolution of professional profiles and the expert/public relationship. But many other entries would be taken into account as the evolution of the idea of heritage emerged from Faro. In conclusion, Venice had welcomed in 1964 the drafting of the basic text of the ICOMOS Charter on architectural Conservation. With the signing of the Faro Convention and this colloquium, Italy is actively contributing to a revival of the debate on the role of heritage in a changing society that seeks benchmarks and reasons for hope. If the concept of heritage did not exist for a long time, it would have to be invented today, as it is important for the understanding and acceptance of the diversity of our societies, for the commitment of creative projects and social networks that they Engender, and finally to put into practice concrete initiatives of "sustainable" development for the benefit of the greatest number in a more optimistic and humane Europe. Daniel Therond, Venice, March 2013.  

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