Prosper Wanner: Why a forum on the social value of heritage in Marseille?

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Faced with a crisis of political representativity, a less and less sustainable development model and increasing social tensions, on 12 and 13 September 2013 in Marseille, for the Marseille Forum a broad panel including local elected representatives, The Council of Europe, civil society actors, artists and ordinary citizens will state the role they want to play in cultural heritage for an improvement of their living environment, a solidarity economy, a strengthened social dialogue and participatory democracy. This role attributed to cultural heritage in Europe is the result of 30 years of work by the Council of Europe on "the value of cultural heritage for society" which was translated into 2005 by the adoption of a framework convention, the so-called Faro convention. This Faro Convention has begun to emerge from anonymity since Italy signed it in March 2013. However, the symposiums and articles that address it in Europe show that it is still difficult to interpret. The central place it reserves for the citizens, alone or in common, is put forward without clarifying its stakes. Is this a new category of heritage, a "citizen heritage" close to the small heritage or intangible heritage? A new Convention on intangible heritage in line with that of UNESCO? Is it advocating better consideration of "priority" audiences in heritage management? The Marseille Forum will allow the Council of Europe to revert to this framework Convention, to promote it in Europe and to update its stakes. This Forum is the first in a series of "Faro rides" that the Council of Europe programme to promote this framework Convention and create the conditions for monitoring its implementation. It will focus on the social value of the heritage for society. The back port of Marseille is poor in protected heritage whether it is listed or classified as small heritage, intangible heritage, landscape, archive,…. Just as it is in Europe one of the main foci of heritage citizen initiatives that mobilize elected representatives, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, associations and simple inhabitants. The back port of Marseilles exceeds the administrative limits of the boroughs of Marseille concerned to extend over several neighbouring communes. It is rich in stories related to migratory fluxes and Ebb, to the evolution of the port, to industrial development, to the former bastide of the Marseille bourgeoisie,…. Its inhabitants carry these stories all like the local scholars and the scientists who are interested in them. However, the sum of the narratives does not make a collective narrative. This absence of a collective narrative favours the feeling of abandonment, exclusion and social segregation for the inhabitants: Newcomers versus inhabitants of cities versus village nuclei versus new companies. For the decision makers who are in charge of the future of these neighbourhoods, the absence of collective narrative peculiar to those who live there participates in making them "invisible": they build in the desert. This abandonment coupled with ignorance generates violence which translates into the degradation of living together and the defiance of politics and the institution. Paradoxically, the defence of the living environment has become a pretext to begin the collective narrative. Where there are declared or latent tensions linked to the living environment, there are established groups: friendly tenants, neighbourhood associations, groupings of companies, collectives of inhabitants and elected representatives… Narration of the collective narrative begins with that of the narratives linked to these tensions. This work of collective narration began as early as 1995 thanks to the establishment of a European experimental mission of integrated heritage between the city of Marseille and the Council of Europe. A "Heritage public service" was experienced through the provision of a heritage curator's position to write their collective narrative with them. This process of continuous writing reveals the sources of tensions: popular knowledge against scientific knowledge, economic use against living environment, national narrative against minority narratives, etc. The Faro convention allows us to give a framework for common regulation of its tensions. It makes the capacity developed in Europe to manage its own conflicts its common heritage, that of all Europeans: it is democracy, the rule of law and human rights. This common heritage becomes the method of managing the tensions linked to the construction of the collective narrative: democratically and in the general interest. There is no longer a descending arbitration on what is patrimonial or not but of the conciliation and reconciliation processes around a societal project, of a "living together". The "Social Value" – Living together – heritage is recognized as one of the values of heritage in the same way its aesthetic, scientific, symbolic, economic value, etc. The Faro framework Convention became in these quarters the common framework that Allows political action. The mayors of the 2nd, 7me and 8th sectors of Marseille and of the trolls signed their adherence to the principles set out in the Faro Convention. Its local elected representatives and citizens gathered in "heritage communities" have collectively adhered to the principles of the Convention to develop a common framework and perspective and to make a collective narrative.  This continuous writing process slowly weaves links and contributes to community. These heritage communities, making a collective narrative, produce citizenship. The construction of the collective narrative confronts the narratives, interviews and agencies: it allows an understanding of the environment in which people live. Representations, positions and modes of action evolve at the same time as the collective narrative is built. It allows the passage from the mode of the singular denunciation to the collective action. Everyone is a bearer of knowledge and know-how, a social recognition in neighbourhoods where it no longer exists through work for lack of jobs. This heritage process thus contributes to "making society". It contributes to a re-appropriation of the common good and develops the collective imaginary, prior to political action. The collective narrative acquires a heritage dimension that makes it legitimate and shared. Of the particular case, the issue becomes a society. The heritage process provides access to symbolic resources and collective identity that make political action possible. The heritage community becomes a visible, legitimate and resourceful interlocutor, allowing it to exist and act. In the long run, these heritage processes are proving to be powerful levers of transformation: they contribute to modify the urban planning plans as in the case of the cascade of Aygalades, to obtain legal protection as in the case of the soap of Marseille, to To recognize new heritages and have enabled the development of projects of the European capital of culture such as the GR2013, culture pilots and Hotel du Nord. To return to the Faro Convention, in all these processes, the narrative precedes the Heritage object. Heritage remains a pretext or a possible result of a heritage process but not its purpose. The heritage object can symbolize these collective narratives like other forms such as Urban Stroll, a publication (accounts of hospitality), artistic intervention or prevention action (the workshops of urban revelations), etc in this sense, it does is not to add a new category of heritage, to recommend a better consideration of the public or to contribute to better protection of the intangible heritage. The Faro Convention focuses on heritage as a process for "making society". It considers that each citizen holds a share of the collective narrative which deserves to be taken into account in order to live together better; The writing of the collective narrative – making a society – is done at the level of citizens (heritage community/principles of subsidiarity), "in the context of public action", guaranteeing the modalities for writing this narrative (Faro Convention/principle of substitution). Prosper Wanner, August 2013

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