Missing the IHBC’s 2018 School? … ‘Not’ a 2018 IHBC School prelude, but keynote Jukka Jokilehto outlines the origins of the 1993 ICOMOS Guidelines 

publicationThough not the formal topic for the afternoon’s keynote speaker at the IHBC’s 2018 Belfast School, Professor Jukka Jokilehto offers NewsBlog readers his first-hand knowledge of the background to the 1993 ICOMOS Guidelines on conservation training, drafted following an informal query from IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly about the origins of this key standard in conservation practice.

Seán O’Reilly said: ‘IHBC members especially will know just how central the principles in the 1993 ICOMOS ‘Guidelines’ are to our work.  In discussions around Prof. Jokilehto’s 2018 School presentation, I also asked him about their historical background.’

‘Helpfully – and characteristically – he penned a short history of his first-hand experience of the document’s evolution through the International Training Committee of ICOMOS, ‘CIF’.  Reproduced below, it may help others, as well as myself, to better understand the history of this foundation document for the conservation standards of the Institute.’

‘Clearly we owe our afternoon Keynote speaker for the 2018 School an even bigger debt of gratitude’.

Prof Jukka Jokileto writes:

Concerning CIF 1993 guidelines, I was personally involved in the process. The proposal to draft the guidelines came from Andrzej Tomaszewski, the founding president of CIF. It was proposed by him during a CIF meeting in Montreal in 1989. Bernard Feilden was asked to prepare the first draft. Indeed, his draft already included most of the articles in the final document. However, the paper went through a long debate, and as I was the Secretary General of CIF, my task was to edit the document through the process. Bernard and I were at the same time also preparing the Management Guidelines for World Cultural Heritage Sites, which was published by ICCROM in 1993.

Some of the important issues that Bernard introduced included the definition of ‘conservation’, and the list of issues indicated in article 5. This list was then taken as a test piece by Bernard and Richard Davies (COTAC) and circulated to UK colleagues in different disciplines. The idea was to test applicability. Bernard was happy to see that it worked. While the professional conservationists were seen to meet all the requirements, also non-professionals needed many of the skills. Bernard preferred to talk about ‘conservationists’ in the sense that this could cover not only professionals like architects, but also others, such as craftspersons, surveyors, property owners, etc. The COTAC document was discussed in their meeting in November 1992.

The title of the CIF Guideline was proposed to be referred to the World Heritage definitions, which speak of ‘monuments, groups of buildings and sites’. However, Herb Stovel considered that it was better to use the word ‘ensembles’ – as it was in the French version of the Convention – rather than ‘groups of buildings, which felt too material. We should also remember that this discussion coincided with the discussion on authenticity. During the 1993 ICOMOS General Assembly in Colombo, a group of us discussed this issue and our Japanese colleagues proposed to invite an international conference to Nara. This took place in late 1994, anticipated by a preparatory meeting in Bergen (Norway). Of course, Herb and I were part of these events as well.

Once the CIF Guidelines had been circulated amongst the members, the document was also brought to the attention of a group of ICCROM Council members. This group had been specifically established by Bernard, when he was Director of ICCROM, in order to discuss training and education. Here, Colin Pearson (Australia) insisted that when discussing cultural heritage, we should also mention the contents: ‘They include historic buildings, historic areas and towns, archaeological sites, and the contents therein, as well as historic and cultural landscapes.’ The ICCROM discussion also stressed the issue of disaster preparedness, which was introduced in article 9.

The French version was prepared by a French colleague, a lawyer who was working with the administration at the time. The CIF Guidelines were adopted by the ICOMOS General Assembly in Colombo in 1993. The quality of the French version was also appreciated.

Notes by J. Jokilehto, 15.05.2018

 For the Guidelines see:

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