3-5 october 2019
AGM ASCE 2019 Ghent Heritage cemeteries in the 21st century: use, re-use and shared use
Ghent, Provinciaal Administratief Centrum ‘Het Zuid’
Mneme: The individual and collective memory as part of the Cemetery Heritage
THE USE OF MEMORY How do we use our autobiographical, collective and cultural memory TODAY?We at Mneme often ask ourselves this question. Cemetery spaces are not just funerary or museum “containers”. They bear witness to the history and memory of an entire population, such as, for example, industrial archaeology sites. There is a wealth of material and immaterial memories in the cemetery landscape that affect, even if motionless and in silence, the historical and socio-cultural processes of an entire community. Memory has quite a complex anthropological and psychic function, even if we are not aware of it.
THE POTENTIAL OF CEMETERY SPACES How do we use the potential of cemetery spaces in Europe? The social and cultural planning, within the Cultural Heritage sector of Universities and non-profit organizations, is today having to manage an increasingly hybrid and complex reality. There’s a need for competent professional people in numerous sectors that are versatile, capable of facing the criticalities of finding funding; the difficulties of inefficient organizational and economic models; the communication and partnership problems between public and private bodies; listening to and getting communities involved. Can these sectors be basins of inspiration and support for cemetery management in order to focus on and share the criticalities of use and reuse of cemetery spaces? For example, there is a lack of human resources in managing cemeteries that are capable of devoting themselves to planning more extensive and complex socio-cultural projects; an interdisciplinary network that produces ideas, revives human and economic resources and involves the community.
MEMORY AND THE COMMUNITY Does European cemetery management know today’s “users” of cemetery spaces? Is it open-minded and listening to the needs of the community that uses these places today? Nowadays, it’s not just enthusiastic tourists who walk among cemeteries, it’s also people, families, generations with different needs, customs and cultural habits. The community must be heard and included in a policy of requalification and re-use of a public place in relation to its cultural context.
This kind of message we brought to AGM Asce 2019 meeting in city of Ghent.