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The Best in Heritage 2012 conference held in Dubrovnik, Croatia

From 27 to 29 September, 2012, the annual Best in Heritage Conference, patronised by ICOM, was held in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Dubrovnik, Croatia for the eleventh year.

The Best in Heritage 2012 conference held in Dubrovnik, Croatia

© Filip Beusan

Some 130 participants from 31 countries took part in the vibrant gathering. Twenty-three awarded projects from 17 countries were presented during the three-day conference, including recipients of the European Museum Forum / Kenneth Hudson Award, the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award, the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation and other honours from various countries.

Representatives presented their projects and institutions in such a way as to produce the most applicable portrait of experience of the awarded projects and the actors in their implementation.

Julien Anfruns, Director General of ICOM, delivered a keynote speech on the topic of “Ethics for the Heritage Sector – How ethical debates allow our field to progress”. As ethical standards and discourse associated with the heritage field have evolved to respond to new expectations, obstacles and opportunities, museums and cultural institutions are constantly striving “[to update…] actions and practices to adapt to the specific challenges of a changing social, political and ecological environment”. During the closing panel discussion, he concluded that the presentations over the two-day event had shared some common ground, circling around three main roles for cultural institutions:  animating and preserving intangible heritage; engaging with society; and cultivating a sense of innovation and capacity to take risks.

The conference ended with an award voted on by the audience for the best formal presentation, which went to 4 grada Dragodid for its preservation project for dry-stone masonry in the Eastern Adriatic.