ICOMOS General Assembly 2023

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. The members of ICOMOS contribute to improving the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property: buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites.

Australia ICOMOS was formed in 1976 as a national committee of ICOMOS and its mission is to lead cultural heritage conservation in Australia by raising standards, encouraging debate and generating innovative ideas. Australia ICOMOS is known for developing the ‘The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance’, otherwise known as the Burra Charter. This document and approach to conserving heritage emprises the broad nature of heritage significance rather than heritage significance being determined by an ‘expert’. The Burra Charter forms the basis for heritage practice in Australia.

Both international ICOMOS and Australia ICOMOS have various National and International Scientific Committees, regular meetings and lively conferences.

Every three years, ICOMOS holds its General Assembly, which comprises meetings of the International Executive Committee, Advisory Committee and Scientific Council, voting in of the new International Executive Committee, meetings of the International Scientific Committees and a conference. The 21st Triennial General Assembly of ICOMOS will be held in Sydney from 31 August – 9 September 2023. This is slightly later than originally planned but the pandemic got in the way.

Promised to be bigger than ‘Ben Hur’, the General Assembly is usually attended by over 1,000 heritage professionals from around the world. The GA includes ICOMOS business meetings as well as what they call a ‘Scientific Symposium’, which will showcase and discuss the latest in heritage practice organised around the theme of Heritage Changes.

ICOMOS has invited the Sydney community to join some free events during the ICOMOS GA.

RAHS Members might be particularly interested in the Heritage Lecture at Sydney Town Hall on Monday 4 September from 6 pm – 8 pm which positions Australian Aboriginal heritage in a global context and learn more about the scope and interconnectedness of living cultural heritage in the southeast region of Australia. You can book tickets here.

The Heritage Exposition at Darling Harbour also runs from Tuesday, 5 September – Saturday, 9 September 2023. Time: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm daily. This will be at ICC Sydney, Level 2 and is free.

This is promised to be a fascinating showcase of cultural heritage highlighting a journey to discover Australia’s World Heritage properties, while also gaining insights into our professional heritage expertise and cultural heritage projects both locally and internationally.

The Heritage Trades Fair will promote traditional heritage trades and showcase trade skills rarely seen today, but essential to the repair of heritage buildings. It is on at the ICC Sydney forecourt between Thursday, 7 September – Saturday, 9 September 2023, 8.30 am – 5.00 pm daily and is free.

Dr Iain Stuart, RAHS President

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