The American Research Center in Eygpt

LECTURE: Outside the Box: ARCE's USAID-funded Conservation Projects in Egypt and the Social Life of Heritage

LECTURE: Outside the Box: ARCE's USAID-funded Conservation Projects in Egypt and the Social Life of Heritage

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LECTURE: Outside the Box: ARCE's USAID-funded Conservation Projects in Egypt and the Social Life of Heritage

Date: Sunday, April 10, 2011, 2:00pm

Chapter: Atlanta, Georgia

Speaker: Michael Jones, ARCE - Associate DIrector, EAC

Location: Emory University, White Hall, Room 206

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Description: This lecture will show how ARCE is engaged with its Egyptian partners in the preservation of cultural heritage as an important aspect of scholarship, social development and diplomacy in contemporary Egypt.

Cultural heritage survives only when it is valued and given new uses as times change. Therefore, an important question to ask in a heritage conservation project is; who values the heritage and what for? These issues will be illustrated using examples from ARCE’s USAID-funded conservation projects from 1996 to the present.

In Egypt, as elsewhere, numerous interest groups have always been invested in the survival of what we now call cultural heritage. They determine how the tangible (architecture or wall paintings) and intangible heritage (memory, customs or beliefs) and the living (churches or mosques) and past heritage (temples or tombs) are retained or rejected. Thus, culture can be seen as a continuous process in which the actions of past peoples and the decisions of today’s heritage managers, archaeologists and conservators intersect and control what future generations will enjoy, admire, study and cherish.

Preservation rarely happens by accident but through decisions based on perceptions of value and significance. The discussion is invigorated by various, often conflicting agendas that scholars, tourists, residents, visitors, investors, developers, conservators, clergy and others bring to any debate about how and why the vastly diverse heritage should be preserved, and how these views are addressed and adapted to implement cultural heritage conservation in Egypt.

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