"Game-Changing Caribbean Conservation Conference"

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The UWI/ OAS Caribbean Heritage Network (CHN) will host its inaugural conference “Caribbean Conversations in Conservation” Conference at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business and Management at The University of the West Indies (UWI) in Barbados next month, March 16-19, 2020. The hands-on workshop-oriented conference for heritage professionals including archaeologists, architects, engineers, archivists, and museum professionals is a milestone capacity building exercise for the region’s professionals to gain knowledge and experience in the area of conservation. Workshops, sessions and field-based study will be integrated into this 4-day conference.

This conference will allow heritage practitioners to share their expertise while enhancing policymakers’ understanding of the unique threats, challenges and opportunities for heritage conservation in the region. Another expected outcome of the conference is to help protect, conserve, and interpret the region’s outstanding heritage from the built environment to endangered collections and documents, and to work towards the establishment of viable multidisciplinary initiatives and regional partnerships to provide mutual support.

A special focus of the conference will be on Climate Change, disaster risk preparedness and first aid to cultural heritage in emergencies. Conference organizers welcome the collaboration of a number of practitioners from leading preservation organizations in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe as well as from the Caribbean. The opening workshops on March 16 will be “Keeping History Above Water: Caribbean Workshop” hosted by the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning and the Newport Restoration Foundation in collaboration with the Barbados Institute of Architects (BIA). It will explore how Climate Change and sea level rise affects vulnerable coastal urban landscapes and what built environment practitioners can do to plan and adapt. The other opening workshop will focus on “Disaster Preparedness for Heritage Institutions” including museums, libraries and archives. 

CHN Director, Dr. Tara Inniss, remarks “This conference is potentially a game-changing approach to heritage conservation in the Caribbean. We need to change our thinking that someone from outside of the region is going to value our heritage more than ourselves. We have a latent heritage industry waiting for innovative and strategic investment that can stimulate the creative industries we all talk about, but need to do more to promote regionally as part of our economic development. Conservation is at the heart of this conversation. We have to protect and maintain what we have now before we lose it forever.”

The CHN is a network of heritage professionals (individuals and organizations) from around the region and further afield who are committed to the promotion and protection of the Caribbean’s heritage resources. For more information about the conference visit https://www.caribheritage.org/CCC2020.