Manifesta 9 Symposium on Cultural Heritage
At the symposium ‘The Future under Construction’ – organised on the 13th and 14th of September 2012 by the Province of Limburg, the Heritage Unit Mijn-Erfgoed and Manifesta 9 – the participants and speakers worked together on formulating a vision regarding the role of heritage for the future of the mine region.
On the first day a number of speakers presented the actions undertaken in the other European countries with a mining past: Keith Falconer (English Heritage) did this for the United Kingdom, Cathérine Bertram (Mission Bassinminier) and Bettina Steindl (Ruhr.2010, Urbane Künste Ruhr) for France and Germany respectively.
During the second day the main focus was on economical and socio-cultural questions, thoroughly discussed by Stijn Bijnens (LRM), Jorijn Neyrinck (tapis plein vzw) and Nico Nelissen (Radboud University Nijmegen). The participants’ input was collected during several "OpenSpace" discussion rounds, which were carried out in a SWOT analysis (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats). ‘The Manifesto for the Mine Region’, partly prepared during two workshops in May and June 2012, is now going to be finalised on the basis of the results of the symposium.
Macro–narrative for Europe
Both the presentations and the input given during the discussion rounds, clearly stressed the importance of constructing a Macro-narrative that links the regional actors in Europe.
In theory, the Macro-narrative is an empty shell, a format, frame or structure, which only gains a practical expression once it is connected to a specific content. The ‘Micro-narratives’ of all actors, inhabitants and users of a region can provide these contents. A strong and convincing story of and for the region can only be constructed if the Macro-narrative reports on the shared elements, whereby the differences of the Micro-narratives become effective.
Connecting the Macro- and Micro-narrative(s)
The connection between the Macro- and Micro-narratives should consider the three angles: People, Location / Space and Techniques / Methodology.
Someone has to take over control
In many ways it became clear that different Micro-narratives and approaches are needed in order to tell a convincing Macro-narrative. But also that every threat of the SWOT analysis can be turned into an opportunity or strength.
The participants of the symposium agreed that there is a lack of coordination. So far, this has been missing. If the region wishes to develop, it needs a strong director. Someone has to take over control!
During the upcoming months and years raising awareness – amongst the inhabitants, visitors, actors and policy makers- will become one of the key issues. A first step towards this will be taken at the moment the Manifesto for the Mine Region is published – a fundamental text containing guidelines on the above described themes, as a point of departure for future developments. By organising the symposium and writing the Manifesto Manifesta 9, the Province of Limburg and the Heritage Unit Mijn-Erfgoed, hope to achieve movement and sustainability in and for the region. The ultimate goal would be climbing higher and higher, reaching new levels every year, and eventually arriving at the upper level: a common shared vision with enough potential and support to actually be executed. The Manifesto will remain continuously under development.