ISC In Depth: ICIP, the International Scientific Committee (ISC) on Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites

We occasionally feature ICOMOS ISCs in order to highlight their work and provide potential members with information about how to join. Please note that in order to be considered for ISC membership, you must first be an International member of US/ICOMOS. If you have not yet joined ICOMOS for this year, you can join here.

Today we’re featuring ICIP, described by U.S. member and ICIP Vice President Anne Ketz.

1. Tell us your name, occupation, company and a few words about your interest in ICIP.

I am Anne Ketz, one of the owners of the 106 Group, a consulting company that has guided the planning, management, and interpretation of natural, historical, and cultural resources for over 27 years. My career in heritage management and planning extends over 30 years and three continents. I firmly believe that good interpretation is key to sustainable heritage management. In this modern world, people’s connections to a place and their community are often detached. The culture, nature, and history that define these places is forgotten or never learned. It’s hard to imagine the prairie before the metropolis, the wheat before the bread, or the world before today. Interpreters are responsible for inspiring this kind of imagination and helping people understand the value of a place’s story. Stories connect people to a specific place, providing them with distinct experiences and stronger links to the community. These connections and unique stories are a critical part of sustainable heritage management practices. ICIP plays a key role within ICOMOS and beyond to ensure a strong future for our heritage for generations to come. I am honored to serve my second term as vice president for this organization.

2.  Tell us about the work of ICIP in a few sentences.

Within ICOMOS, ICIP’s role is to develop the theory and practice of heritage interpretation in relation to cultural heritage.

The ICIP Board has been working towards implementing the current ICIP Strategic Plan, particularly focusing on working closely with other interpretation organizations to foster partnerships and collaborate on joint projects. We continue to advance the ICIP partnership with Life Beyond Tourism, run by the Fondazione Romualdo Del Bianco® in Italy, to collaborate in developing new models for sustainable tourism that include interpretation. ICIP President Sue Hodges and I played key roles at the Life Beyond Tourism’s General Assembly in Florence in 2019. Sadly, the cancellation of the conference in March this year meant we could not continue that physical presence.

We continue to find ways to promote the goals for the Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites in all our work.

We had prepared the ICOMOS Interpretation 2020 Conference to be held at the Angkor World Heritage Site in partnership with APSARA National Authority. Unfortunately, this had to be cancelled along with the ICOMOS General Assembly. The Board is now re-prioritizing next steps as the world comes to terms with the pandemic and economic crisis, and we consider the role of interpretation in that new world.

3.  What are the qualifications for membership in your committee and how should potential members apply?

Anne Ketz in India 1990

ICIP does not have rigid requirements to be a member. Any ICOMOS member can become a member of ICIP. However, if an ICOMOS member wishes to become an Expert Member of ICIP, they must submit an application for approval by the ICIP Board. We ask for evidence of a commitment to the interpretive field and evidence that your work has contributed to advancing interpretive best practices. This work would be in line with the goals for the Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites.
To apply, please submit your resume/curriculum vita and a cover letter summarizing your expertise and describing what you hope to achieve and contribute as a member of ICIP. Submit your application to the ICIP President, Sue Hodges at sue [at] shp.net.au.

4.  How do members participate in ICIP (meetings, online conversations, etc.)?

The dramatic global changes due the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis require rethinking ICIP’s strategic plan and priorities. The ICIP committee is developing a survey for members to revisit what will be the most valuable focus of our efforts in the next year. ICOMOS and all the scientific committees need to rethink what is the most valuable contribution of our skills and resources to our members while continuing to meet ICOMOS’s mission in these difficult times. In addition, committees are investigating online delivery and training mechanisms.

5.  Once they have been accepted, how do you recommend new members get involved?

There are a few ways members can support the work of ICIP:

  • Board elections: The next Board elections will be coming up in 2021. Please consider running for a position on the Board.
  • Web site: One of our new priorities is updating the ICIP web site. The Board would appreciate support from members who have experience with content development and design.
  • Partnerships: Continue to develop relationships with Life Beyond Tourism, APSARA collaboration for future conference at Angkor, and other national/international organizations.

6.  Is there anything else that you would like prospective members to know?

Storytelling and good interpretation are a critical part of the future of sustainable heritage management. If people understand why a place is important and special, they are more likely to make efforts to preserve and nurture it. We encourage anyone who shares this passion and has experience in this field to join us. ICIP is a place for people to share their expertise and experience in heritage interpretation. We need to ensure we are relevant; interpretation is a key tool in connecting people, place, and time. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at anneketz [at] 106group.com (www.106group.com).

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