A global pandemic, a climate emergency, social and racial tensions, and economic turmoil. In this moment of unprecedented disruption, how is heritage conservation challenged by this upheaval, and how can it rise to meet it? If preservation is truly a conversation with our past about our future, it may be uniquely positioned to serve as an agent of transformative change. This keynote session brings together a distinguished panel of heritage observers to make sense of where we are, and to chart a way forward.
Dr. Kisha Supernant (Director, Institute for Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB) Land, Time, and Good Relations: Reconciling Indigenous Heritage for the Future In this presentation, I will discuss how heritage intersects with the TRC Calls to Action and UNDRIP, exploring the important role of heritage practitioners in supporting Indigenous heritage while also questioning how heritage preservation is framed in the lands we call Canada. Drawing on examples of my archaeological research in Alberta and Saskatchewan, I demonstrate the value of Indigenous, community-led heritage projects where Indigenous communities have the opportunity to center their values around heritage. I conclude with a series of questions to consider for heritage practitioners and some suggestions for change that can help heritage practitioners build good relations with Indigenous communities.
Donovan Rypkema (President, Heritage Strategies International, Washington,DC) Justice, Equity, Quality of Life: What Preservation is Doing Today; What it Needs to Do Tomorrow Preservation has not done all it should in terms of being inclusionary, equitable, and just. But when we look at data rather than rhetoric, historic neighborhoods in the aggregate are closer to being a demographic mirror of the city, than are non-historic neighborhoods. They also have an attraction that reaches across race, education, income, and ethnicity. But whatever progress we’ve made, we need to make more. And there is one action preservationists are uniquely qualified to take that will advance the causes of equity, economic integration, the environment, local jobs, and most importantly, affordable housing. That action is becoming advocates for the retention and reinvestment of older housing stock, whether or not it merits historic designation.
Stephanie Allen (Associate VP, Strategic Business Operations and Performance, BC Housing & Director, Hogan’s Alley Society, Vancouver, BC) Fight the Power: Transforming Cities Through a Revolution of Ideology, Imagination, & Values Black people have formed community in and been displaced from sites across Canada since before the Dominion was imposed on Indigenous lands. The settlement infrastructures and wealth creation for white settlers in Canada were made possible through violent land and human theft. This history of land dispossession, coupled with the legacy of slavery, continues to influence the social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of modern Canadian society and urban development; it is an ongoing process grounded in and reinforcing systems of oppression. For cities to be fully understood we must critically examine how cities are racialized, class divided, disabling, and gendered places. It will take a revolution of ideology, imagination, and values, to transform our cities and dismantle the apparatus that harms so many for the profit of so few. This presentation will focus on the history of white resistance to Black settlement in Canada through an examination of the brief life of a Black neighbourhood in Vancouver that came to be known as Hogan’s Alley. It will trace the evolution of anti-Blackness in early Town Planning and how the policy norms of urban development and heritage conservation help maintain the colonial project that entrenches poverty, misogyny, racism, homelessness, and ableism in our cities. It will conclude with an aspirational consideration of what is possible when we torch the status quo and replace it with intersectional approaches in pursuit of constructing the just city.
Participants will be able to describe the array of social, environmental, and economic challenges facing the heritage conservation field.
Participants will be able to explain strategies for building good relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Participants will be able describe how historic preservation can advance societal goals of inclusion, equity, and affordable housing.
Participants will be able to understand how urban planning and heritage conservation can forward inclusion in communities.