Call for papers


On the 9th and 10th of October 2024, the TECHN&ART - Technology, Restoration and Arts Enhancement Centre, from the Polytechnic University of Tomar (IPT), in Portugal, will be organizing the HeriCC 1st International Conference designed to be a forum of discussion in emerging topics in HERITAGE, CONSERVATION and CREATIVITY. This year’s inaugural conference will focus on the theme of Cultural Heritage in transformation. The conference, to be held at the Polytechnic University of Tomar, follows several exercises already practiced within the framework of the CREATIVE CONSERVATION methodology, whose results will be displayed and discussed during the conference.

CREATIVE CONSERVATION has been under development at TECHN&ART/IPT  since 2012 as a call to change the current mainstream conservation ecology:

Creative Conservation can be said to be a framework that promotes artistic creativity in its intentional application to the creation of a new and innovative conservation (by)product, which might be an installation, an exhibition, a performance or an object, among many other, yet to be envisaged, possibilities. This new creative approach brings together original materials and an innovative interpretation that establishes new meanings for these materials while fostering their sustainable preservation.

Triães, Nogueira & Chasqueira, 2023



The idea of developing a new kind of heritage conservation – creative conservation – emerged while searching for new approaches to recover, preserve and communicate artefacts that were severely damaged or otherwise thought lost and/or somewhat useless (but, nevertheless, of historical and/or cultural significance). As far as the history goes, in 2012, when faced with the challenge of preserving a set of fragments from a ruined factory that were about to be discarded, the only and alternative option was to be creative. The state of conservation of the materials themselves was not that important, but rather what they represented and communicated; to adopt a classic or traditional approach – observation and analysis/ diagnosis/ intervention – was not an option. It was necessary to find a solution to preserve the material fabric of those fragments, alongside their communicative function. This required the need to respect and account for the normal process of transformation that the fragments experienced over time; their degradation, dissociation and even their loss and oblivion in a positive way. It was around these ideas that the concept of Creative Conservation was developed. It can be placed between the need to conserve an object/fragment and the need to find an innovative and creative way to communicate its value(s).

The profound transformations in political, economic and social models after World War II, which were only reflected in Portugal much later, brought about a profound reflection on the role of cultural heritage in preserving identity and memory. These transformations were quite different  from country to country, but they brought together a common aspect: the importance of dialogue between the material and the immaterial. A fragment of the Berlin Wall is not just a piece of concrete from a wall, much less a vestige of a wall (like an archaeological ruin) or a piece of material prone to physical-chemical examination and analysis. It is, essentially, everything else, namely what we want it to represent today, and in the future… should there be space for it.

As part of the project “CREATIVE CONSERVATION – Conservation and Creativity: Cultural heritage in transformation” (2023-2024), the HeriCC’s conference aims to be another way of developing and disseminating the Creative Conservation methodology. The goal is to have the contribution of different sensibilities (whether academic or artistic) on the role of creative, innovative or even disruptive approaches in the conservation of cultural heritage.


The conference will have two moments of reflection organized as follows:

On the 9th of October:

  • A WORKSHOP about the Creative Conservation methodology will be organized. The aim is to bring together in a more informal setting a group of academics, practitioners and students from the field of cultural heritage. They will have the opportunity to analyse and reflect about some examples of Creative Conservation interventions, which will be on display.

  • Participants will be also invited to join a moment of reflection to be organized by IPT’s students, in the framework of the curricular unit “History and Theory of Conservation and Restoration”, from the undergraduate programme in Conservation and Restoration. Within this STUDENTS’ POSTER SESSION, students will be presenting their own reflections on how creativity interplays with conservation and restoration, with a series of provocative examples. 

On the 10th of October:

Several PANEL SESSIONS will be organized according to, yet not limited to, the following topics:

1. Cultural Heritage (Preservation) and Creativity

The aim is to deepen, in general terms and from a theoretical point of view, the relationship between the need to preserve cultural heritage and the creative processes associated with the conservation work in its interplay with ongoing social and economic changes. Contributions from different artistic or social perspectives in the fields of literature, music, performing arts, visual arts, architecture, archaeology, among others, are welcome.

2. Cultural Heritage (Preservation) and Memory

The aim is to deepen the reflection on the importance of cultural heritage preservation in contexts of accentuated decay, or as a result of profound transformations, and its contributions to the identity and congregation of the collective memory of the community. Contributions that illustrate novel approaches on how the conservation-creativity nexus is addressed in fields such as critical heritage studies, archaeology, built heritage, cultural geography, living heritage, memory studies, to name but a few, are accepted.

3. Cultural Heritage (Preservation) and Ephemerality

The aim is to bring to the discussion some cases of artistic creation (particularly in the digital era), which require new modes of preservation. Contributions are accepted on projects involving reinterpreting or recreating in a nearly artistic sense installation art, performance art, new media art, intangible cultural heritage, among other.

4. Cultural Heritage (Preservation) and Sustainability

Sustainability is an ever-present concern, given the need to strive for a green economy. This will require innovations across the board and creativity in all fields. Contributions that highlight the importance of working towards cultural heritage’s sustainability, highlighting creative solutions for situations of accentuated decay and/or social impact are accepted.

The present call for papers is intended for those willing to participate with a paper (15-minute presentation + 5 minutes of discussion) in the panel sessions, on the 10th of October. 


Researchers, academics, conservators-restorers, artists, students, business people, cultural mediators, museum professionals, among others, are invited to meet and discuss their experiences on the dialogue between Conservation and Creativity. Paper proposals for the conference, which will be held in person in Tomar (Portugal), with the aim of enhancing cultural heritage and its transformation process, are invited.

Papers will be published in a bilingual book (English and Portuguese).  Short papers, personal reflections or manifestos on the topic will be accepted, alongside more conventional long academic and scientific papers. Additional information and guidelines will be provided following the first moment of evaluation and selection of the abstract proposals.


Abstract proposals

Abstract proposals, in Portuguese or English, should be addressed to, containing the following information:

  • Title
  • Authors' names, affiliations and contacts
  • Abstract, 500 words maximum
  • 3-5 keywords
  • Authors' short bio (maximum 100 words)

The organizing committee undertakes to: 

  • Acknowledge receipt of your proposal. 
  • Forward an anonymized version of your abstract to the conference scientific committee, which will evaluate all papers.


Important Dates: 

Deadline for abstract submission: 7 July 2024

Communication of abstract acceptance: 19 July 2024

Deadline for FULL paper/ reflection/ manifesto submission: 15 September 2024

Deadline for registration at the conference: 30 September 2024


You can access the call in both English and Portuguese HERE.


Selected references: 

Avrami, E. 2021. “Sustainability, Intergenerational Equity, and Pluralism”. In Cultural Heritage and the Future, edited by C. Holtorf, and A. Högberg, 198-216. London, New York: Routledge.

Bonelli, R. 1995. Scritti sul Restauro e sulla critica architettonica. Roma: Bonsignori Editore.

Brooks, M. 2008. “Talking to ourselves: why do conservators find it so hard to convince others of the significance of conservation?”. In ICOM-CC 15th Triennial Meeting Preprints, New Delhi, 22-26 September 2008, edited by J. Bridgland, 1135-1140. New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata: Allied Publishers.

Carbonara, G. 1976. La reintegrazione dell’immagine. Roma: Bulzoni Editore.

DeSilvey, C. 2017. Curated Decay. Heritage Beyond Saving. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press. 

DeSilvey, C., H. Fredheim, H. Fluck, R. Hails, R. Harrison, I. Samuel & A. Blundell 2021. “When Loss is More: From Managed Decline to Adaptive Release”. The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice. 

Domínguez Rubio, F. 2020. Still Life. Ecologies of the Modern Imagination at the Art Museum. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 

Giannachi, G. 2018. “At the edge of the ‘living present’: re-enactments and re-interpretations as strategies for the preservation of performance and new media art”. In Histories of Performance Documentation. Museum, Artistic, and Scholarly Practices, edited by G. Giannachi and J. Westerman, 115-131. Routledge.

Hölling, H. 2015. “The Archival Turn: Toward New Ways of Conceptualising Changeable Artworks”. In DATA DRIFT: Archiving Media and Data Art in the 21st Century, edited by R. Smite, L. Manovich, and R. Smits, 73-89. Riga: RIXC and Liepaja’s University Art Research Lab.

Hölling, H. 2017. “The technique of conservation: on realms of theory and cultures of practice”. Journal of the Institute of Conservation 40 (2): 87-96.

Holtorf, C. 2020. “Conservation and Heritage as Creative Processes of Future-Making”. International Journal of Cultural Property 27 (2): 277–90.

Kemp, J. 2023. “Conservators, Creativity, and Control.” Studies in Conservation 1–14. 

Lowenthal, D. 2000. “Stewarding the Past in a Perplexing Present.” In Values and Heritage Conservation. Research Report, edited by E. Avrami, R. Mason, and M. de la Torre, 18-25. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute. Accessed 5 January 2023. 

Lowenthal, D. 2015. The Past is a Foreign Country. Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Morin, R. 1999. “Creative preservation. The development of an artistic approach to the preservation and presentation of the past.” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 3: 191-201. 

Morin, R. 2004. “‘Creative preservation’ in the recently opened archaeological garden at Ramat Rachel, Jerusalem.” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 7: 1-7. 

Poulios, I. 2010. “Moving beyond a Values-based Approach to Heritage Conservation.” Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 12(2): 170-85. 

Somhegyi, Z. 2020. Reviewing the Past. The Presence of Ruins. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers / Rowman & Littlefield International

Somhegyi, Z. 2023. “From Ruins to the Ruins of Ruins. The Challenging Afterlife of Architectural Dereliction.” In Ruinen und vergessene Orte, edited by J. O. Habeck and F. Schmitz, 45-55. [transcript], Edition Kulturwissenschaft.

Sweetnam, E., & Henderson, J. 2021. “Disruptive Conservation: Challenging Conservation Orthodoxy”. Studies in Conservation, 67(1–2): 63–71. 

Triães, R., Chasqueira, Â., & Ferraz, Â. 2023. Things rust but memories last forever: creative conservation in the industrial heritage. Conservar Património, 44, 153–164.

Triães, R., Nogueira, A., Chasqueira, Â. 2023. “The power of creativity in nurturing sustainable development.” In ICOM-CC 20th Triennial Conference Preprints, Valencia, 18-22 September 2023. Accessed 13 May 2024. 

Wijers, G., Garcia Diaz, L. and Sancto, C. eds. 2017. UNFOLD: Mediation by Reinterpretation – Annual Project Review Report, March 2016–March 2017. Amsterdam: LIMA.