Scientific Symposium

The GA2020 Scientific Symposium will be held from 5 to 9 October 2020 at the ICC, Sydney and associated venues. The Scientific Symposium offers a major research, information sharing, training and capacity-building opportunity for delegates, who will be able to present and attend papers, seminars, workshops, site visits and other sessions. Importantly, the Scientific Symposium will provide a significant platform for peer to peer exchanges, instigation of mentoring relationships and showcasing best practice methods. The opportunities for inquiry and learning will be available and accessible from the most senior levels, through participation by outstanding keynote speakers, to entry-level practitioners, who are engaging with international colleagues for the first time.

Key Dates

2 October 2019 Online call for submission of proposals
1 January 2020 Submission deadline for proposals
29 April 2020 Authors of successful proposals advised
May 2020 Preliminary program published
July 2020 Author registration deadline*

Presenters and session organisers MUST register for the GA2020 by this date to confirm attendance. Presenters/session organisers who have not registered by this date will have their proposals removed from the Scientific Symposium program.

Symposium Overview

The overarching theme for the GA2020 Scientific Symposium is ‘Shared Cultures – Shared Heritage – Shared Responsibility’. The theme recognises that globalisation, transnationalism, digital connectivity and the willing or forced movement of people have contributed to the making (and unmaking) of hybrid, pluralist places, practices and collections. In this sense, places, practices, objects and collections (collectively termed ‘heritage items’) are frequently connected with and valued by multiple and diverse groups and communities.

However, the idea of ‘shared’ is intentionally provocative. In an historic sense, cultures and societies have commonly shared cultural practices, ways of doing, and ideas. Nevertheless, in some cases these features have been forced upon populations and resisted rather than collectively adopted (religious beliefs, for example). In other instances knowledge and practice may be closely guarded and thus not shared (in many Indigenous cultures, for example). Additionally, some heritage items have been destroyed or damaged for what they symbolise (the Bamiyan Buddha’s, for example), thus resisting any sense of sharing or ideological tolerance. More typically in the work of heritage, places can be contested with regard to their conservation status (Sydney’s Sirius building, for example).

In adopting the term ‘shared’, the GA2020 Scientific Symposium invites participants to explore the idea of sharing—and its counterpoints, contestation and resistance—in relation to culture and heritage. We invite reviews of traditional thinking on the topic and seek new and diverse perspectives and insights that encourage discussion and dialogue. Contributions may be in the form of case study examples that illustrate different experiences or viewpoints; and academic positions that support, revise, and/or challenge contemporary scholarly work.

At its core, the overarching theme is concerned with the relationships between cultures or cultural groups and their collective responsibility for the care and safeguarding of the significant attributes, meanings and values of heritage items. Thus, ‘sharing’ in a heritage context can refer to the recognition that heritage items may be valued in various ways by different communities and cultural groups. Do such groups always have an obligation to respect diversity and cultural rights? Are they obliged to work collaboratively toward agreed approaches to the sustainable protection, conservation and safeguarding of heritage items?

Scientific Symposium Themes

The GA2020 will comprise six THEMES:

  • SHARED CULTURES: Communities – collaborative, consultative, contested 
  • SHARED HERITAGE: Multiple attributes, multiple values, multiple actors 
  • SHARED RESPONSIBILITY: Safeguarding places, practices, and collections
  • INDIGENOUS HERITAGE: Sharing, exchange, and secret
  • CULTURE-NATURE JOURNEY: Reaching agreement
  • MARGINAL HERITAGES: Shared or shunned?

Each of the six Themes will offer a one-and-a-half-day program of 1-2 hour sessions (and may include parallel sessions within each Theme). The sessions will be constructed so as to be dynamic and with diverse formats. 

The Themes will offer participants opportunities to be involved in and experience different and intersecting concepts and practices current in the field of heritage conservation. 


Theme. A key or primary topic. GA2020 is comprised of six Themes.

Session. A block of time (generally one to two hours) dedicated to a sub-topic within a Theme. At times the themes will include parallel sessions.

Format. The arrangement or setup of a session. Formats include paper presentations, short talks, pechakutcha (that is, 15-20 slides with each slide shown for 20 seconds), panel discussions, round table discussions (or ‘dialogues’), short field visits (‘walk and talk’), debates, performance, film, posters, or any other format that delegates would like to suggest.

Heritage. A collective term for heritage places (including historic buildings, towns and landscapes), practices, objects and collections.

GA2020 Scientific Committee

Steve Brown (Australia ICOMOS; Australian Co-chair)
Ona Vileikis Tamayo (ICOMOS Belgium; International Co-chair)

Appointed Members
Tracy Ireland (Australia ICOMOS; University of Canberra; Editor, Historic Environment)
Anita Smith (Australia ICOMOS; La Trobe University)
Caitlin Allen (Australia ICOMOS; The University of Sydney)
Tanya Koeneman (ICOMOS Australia; Indigenous representative)
Mikel Landa (ICOMOS Spain; President, ICOMOS Advisory Committee)
Nupur Prothi (ICOMOS India; Scientific Symposium Co-chair – Delhi, 2017)
Nargiz Aituganova (ICOMOS Russia; Rep. for ICOMOS Emerging Professionals)
Ève Wertheimer (ICOMOS Canada, Francophone representative)
Teresa Patricio (ICOMOS Belgium, Francophone representative)
Kristen Walker (IUCN representative)

GA2020 Scientific Sub-Committee

Steve Brown (Australia ICOMOS; Australian Co-chair) 
Ona Vileikis Tamayo (ICOMOS Belgium; International Co-chair) 

Appointed Members
Cristina Garduno Freeman (Australia ICOMOS; Shared Cultures Theme Co-chair)
Marco Antonio Chavez-Aguayo (ICOMOS Mexico; Shared Cultures Theme Co-chair)
Agnieshka Kiera (Australia ICOMOS; Shared Heritage Theme Co-chair)
Kai Weise (ICOMOS Nepal; Shared Heritage Theme Co-chair)
MacLaren North (Australia ICOMOS; Shared Responsibility Theme Co-chair)
Susan Macdonald (Getty Conservation Institute; Shared Responsibility Theme Co-chair)
Chris Wilson (Ngarrindjeri/Kaurna, Nunga; Australia ICOMOS; Indigenous Heritage Theme Co-chair)
Diane Menzies (Ngāti Kahungunu, Māori; ICOMOS New Zealand; Indigenous Heritage Theme Co-chair)
Susan McIntyre Tamwoy (Australia ICOMOS; Culture-Nature Journey Theme Co-chair)
Tim Badman (IUCN; Culture-Nature Journey Theme Co-chair)
James Lesh (Australia ICOMOS; Marginal Heritages Theme Co-chair)
Tokie Laotan-Brown (ICOMOS Nigeria; Marginal Heritages Theme Co-chair) 
Sarah May (ICOMOS UK; Marginal Heritages Theme Co-chair)