Dr Denis Byrne, Senior Research Fellow at ICS, attended meetings in Cusco and Lima in the second week of Feb 2014 as guest of Peru’s Ministry of Culture in a program of activities designed to prepare the ground for Peru’s new heritage legislation.
The legislation is expected for the first time to formally recognise the interests and values of indigenous Peruvians in regard to their tangible and intangible heritage.
Dr Byrne’s advice was particularly sought on this matter given his internationally recognised research on community-based Aboriginal heritage management in Australia and on methodologies for mapping and documenting the historical and emotional attachment of local communities to heritage landscapes.
A wave of enthusiasm currently exists in Peru among academics and heritage agency staff as they work to chart a new direction in heritage protection and conservation, one which is more in line with their country’s own cultural and historical circumstances. While engaging closely with UNESCO in their management of Machu Picchu and their other World Heritage sites, Peru is also a key player in the new collaborative politics of South America, a fact that is particularly evident in its leadership of the push to achieve World Heritage status for the remains of the Qhapaq Ñan, the Inca highway that linked Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador.
The audience response to Dr Byrne’s two conference presentations indicated a keen interest in the innovative approaches being developed in several parts of the world to the conservation of cultural landscapes and the recognition of the social value of heritage places. Australia is a lead player in this area.
Via Dr Byrne’s engagement with government and academic contacts in Peru, ICS has offered to act as a conduit for information on heritage conservation initiatives in Australia and Asia which may assist in developing Peru’s new heritage law.
Below are some photographs taken by Dr Byrne during his trip.
Above: conservation staff inspecting stonework in Machu Picchu.
Above: photograph of Lima.
Above: fire damage to Our Lady of Loneliness Church in Lima.
Above: road repairs in Cusco.
Above: vendor of miniature trees in Lima.