International Day for Monuments and Sites

18 April - International Day for Monuments and Sites | Theme 2020: Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility


About the day
Every year, on the occasion of the International Day for Monuments and Sites, ICOMOS proposes a theme for the celebrations and activities to be organised by the ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees and by other organisations that wish to participate. In 2020, the theme is Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared responsibility.

Why ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’?
The theme ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’ reflects the global context of heritage as part of cultural identity at a time of rapid population shift, conflict, and environmental uncertainty. The theme recognises that heritage – whether places, landscapes, practices, or collections – are frequently connected with and valued by multiple and diverse groups and communities. 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.

However, the idea of ‘shared’ is intentionally provocative. In an historic sense, cultures and societies have commonly shared cultural practices, ways of doing, and viewpoints. Nevertheless, in some cases these features have been forced upon populations and resisted rather than collectively adopted (e.g., religious beliefs). In other instances knowledge and practice may be closely guarded and thus not shared (e.g., in many Indigenous cultures). Additionally, some heritage items have been destroyed or damaged for what they symbolise (e.g., the Buddhas of Bamiyan), thus resisting any sense of sharing or ideological tolerance. More typically in the work of heritage, the values of places can be contested leading to debates about their conservation (e.g., Sydney’s Sirius building).
In adopting the term ‘shared’, the 2020 International Day for Monuments and Sites invites participants to explore the idea of sharing—and its counterpoints, contestation and resistance—in relation to cultures, heritage and responsibility. It invites reviews of traditional thinking on the topic and seeks new and diverse perspectives and insights that encourage discussion and dialogue.


To participate in the nternational Day for Monuments and Sites, follow this link to the ICOMOS website