As it turns out, launching the inaugural Keeping History Above Water conference this past April was only the beginning. Over the last five months, all of us at NRF have continued to distill the lessons, nurture the connections, and share the resources that came out of our four days in Newport. More than anything, the relationships we formed leading up to and during the conference have proven to be our most valuable takeaway – we now count preservationists, policy makers, and climate scientists from across the country and around the world as our allies in developing strategies to protect cultural heritage from rising tides. When formidable organizations such as the National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists join forces with powerhouse community efforts like Resilient Bridgeport and Weather it Together, meaningful change feels possible. Lesson learned: a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach really is the way forward on this issue.
Today, we’re excited to announce a new collaboration born out of Keeping History Above Water. The Newport Restoration Foundation is partnering with US/ICOMOS to develop and maintain a virtual Knowledge Community on Climate Change and Heritage that will connect US practitioners to the international community of interest around these topics. Together (and with the help of some intrepid graduate students), we’ll be sourcing and sharing resources related to climate change and cultural heritage on social media and on the US/ICOMOS site.
Our first big project is a countdown of 22 cultural heritage #climateactions leading up to COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco (November 7-18, 2016). Traditionally, this annual gathering has focused on climate policy, but this year US/ICOMOS has organized two side events about the impacts of climate change on the heritage of water and climate mobility, to take place on November 9 and 10. In the twenty-two days leading up to those events, we’ll be sharing topics large and small that have some bearing on the conversations taking place. We hope vigorous, interdisciplinary discussion will unfurl as the result, echoing the important work being done on the other side of the world.
We couldn’t have imagined this outcome when we first toyed with the idea of a conference about preservation and climate change, but we’re thrilled to be partnering with US/ICOMOS in this way, and we’re looking forward to other potential collaborations on the horizon. And be sure to let us know if you have news to share on the Climate Change and Heritage Knowledge Exchange!