10/23/18 USC Architecture to Host Preserving the Recent Past 3 Conference
After an almost two decade hiatus, the next Preserving the Recent Past conference is scheduled for March 13-16, 2019. Hosted by the USC School of Architecture/Heritage Conservation program in partnership with the National Park Service and the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, the three-day conference is dedicated to identifying and preserving post-World War II historic resources and sites of cultural significance to the recent past.
Trudi Sandmeier, the School’s Heritage Conservation programs director, said the conference is an opportunity to “gather a group of like-minded folks who are interested in discussing what the future is for the conservation of our recent past resources.” She sits on the board of the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, the national nonprofit organization that helped to organized the first two conferences.
Within the field of heritage conservation, a lot has changed in 20 years. The reemergence of the conference in partnership with USC’s Heritage Conservation program is perfect in her eyes. “When thinking about the ideas of conservation in Los Angeles and the sheer amount of recent past resources that we are grappling with, it seemed like a great fit.”
The conference will focus on three basic tracks: history and context, preservation and advocacy, and technical conservation. Given the post-war timeframe, issues that relate to the broader social movements of the time (civil rights, feminism, LGBTQ+ activism, environmentalism, etc.) will also help to frame the discussion of how to save sites that are significant for more than their architectural merit.
“One of the big things we do in conservation is tell the stories of places,” said Sandmeier. “The technology and information that's available to us now helps tell a more robust and complete story of the built environment.”
Following the model of the 1995 and 2000 conferences, the 2019 iteration will also include visits to historic sites illustrative of the conference themes as seen through the lens of Los Angeles: postmodernist resources, deconstructivist sites, sites linked to the social and cultural history of the city, and some of our “greatest hits.”
“Those of us who are working on planning the tours all agree we wouldn’t plan a tour we wouldn’t want to go on,” said Sandmeier. “All the places have a message to tell our audience. They’re not just pretty buildings.”
Sandmeier hopes the coming conference will not only feature presentations from stars and scholars in the heritage conservation field but also provide students with opportunities to explore the topic and network with professionals from around the world with similar interests. In addition to attracting students from the four disciplines within the School of Architecture, Sandmeier thinks there will be issues that will interest students in policy and planning, real estate, American Studies and ethnicity, and more. “There are lots of possibilities to have interdisciplinary conversations about this stuff, which will hopefully attract robust participation,” she said.
Sandmeier believes the range of topics covered is what sets it apart from past and similar conferences. “Many are focused on technical, materiality issues; others are focused broadly on advocacy. This kind of encompases all of that, but focused specifically on the recent past. "
The Preserving the Recent Past 3 conference will take place on March 13-16 in 2019. For more information, visit: https://www.prp3.org.
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