Appel à contribution – Architectures of the Soul 4. Religious Heritage: understanding the past, shaping the future

19th – 21st October 2023 | Monastery of Batalha – Portugal

For centuries, religious built heritage has played an essential role in shaping social, economic, environmental and cultural values. Across major or minor religious traditions, this expressed a particular way of understanding the life, the human condition, the world, opening it to the mistery, in search of the ultimate meaning of the life. Caves, eremitical settlements, chapels, monasteries, convents, churches and cathedrals have dialogued with their surroundings, be them mountainous or solitary places, fertile valleys, peripheral or urban centres. The search for the Sacred, for the absolute otherness, which is present or can be experienced in specific places, led also to the development of pilgrimages, and their associated itineraries. Nowadays, the memory of these places tends to be erased. The secularisation of many convents, churches or monasteries, as well as the abandonment or low usage of others, led to the loss of material values. On the other hand, a significant part of this heritage and its understanding as a unity (for example, in the case of monasteries, the relationship between the spaces of prayer, the daily life and the enclosure), or its connection to a particular natural and social landscape, is gone. These specific buildings and landscapes need to be rethought at the light of the contemporary challenges.

The conference is structured around two main topics, in order to understand the historical and current values of these places and how they can shape the future, through a renewed knowledge and new ways of turning them culturally meaningful:  

1. History of religious experience; 2. Future of Religious Heritage. 

The conference aims to establish the platform for a multidisciplinary approach on the subject, gathering and crossing history, architecture, landscape architecture, cultural heritage, art history, computing science, among others. 

The three-day conference will be hosted by the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória, in the municipality of Batalha. This is a former dominican monastery,  on the initiative of the Avis dinasty at the end of the 14th century. The complex is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, exactly 40 years ago. The conference will be an opportunity to experience this impressive place, sharing knowledge, thinking and debating around our common historical heritage.  

The organisers of the conference would like to invite authors to submit an abstract of recent and unpublished works. Selected authors have 15 min paper presentations. The conference will be structured around two main topics: 

1. History of religious experience 

1a. History of eremitical/monastic life

1b. Materiality of eremitical/monastic experiences

1c. Landscapes of the soul

2. Future for Religious Heritage

2a. Managment of UNESCO religious sites 

2b. Community engagement and empowerment 

2c. Sustainable reuse of secularised buildings 

2d. Conservation and rehabilitation 

2e. 3D survey with non-intrusive technologies 

2f. GIS Systems applied to religious landscapes 

2g. Information and communications technology 

2h. Heritage communication 

2i. Cultural and creative industries and tourism

Abstracts must have no more than 300 words, written in English and submitted before 31st March 2023, along with a short bio with no more than 200 words. Each abstract must include: context, aim, methodology, results, conclusions and 5 keywords. Otherwise the abstract will not be considered.

​After the conference, we will open a call for papers. Selected papers, through a double-blind peer-review process, will be published in an international book with ISBN and/or special issue(s) in indexed scientific journals.

More information will be shared over the coming months.

Submit your abstract here

Source : Dinamiacet

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