SESSION AND TOPICS
A. History and identity. Knowledge, analysis and representation
The inaccessibility of military sites and the traditional secrecy of the related documentary sources have hitherto restricted the identification and the study of military heritage. Such limits may be overcome by interdisciplinary studies. This session gathers together contributions on the following sub-themes: analysis of sources, iconography and military cartography; military history; relations between military activity and the landscape; archaeological and stratigraphic examinations; investigation and modelling techniques; applied diagnostics; analysis of the components of settlement typologies; construction methods and techniques in relation to their serial nature. These contributions may include methodological aspects, operational protocols and case studies of landscapes.
B. Networks of military sites: Protocols for protection and reconversion policies
Military sites, even when isolated, form part of complex relationships. They are linked to each other through their geography, their historical typology, their construction techniques and their official administration. This session welcomes contributions concerning the protection of historical military networks, their visual and perceptive aspects, and the infrastructural system to which they belong. Military landscapes are typically subjected to intrinsic vulnerability (through environmental aggression, structural fragility and hydro-geological instability), to the risk of abandoning because of their isolation or, on the contrary, to the pressures of human settlement and tourism, especially in coastal areas. With regard to protocols for protection, the session aims to open up reflections on the role of the military presence as a protective element for the historic landscape and on the legacy of military techniques and styles, such as camouflage, which is also a significant aspect in the wider debate on the role of imitation as a systematic instrument for the protection of landscapes.
C. Old and new functions: plans and design projects for renovated urban and territorial hubs
Military architecture embodies the characteristics of force, importance, measure, order, repetition and durability. It comprises shapes that are easily recognisable in contemporary urban landscapes. The need to maintain ‘maximum security’ in such sites has led to a controlled modification of codes, and different rules from those that apply to ‘normal’ urban architecture. Contributions in this session concern case studies and theoretical developments on the topic of reconversion and civil use, both public and private, in relation to the existing methods for protection at various scales. In detail, the session investigates architectural and spatial values and the way they may establish new connections with the related landscape, between memories and new identities.
D. Social and economic geographies. Strategies for cultural enhancement
The links between geography and military sites are diverse and pervasive. This session aims to explore these connections, focusing on the most conflict-ridden current situations (political, social, territorial) in order to highlight their critical character and underline possible opportunities for territorial management. Contributions to this session are concerned with: spatial practices and territorial behaviour; political, social and environmental conflicts, and social and political perceptions; the ecology of power. Critical, too, is the level of economic compatibility between the protection and enhancement of military landscapes. This aspect is particularly urgent in the context of the current international economic crisis. The session comprises: the definition and analysis of policies for economic maintenance and enhancement; reflection on the economic sustainability of conservation activities and management of heritage sites in line with current international norms and policies; the costs and benefits of redevelopment and reclamation; the role of institutions and of regional or governmental agencies working at various scales.
Military heritage and/for Arts
A special contributions session is dedicated to the relationship between military heritage and art. There are three proposed elements within this session: the reconversion of military sites for cultural use, predominantly for didactic and exhibition purposes; the links between symbolism and military design, and key international artistic trends; and the connection between military remembrance sites and the dimensions of commemoration and sacredness.
Maintenance, management and functional adaptation for new military uses
The reconversion of military heritage sites does not always imply total decommissioning. The efforts made by leading countries to curb government military expenditure, alongside the new logistic demands stemming from current modifications to the structure of the armed forces, require skilled restoration operations that attain the most uptodate work and safety standards, and maintain areas of significance which, in the case of such interventions, assume their value in terms of the landscape. Contributions to this session focus on the identification of principles and instruments for the maintenance of the structures, for the evaluation of appropriate modern military functions, whilst respecting the historical memories embodied in each site.