A note on
Statement of Significance
Extract from a Research Report on Statement of Outstanding Value prepared for the World Heritage centre Jennifer Copithorne Joseph King Gamini Wijesuriya 2008 ICCROM
Statements of Significance
What Is A Statement Of Significance? In recent decades, value‐based conservation and management has taken the forefront in the heritage field, shifting the focus from concentrating mostly on the physical fabric of a site to determine significance, to an approach which incorporates a wider range of values and meanings that make a place important. Conservation professionals in many countries are beginning to recognize the benefits of being more inclusive of different points of view, in addition to re‐evaluating the importance of intangible aspects of heritage, and the need to conserve and manage a property in such a way as to preserve the significance of that place for its various stakeholders. Effective conservation and management plans have consequently become the crucial strategic document for carrying out and maintaining conservation and management objectives, and understanding the significance of a place the key concept in compiling and executing a conservation and/or management plan for a heritage property. This approach is well‐established in countries including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States, and is beginning to gain popularity in other regions of the world. It must be noted, however, that this is a method among many and as such, is not embraced by everyone. The fundamental step in creating a good conservation and/or management plan is undergoing a significance assessment and writing a Statement of Significance. This is a short but effective declaration, outlining the importance of a site and its attributes. In the Illustrated Burra Charter, Marquis‐Kyle and Walker refer to Statements of Significance as “the accepted formal methods used by heritage organizations and professionals to describe the values that make a place important to a community. It is a summary of the outcome of investigations into the place, addressing all its values – cultural and natural – in a clear, easy to understand way” (2004, 79). It asserts relevance in accordance to the meanings given to a site by its stakeholders, within the framework of a set of criteria which outline the type and degree of value the place holds. A statement of significance provides evidence of these values and their related meanings through referring to physical attributes of the site, often reinforcing these claims through comparisons with other similar sites. This statement is only written after rigorous research has been undertaken and collected to demonstrate the depth and breadth of this significance. It is the final step in determining the significance of a property, and the key instrument for future management of a site. Effective Statements of Significance are produced through the participation and communication with multiple stakeholders. The research undertaken during the significance assessment includes gathering the input of all of those who are in some way related to the site, through tangible or intangible association, as well as those who manage and conserve it. Through a participatory approach, Statements of
Significance strive to effectively transmit the multidimensional values and meanings of a place, providing the opportunity for a range of voices to be heard. Background Information The concepts of values associated with the conservation of cultural and natural heritage and the formalization of conservation ...