Inspirational Landscapes as World Heritage: Problems of Identification and Management

by

Olwen Beazley
Centre for Cross Cultural Research, Australian National University, Australia

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed--and gazed--but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils. William Wordsworth 1804

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Introduction:

The landscape of the Lake District in northern England inspired the English poet William Wordsworth to write this and other poems. Should this artistic production, or any artistic production by a celebrated ‘artist’, inspired by the beauty of a landscape, be a reason for the inclusion of such a landscape on the World Heritage List and if so, why? As part of their long-term management and international recognition, the stewardship of cultural landscapes that posses ‘outstanding universal value’, will often include their nomination to UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Many will be included for their physical, material values but some may be proposed for inclusion because of their non-material, intangible heritage values.

In 1992, the World Heritage Committee identified three categories of cultural landscapes that could subsequently be included on the World Heritage List. One of these categories was that of ‘associative cultural landscapes’:

“The inclusion of such landscapes on the World Heritage List is justifiable by virtue of the powerful religious, artistic or cultural associations of the natural element rather than material cultural evidence, which may be insignificant or even absent” (UNESCO 2000 para 39,iii)

To date, the most widely recognised form of an associative cultural landscape is one that has spiritual associations, such as the ‘dreaming’ landscape of Uluru Kata-Tjuta, formerly known as Ayres Rock, in Australia. A less obvious subset of the associative cultural landscape are, what are now commonly referred to in World Heritage circles as, ‘inspirational landscapes’ i.e. an associative cultural landscape that is justifiable for inclusion on the List by virtue of its artistic or cultural associations.1

Although there has been the facility for including inspirational landscapes on the World Heritage List since 1992, none have yet been nominated to, or included on, it. The absence of inspirational landscapes on the List may point to the inherent difficulties in the identification
This term evolved from the Australia ICOMOS and UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Associative Cultural Landscapes, held at the Sydney Opera House and the Blue Mountains in Australia in April 1995.
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and management of this type of cultural landscape through existing World Heritage mechanisms. It is these issues that will be explored in this paper.

Outline of Paper: There are three major objectives of this paper. Firstly, to establish what is meant - within the remit of the World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention (Operational Guidelines) (UNESCO 2000) - by the concept of inspirational landscapes. Secondly, to discuss the theoretical and

methodological problems in identifying inspirational landscapes for inclusion on the World Heritage List and thirdly, to consider the problems of monitoring and managing the intangible cultural heritage values of inspirational landscapes included on the List in the future.

Inspirational Landscapes as World Heritage: In 1972, UNESCO adopted The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, (UNESCO 1972) the World Heritage Convention (the Convention). Under the definition of ‘sites’, Article 1 of the Convention accommodates the inscription of cultural landscapes on the World Heritage List:

“works of man or the combined works of nature and man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological point of view” (UNESCO 1972)

It is the aesthetic value referred to in this article that is important to the identification of associative inspirational landscapes. Cultural criterion (vi) is the World Heritage criterion that is used to identify non-material, associative, intangible heritage values of places on the List:

(vi) be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance (the Committee considers that this criterion should justify inclusion in the List only in exceptional circumstances and in conjunction with other criteria cultural or natural)

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(UNESCO 2000)2

What is a World Heritage Inspirational Landscape?

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of inspiration is:

b. gen. A breathing in or infusion of some idea, purpose, etc. into the mind; the suggestion,
awakening, or creation of some feeling or impulse, esp. of an exalted kind (Simpson 2004).

Thus, inspirational landscapes can be said to be “those places associated with positive and inspiring aesthetic or cultural perceptions of a place and experiences derived from that place” (Australian Heritage Commission 2002).

Inspirational landscapes are included on the World Heritage List not because of their material heritage or natural values but because of their non-material, intangible cultural heritage values. Intangible heritage value is an ascribed value that is related to an association with a place. It is the “special connections that exist between people and a place” and the meanings that people attribute to a place; this can be related to a spiritual association (ICOMOS 1999, para 1.15) The ascribed values of inspirational landscapes are dependant on their association with, what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (Bourdieu 1993) would call, a ‘cultural production’, in other words, an art form. This art form is associated with, and been inspired by, an identifiable landscape. In the narrowest interpretation such a cultural production would relate to paintings or poetry but in its widest sense could include film, television, literature, photography, music etc.

Inspirational landscapes are identified because “of the powerful…artistic or cultural associations of the natural element” and can be inscribed using criterion (vi) if they “be directly or tangibly associated with…with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance” (UNESCO 2000). One of the major issues concerning the inclusion of inspirational landscapes on the World Heritage List are the theoretical and methodological processes to be used in their identification as World Heritage places. As an inspirational landscape has not yet been explicitly inscribed on the World Heritage List, there have been no
The Operational Guidelines are being revised and as part of this revision the wording of cultural criterion (vi) may change in order to accommodate a more plural heritages in line with the objectives of the World Heritage Committee’s Global Strategy.
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debates within the World Heritage Committee on the nature of the values acceptable for inscription under this sub category of associative cultural landscapes.3 Neither has there been any debate or discussion about how, or in what way, a landscape can be assessed as having artistic or cultural associations with ‘artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance’.

In 1995, Dr Henry Cleere, former World Heritage Convenor of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), offered an early interpretation of how cultural criterion (vi) would be applied to places which had associations with artistic and literary works:

“ The evaluation of landscapes with artistic or cultural associations remains to be considered by ICOMOS. The basic criterion must surely be that of the ‘outstanding universal value’ of the artist concerned. The success of a hypothetical nomination of the Montaigne Sainte Victoire would depend upon the evaluation of the universal significance of Cezanne who painted it so often. This is an aspect of the concept of associative cultural landscapes that requires long and deep consideration, and by an organization other than ICOMOS, which is not equipped to pronounce upon matters of non-material culture of this kind”. (Cleere 1995:56)

Thus, Cleere’s suggested interpretation is that an artistic or literary work can only be of ‘outstanding universal value’ if the artist is of world renown. The views of selected World Heritage experts and professionals, about how inspirational landscapes can and should be

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Mount Lushan, China is an area in the Jiangxi Province and was the first of the Chinese sacred mountains to be

the inspiration for artistic works. Lushan was the home and inspiration to great Chinese poets, painters and calligraphers. The pioneer of the Chinese sect of Buddhism also worked at Lushan (ICOMOS. 1996. Lushan National Park No 778, Evaluation Report. ICOMOS.. Mount Lushan was inscribed in 1996 and was recognised by ICOMOS, in their evaluation of the World Heritage nomination, as a cultural landscape of outstanding aesthetic value and ‘powerful associations with Chinese spiritual and cultural life’. ICOMOS evaluates cultural properties for their World Heritage significance and makes recommendations to the World Heritage Committee on their suitability for inscription on the World Heritage List. The World Heritage Committee has not, however, formally recognised Lushan as a cultural landscape) although it is inscribed under cultural criterion (vi) for its inspirational and spiritual associations.

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identified, have been canvassed as part of recent research by the author.4 Most of those interviewed also interpreted the application of criterion (vi) in the same way as Cleere has (Cleere 1995:56) (Interview, 24 January 2002, Henry Cleere) i.e. based on the outstanding universal value of the artist concerned, although they do not necessarily agree with its premise. Domicelj (Interview, 27 July 2002, Joan Domicelj) diverges from this view and has suggested that the ‘outstanding universal value’ referred to in criterion (vi) relates to the artwork itself, not the artist:

This divergence in views concerning the interpretation of criterion (vi) and its application to inspirational landscapes highlights the ambiguous nature of not only the category of cultural landscape, but also of the wording of the criterion used to inscribe such landscapes on the World Heritage List. The interpretation of criterion (vi) “artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance” to mean that the artistic production must be by an artist who is considered to be of ‘outstanding universal significance’, highlights some crucial issues in the consideration of inspirational landscapes for World Heritage status. A critical

theoretical and methodological question for the application of the World Heritage Convention is why is it that the ‘consecration’ of an artist - i.e an artist who is accepted as ‘great’ artist – apparently confers ‘sacredness’ on not only the art work produced by such an artist but also on the subject of their cultural production, in this case landscapes? The majority

interpretation of criterion (vi) in relation to inspirational landscapes opposes the theories of the French sociologist, and theorist, Pierre Bourdieu (Bourdieu 1993). He argued that the merit of the artistic creation lay in the representation, not in the thing represented.

At the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Associative Cultural Landscapes in Sydney in 1995, the discussion that considered inspirational landscapes was one that centred on the concept of the ‘artist’s vision’. The proposition was that because a famous artist - who by

Cleere, H. 2002. "Interview on Associative Cultural Landscapes, the Global Strategy and Criterion (vi), 24th January 2002.." Edited by O. Beazley: Unpublished; Domicelj, J. 2002. "Interview on the Inscription of Hiroshima, Criterion (vi) and the Global Strategy, 27th July 2002." Edited by O. Beazley. Canberra: Unpublished; Fowler, P. 2002. "Interview on Associative Cultural Landscapes and the Application of Cultural Criterion (vi) in Relation to the Meeting at La Petite Pierre, Templin and Vienna." Edited by O. Beazley. London: Unpublished; Jacques, D. 2002. "Interview on Associative Cultural Landscapes and the World Heritage Convention." Edited by O. Beazley. London: Unpublished; Lennon, J. 2002. "Interview on the World Heritage Convention, The Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on Associative Cultural Landscapes." Edited by O. Beazley. Melbourne: Unpublished; Sullivan, S. 2003. "Interview on the Inscription of Hiroshima, Cultural Criterion (vi) the Global Strategy and Inspirational Landscapes." Edited by O. Beazley. Canberra: Unpublished; Taylor, K. 2002. "Interview in the Templin Cultural Landscape Meeting 1993, The Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on Associative Cultural Landscapes, Sydney 1995." Edited by O. Beazley. Canberra: Unpublished.

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virtue of their talent, had an ability to identify beauty - had selected a place for representation, it could therefore be considered to be beautiful (Interview, 19 March 2003, Sharon Sullivan).5

The idea of the artist’s vision and the identification of the artist rather than the art-work, as being of ‘outstanding universal value’, in World Heritage evaluation processes, plays to the ‘charismatic ideology’, as Bourdieu calls it, that of the artist as the genius (Bourdieu 1993). The corollary of this approach is that if the artist is not of ‘outstanding universal value’ then the subject of his/her cultural production will be unworthy of consideration and, by extrapolation, the places depicted not worthy of World Heritage status. Thus, inspirational qualities of landscapes and places may only be considered to be valid if they inspire great artists to produce art, although not if they inspire thousands of non ‘consecrated’ amateurs to paint the same scene. This premise has repercussions in relation to the continual authenticity of an inspirational landscape, which will be discussed in the last section of this paper. In considering these issues of artistic merit, together with the suggested World Heritage methodology behind the identification of inspirational landscapes - which is some how tied in with the ‘artist’s vision’(Interview, 19 March 2002, Sharon Sullivan) - one can ask if the World Heritage Committee is actually attempting to include landscapes on the List that are admired, on purely aesthetic grounds? If this is the case, is the Committee perhaps proposing to use the connection of certain landscapes with ‘consecrated’ artists to construct some form of ‘bar’ or ‘cultural bench mark’ in order to justify their identification and evaluation for inclusion on the List and in so doing employing the ‘charismatic ideology’ referred to by Bourdieu? (Bourdieu 1993).

A crucial methodological question for the World Heritage Committee and ICOMOS is how they will evaluate one subject of cultural production, one inspirational landscape, associated with one ‘consecrated’ artist over another? When asked how ICOMOS might deal with an evaluation of a nomination of an inspirational landscape to the World Heritage List, Cleere recently suggested that there should be a “’hit-list’ of premier league…thinkers, writers, painters, composers and other brains” (Interview, 24 January 2002, Henry Cleere). One wonders how such a ‘hit-list’ this would be linked to the World Heritage Committee’s Global Strategy and how the representivity of such a ‘hit-list’ could be ensured? Perhaps every geo5

This meeting was convened by Australia ICOMOS and UNESCO at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney and in the Blue Mountains, outside Sydney, Australia in April 1995.

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cultural region would have to identify key ‘artists’ and thinkers who were considered to be of ‘outstanding universal value’.

Monitoring, Management and Authenticity of Inspirational Landscapes:

Grasmere, Lake District National Park. Anonymous

The Lake District National Park in the United Kingdom is currently being considered for nomination to the World Heritage List partially on the grounds of its inspirational qualities, as an associative cultural landscape (Department for Culture Media and Sport 2003). Its

inspirational qualities are related to the associations that exist between the Lake District and Wordsworth and other ‘Lake Poets’, and writers such as Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin.6 Other places that could also be given consideration in the category of inspirational landscapes, and have been mooted in World Heritage circles for inscription, include the Montaigne Saint Victoire, France, the mountain Cezanne painted many times.

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At the time of writing, the Lake District will be the first landscape to be evaluated by the World Heritage Committee for these types of ‘inspirational’ values and the determination of this nomination will probably set a precedent in World Heritage practice.

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Montaigne Sainte Victoire by Paul Cezanne 1902-1904

Also, Mount Fujiyama, Japan, painted by Katsushika Hokusai, which has been the focus of much art work.

Mount Fujiyama by Katsushika Hokusai: 1829-1833

A requirement of the Operational Guidelines (UNESCO 2000) is for cultural places nominated to, and included on, the List to meet the test of authenticity. If authenticity is taken to mean ‘genuine’, one can question what this means for inspirational landscapes. They are,

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by their definition, associated with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal value that are often of some antiquity and where the values of the place are intangible. Can an inspirational landscape be authentic in the 21st century if it was the inspiration of an artistic production in the 19th century? Perhaps the interpretation of authenticity in this case should mean that a landscape is genuine in its spirit or feeling, i.e. that it is still inspirational today and this will necessarily be linked to the maintenance and protection of its physical attributes.

In order to identify whether a landscape is still inspirational, cultural indicators need to be identified. Unlike spiritual values, which although intangible can have quantifiable,

verifiable, on the ground indicators to illustrate those beliefs are still held - such as conducting ceremony - intangible values associated with inspirational landscapes are not easy to provide such indicators for. In order to demonstrate that an inspirational landscape is still authentic, still inspirational - using the World Heritage Convention methodology - perhaps the Lake District and Montaigne Sainte Victoire would still be being painted, by famous artists and other landscapes would still be written about by famous poets. Alternatively, perhaps the logical indication of a landscape still being inspirational should be related to indicators such as the numbers of visitor to such a place. The inspirational qualities of the Lake District to a 21st century tourist, amateur painter, bushwalker, or potholer might be the same physical ones as those that inspired Wordsworth although the manifestation of that inspiration is different.

If, however, it is the association of a landscape with a famous cultural production that is of paramount importance, it raises an interesting question in relation to the future management of inspirational landscapes. Should views and vistas as painted by famous artists be

conserved or restored, or is this taking it all a bit too far? Rosenthal (Rosenthal 1994) in his article “ The Landscape of Nostalgia the Landscape of Decline” examines Constable’s landscape of the Hay Wain which the National Trust has now cleared from its overgrown state to restore the vista that Constable painted.

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r The Hay Wain by John Constable c 1815

It is possible to quantify physical change in an inspirational landscape from visual depictions and restore a vista to its original form, but what of musical inspirations? How does a heritage manager ensure that a place retains the physical authenticity it had when it was the muse for a great piece of music? What assumptions are in play in this interchange of authentic and what is perceived to be authentic? These are crucial questions in the identification, maintenance and management of authenticity of inspirational landscapes and significant methodological question that the World Heritage Committee must address.

It would perhaps be more constructive to think of the art works themselves as ‘indicators’ of the intangible values associated with a landscape. If this approach is adopted, what it is that makes a place special, inspirational, and therefore justify its inscription on the World Heritage List, must still be identified. Perhaps this requires reference back to the natural values and criteria as outlined by the Operational Guidelines (UNESCO 2000) or a more verifiable way of identifying landscapes that were, and still are, special and inspirational to our societies. This would perhaps involve the consideration of more inclusive indicators than relying solely on celebrated artistic productions as indicators of such value. If it is the physical character of the landscape that is the real draw, the real inspiration and what holds the real value, and the art works that have been inspired by these landscapes are just indicators of such value, the physical attributes of the landscape associated with such inspiration should be maintained. 11

What will be managed and preserved will be the landscapes that are considered by current societies - and the World Heritage Committee - to be of outstanding universal value, using cultural indicators that will, no doubt, include artistic cultural productions.

It is problematic to try and identify cultural indicators that illustrate the currency of intangible heritage values of inspirational landscapes. By their very nature, intangible values are

mutable, and change over time. Thus the values that a given society invests in a place are non-static. One generation may celebrate a certain type of landscape where as another may loathe it. For example, before the appreciation of rugged, foreboding mountain scenery, with the birth of the ‘picturesque’, mountainous areas, such as the Lake District that Wordsworth wrote about, were considered to be frightening, dark, evil places. Not only may our

appreciation of landscape change over time but our appreciation of certain artists and their work may also change. Once again this highlights questions of viability in identifying an inspirational landscape solely through its association with an artist and their cultural production and suggests that such productions should be used as indicators, not identifiers, of inspirational landscapes.

The question of the mutability of intangible heritage values is not one that is confined to the consideration of inspirational landscapes. It is one that confronts heritage managers at all places where the heritage values are those ascribed by a particular society at a particular time and which have no material manifestation. The currency of a heritage listing for such values will always be questionable unless quantifiable, verifiable, indicators can be identified through which to monitor them. The suggestion here, therefore, is that it is not possible to protect the intangible heritage values of an inspirational landscape but only record their continuation. It is a challenge for heritage managers to find ways of identifying and

developing cultural indicators for the non-material values of these landscapes in order to ascertain when the values for which the landscapes were inscribed are under threat, or no longer extant. This posits a wider question as to whether the World Heritage List should be reviewed on a cyclical basis to ensure the authenticity of its inscriptions and the currency of their intangible values.

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Conclusion: “a work of art has meaning and interest only for someone who possesses the cultural competence that is, the code, into which it is encoded”`

( Bourdieu 1993:7)

This quotation from Bourdieu encapsulates the problems of identifying artistic cultural productions and their makers as the sole way of identifying the inspirational qualities of landscapes. The theories of Bourdieu are suggested as ones that could be useful to help provide a critical analysis of the application of the Convention in relation to landscapes associated with artistic productions. This paper has shown that, within the World Heritage arena, the identification of artists of ‘outstanding universal value’, and their cultural productions, is fraught with methodological problems and that these artists and their productions should perhaps be used as indicators not identifiers of inspirational landscapes.

It has been suggested that artistic associations, which are subject to taste and fashion, should be used as one type of cultural indicator, together with others, that can show a contemporary society’s appreciation of a landscape and the reasons that a particular physical landscape is valued for its outstanding inspirational qualities. Following on from this, it has been

suggested that it is the present physical landscape - which may have been represented in artistic productions of the past - which holds value for our contemporary society. It is, therefore, the intangible heritage value of inspirational landscapes, located through the physical place, which must be managed according to current, not past, visions and representations of it. This can be achieved using cultural indicators that reflect contemporary values. As with the management of any cultural heritage place, once the inspirational, intangible, values of a place are no longer extant – in what ever way that might be quantified then it may be time to consider the relevance of the keeping such a place on the World Heritage List.

The identification of inspirational landscapes for inscription on the World Heritage List is an issue that requires the application of intellectual rigour and a strong theoretical basis. It also requires further detailed and urgent consideration by the World Heritage Committee and 13

ICOMOS, as it’s Advisory Body in advance of the nomination of an inspirational landscape to the World Heritage List.

References Australian Heritage Commission. 2002. "Research and Assessment Project 'Inspirational Landscapes' Terms of Reference." Unpublished. Bourdieu, P. 1993. The Field of Cultural Production Essays on Art and Literature, 1993 edition. Cambridge: Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishers. Cleere, H. 1995. "The Evaluation of Cultural Landscapes," in Cultural Landscapes of Universal Value. Edited by Bern Von Droste. Harold Plachter. Mechtild Rossler. New York: Gustav Fischer. —. 2002. "Interview on Associative Cultural Landscapes, the Global Strategy and Criterion (vi), 24th January 2002.." Edited by O. Beazley: Unpublished. Department for Culture Media and Sport. 2003. "World Heritage Sites. The Tentative List of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland," DCMS. Domicelj, J. 2002. "Interview on the Inscription of Hiroshima, Criterion (vi) and the Global Strategy, 27th July 2002." Edited by O. Beazley. Canberra: Unpublished. Fowler, P. 2002. "Interview on Associative Cultural Landscapes and the Application of Cultural Criterion (vi) in Relation to the Meeting at La Petite Pierre, Templin and Vienna." Edited by O. Beazley. London: Unpublished. ICOMOS. 1996. Lushan National Park No 778, Evaluation Report. ICOMOS. —. 1999. The Australian ICOMOS Burra Charter. Jacques, D. 2002. "Interview on Associative Cultural Landscapes and the World Heritage Convention." Edited by O. Beazley. London: Unpublished. Lennon, J. 2002. "Interview on the World Heritage Convention, The Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on Associative Cultural Landscapes." Edited by O. Beazley. Melbourne: Unpublished. Rosenthal, M. 1994. "The Landsape of Nostalgia, The Landscape of Decline," in Unknown. Simpson, J. Editor. 2004. Oxford English Dictionary: Oxford University Press. Sullivan, S. 2003. "Interview on the Inscription of Hiroshima, Cultural Criterion (vi) the Global Strategy and Inspirational Landscapes." Edited by O. Beazley. Canberra: Unpublished. Taylor, K. 2002. "Interview in the Templin Cultural Landscape Meeting 1993, The Asia Pacific Regional Workshop on Associative Cultural Landscapes, Sydney 1995." Edited by O. Beazley. Canberra: Unpublished. UNESCO. 1972. Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. UNESCO. —. 2000. "Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention." Paris: UNESCO.

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