EuroMed Heritage is a campaign that aims to overcome the controversies of heritage-related tourism. My studio is often involved in producing images and publications for heritage-related tourism projects. That is a very controversial issue that has two sides: one side supports such projects for economic and social reasons (ie., jobs) and the other side opposes them for cultural or ecological reasons (damage to the integrity of the cultural or natural heritage).
I am fairly agnostic about this issue. I’ve seen many good heritage-related tourism projects that really benefit the communities involved. But I’ve also seen projects that bring only destruction and desecration.
With my work I like to explore the possibility to harmonize tradition and modernity: I do believe that cultural heritage needs to be protected and maintained but I also believe that conserving heritage does not mean to get stuck in the past. It’s unrealistic to turn back the clock and heritage-related tourism can allow the communities to develop one more tool to be creative and competitive for facing all the coming issues.
To achieve that goal is very important to involve the community and here good communication plays a vital role: when there is no public strategy for the protection and promotion, shared by the community, there is a high risk of the loss of memory and cultural identity that undermine social cohesion and lead to the depletion of natural resources, material and immaterial.
The ability to create new know-how, to distinguish oneself, to have a common vision of the future and thus to express a “social competitiveness”, is the advantage of “communities” who assume the role of establishing and negotiate within the challenges of modernity as well as within the values on which they rest, knowing that where there is not culture, sense of identity and memory, it is not possible to create any sense of genuine “community”.