Lantz, Carolina, “The church as an intangible heritage”

Works of art, like paintings and architecture, often have a deeper meaning than an untrained eye can see. There can be a symbolic content, visible only to those who understand it. This is the case when it comes to church buildings and inventories. In my master thesis Kyrkan som immateriellt kulturarv – en studie i kulturvårdens förhållningssätt till liturgiska värden (The church as an intangible heritage – A study of liturgical values and the approach to them by the conservation field), written at department of conservation at University of Gothenburg, I have examined how these non-material aspects of churches are handled in case of changes to the church building.

In Sweden today a big part of the cultural heritage work concerning churches, is based on a cultural historic characterisation and assessment document, made for each individual church. It is supposed to, among other things, be used in support of decisions concerning changes in the building. Studies have shown that these assessment documents in many cases have an insufficient focus on intangible heritage. My study shows that the intangible heritage is also overlooked in the decision making concerning churches. Even though the Swedish National Heritage Board recommends considerations of the intangible heritage, there are no recommended ways to do so.

My study shows that the Church of Sweden has a symbolic relation to the church buildings. The congregations also need to be able to use their buildings, which sometimes means that they have to be changed to comply with the Church Order. The field of conservation and cultural heritage approaches churches more as buildings than symbols, and the inventories as material things and not what they communicate. They have no, or at least do not show any, understanding of what the stakeholders consider important.

In my thesis, I have created concepts about various liturgical values, which are possessed by the things that the congregations need to be able to worship according to the norms set by the church of Sweden. I have considered these kinds of values intangible according to UNESCO’s convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, because rituals are intangible heritage, and the objects associated to the intangible heritage are part of it. Liturgical symbols are narrative, like a wordless language which could be considered intangible. If the liturgical values are intangible according to the convention, they should be treated that way. This kind of cultural heritage must be allowed to change and be transmitted from generation to generation. This means that the rituals and other events in the church are the primary heritage according to the convention, and the material objects are secondary (not said that it is not important). Therefore the churches should be allowed to be altered to serve the current Church Order.

The conclusion of the thesis is that the conservation field has ambitions to preserve intangible heritage and thereby the liturgical values, but they do not have sufficiently developed methods to do so. My concepts about the liturgical values could be used to include the intangible heritage in the cultural historic characterisation and assessment document. Nevertheless, it appears that most cases of change in churches increase the liturgical values. With more developed methods this could be achieved in a more effective way and without too many administrative detours.

Carolina Lantz

Bachelor of Arts in History of Art and Visual Communication
Master of Science with a major in conservation

CZECH REPUBLIC Exhibition – "Damaged churches in the north of the Czech Republic (1945-1989)"

Krásné Březno, 01.03.2012 – 27.03.2012

The exhibition at the newly reconstructed castle in Krásné Březno will show the disastrous effects of the communism on now neglected churches. More than 500 churches, chapels and synagogues are presented mainly through historic photographs and archival documentation. The exhibition will be shown publically from the 15th of February in the Oblastni Museum in Chomutov.
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NORWAY Workshop – "Cultural Heritage Preservation"

The 2nd European Workshop on Cultural Heritage Preservation (EWCHP) is an European Cluster Workshop on research and development activities in the field of cultural heritage and its preservation for future generations. The workshop will take place on September 24–25, 2012 and an additional training day will be held on September 26th 2012. The 2nd EWCHP will take place at Kjeller, about 25 km outside of Oslo, Norway and will be hosted by NILU-Norwegian Institute for Air Research. The Organizing Committee is delighted to invite you to the 2nd EWCHP and looks forward to welcoming you.
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UK Exhibition – "The Tale of Croydon Mosque"

until 3rd March 2012

This exhibition explores the history of the largest mosque in Croydon, the Croydon Mosque & Islamic Centre at 525 London Road. The mosque has grown from informal gatherings in the basement of 32 Derby Road, West Croydon in the mid-1960s, into the present 2,000+ capacity building.

This is a chance to see rare photographs of the mosque’s development, explore the inside of the mosque using interactive multimedia and listen to oral histories of the founders and pioneers of the Muslim community in Croydon. The exhibition uses new technologies like augmented reality and computer gaming to help visitors to explore and learn.  “If you are into history, heritage, architecture, religious buildings and reaching hard to reach communities this is an unmissable event”.
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SLOVAKIA Exhibition – "Saints and Goddesses in the Slovakian art of the 19th Century"

Slovenske Narodne Muzeum (Slovak National Museum, Bratislava)

13.11. – 31.3.2012

The Curators of the Slovak National Museum along with the Institute of History of Art at Academy of Science in Slovakia have prepared a new exhibition at the National Museum dedicated to the depiction of Goddesses and female Saints in the 19th century Art in Slovakia. The wide spectrum of exhibited objects is telling the interesting story about the deep piety and admiration dedicated to the Saints and Goddesses. The exhibition is accompanied by catalogue, which can be used not only as an exhibition guide but also as a comprehensive reference on 19th century art in Slovakia.
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HUNGARY Exhibition – "Heroes, Kings, Saints. Images and Documents from the History of Hungary"

Magyar Nemzeti Galéria (National Gallery of Hungary, Budapest)
3 January – 26 August, 2012

The new exhibition in the Natioanl Gallery, Budapest invites its visitors to explore the Hungarian history through the personas of the most significant Heroes, Kings and Saints who had the most profound influence in shaping Hungary’s history. Besides the historical paintings the story is complemented by many interesting historical state documents such as constitution and other great objects of the Hungarian cultural history.
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CZECH REPUBLIC Exhibition – "St Agness of Bohemia – Princess and Nun"

Klaster sv. Anezky Ceske, Praha Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia, Prague

Sv. Anežka Česká – princezna a řeholnice 5.11.2011 – 25.03.2012

The unique exhibition prepared by Archbishopric of Prague and the National Gallery organised to mark the 800th birth anniversary (1211 -2011) of Agnes of Bohemia.  The exhibition is held in the authentic monastery of Poor Clares and the Franciscan founded by St Agnes and her brother king Wenceslas I. Premysl. More than 180 objects (among them the unique and the only portrait of the St. Agnes) show her life and legacy from the gothic period up to the 20 century.
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