Special Issue "The Impact of COVID-19 on Cultural Heritage"

A special issue of Heritage (ISSN 2571-9408). This special issue belongs to the section "Cultural Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dirk Spennemann
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Land Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia
Interests: micronesian history and heritage; heritage conservation; heritage management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

On the anniversary of the formal naming of the then novel virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the naming it the disease it causes (COVID-19), it is appropriate to examine the impact the disease has had on the world’s cultural heritage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a global, cross-sectorial disruptor, with international conferences postponed, public lectures cancelled, museums shuttered, gallery openings abandoned, heritage tourist attractions closed and heritage soundscapes altered. Multiple community lockdowns, travel restrictions and social distancing requirements affected the way heritage professionals were able to exercise their professional work. On the downside, site inspections and necessary conservation and maintenance work had to be delayed. Expedited economic stimulus packages may have streamlined approval processes which affected due diligence in heritage approvals. In other case, the lack of work resulted in staff losses. On the upside, many activities moved to online events and exhibitions, thus potentially reaching a wider audience, yet disembodying the message from the materiality of objects and sites. The pandemic also generated a plethora of material culture and temporary sites worthy of examination and discussion.

This exciting special issue of Heritage  will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. We are looking for case studies of how COVID-19 affected one or more aspects of the following:

  • management of heritage sites
  • heritage site conservation
  • heritage site maintenance
  • heritage tourism
  • museum operations
  • impact of COVID-19 economic stimuli on heritage sites
  • mental health of heritage professionals during COVID-19

Prof. Dirk Spennemann
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Heritage is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Stille Nacht: COVID and the Ghost of Christmas 2020
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 3081-3097; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage4040172 - 04 Oct 2021
Viewed by 315
Abstract
Annually, there are between 2500 and 3000 Christmas markets in Germany. While purported to be rooted in century-old tradition, the current concept of the markets, shaped in the 1930s, gradually transformed from primarily mercantile operations to experiential events. The experiential dimension is a [...] Read more.
Annually, there are between 2500 and 3000 Christmas markets in Germany. While purported to be rooted in century-old tradition, the current concept of the markets, shaped in the 1930s, gradually transformed from primarily mercantile operations to experiential events. The experiential dimension is a collection of visual, auditory, and olfactory components that create a compound sensory response: the ‘Christmas atmosphere’. The prevalence of COVID-19 meant that traditional Christmas markets were largely absent from the festive calendar in Germany in 2020, disrupting the usual sensory experiences associated with these events. A review of the online presence showed that augmented markets and virtual reality were subsequently utilized in an attempt to re-create the experience and the ambience of the traditional markets, but had limited interactivity with many of the senses. We explore to what extent these multiple-sensory components may have been lost during the Christmas period of 2020 due to the COVID-19-induced transition from the traditional multisensory live market to a predominantly online experience, and highlight problems which arise through the documentation of such complex intangible heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of COVID-19 on Cultural Heritage)
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Article
Languages and Context Issues of ICTs for a New Role of Museums in the COVID-19 Era
Heritage 2021, 4(4), 3065-3080; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage4040171 - 02 Oct 2021
Viewed by 317
Abstract
The rapid spread of the COVID pandemic is deeply changing people’s lives and upsetting consolidated models and lifestyles. The social distancing measures for the reduction of contagion have been heavily affecting people’s daily experiences, such as for example the public’s relationship with cultural [...] Read more.
The rapid spread of the COVID pandemic is deeply changing people’s lives and upsetting consolidated models and lifestyles. The social distancing measures for the reduction of contagion have been heavily affecting people’s daily experiences, such as for example the public’s relationship with cultural resources. Museums, in particular, are paying the highest price for that, forced to find new forms for heritage fruition, thus representing an emblematic case. Taking its steps from the analysis of the pandemic’s effects on global museum heritage and of museums’ response, the article focuses then on ICTs’ role as communication languages between heritage and its audiences in the solutions adopted, and on their suitability to the changed context. Finally, reflections on structural and contextual aspects of the dialogue between cultural resources and their public, beyond strictly technological matters, are proposed, to highlight the real extent of the challenges facing the museum sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of COVID-19 on Cultural Heritage)
Article
COVID-19 on the Ground: Managing the Heritage Sites of a Pandemic
Heritage 2021, 4(3), 2140-2162; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/heritage4030121 - 03 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1155
Abstract
The standard methodology for the assessment of cultural heritage significance relies on hindsight, with a passage of time elapsed between the creation of the site or object and its assessment. There are, however, cases where heritage significance is instant (e.g., sites associated with [...] Read more.
The standard methodology for the assessment of cultural heritage significance relies on hindsight, with a passage of time elapsed between the creation of the site or object and its assessment. There are, however, cases where heritage significance is instant (e.g., sites associated with the first Moon landing). This paper argues that hindsight will not be required to determine that the COVID-19 pandemic will come to be considered as a significant historic event, as COVID-19 has already manifested itself as a social, cultural and economic disruptor on a global scale with a mortality in the millions. Heritage professionals have the unique opportunity to assess and document places and structures associated with the pandemic, that are poised to be worthy of a heritage listing in the near future, while they are still in use and function as intended. This paper discusses the nature of the sites and structures and explores possible management approaches to safeguard evidence of the pandemic for future generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impact of COVID-19 on Cultural Heritage)
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