Sydney delivers an extraordinary ICOMOS GA2023

GML’s Head of Victoria Edwina Jans wraps up a stimulating week at the first ever ICOMOS General Assembly held in the Pacific region.

‘After nearly 6 years, it was a huge privilege to join my Executive Committee colleagues, along with those involved in the Organising Committee and Scientific Symposium, and my GML colleagues to deliver the extraordinary 21st global ICOMOS General Assembly.

We welcomed over 1,500 participants, from across Australia and the world, to Sydney for 10 days to engage in stimulating conversations, to explore extraordinary heritage places, to delight in unique arts and cultural experiences, and to advance the professional practice of cultural heritage management.

More than 150 different events included Welcomes to Country, an Opening Ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, the Youth Forum on Cockatoo Island / Wareamah and a visit to the Greater Blue Mountains. The Scientific Symposium provided a platform for conversation, debate, ideas and new perspectives. The event culminated in the gala dinner which was a celebration of the vibrancy of First Nations arts and culture through the special menu featuring Aboriginal ingredients, a Smoking Ceremony by Muruwari artist and digeridoo player Matthew Doyle and a moving dance performance by the Jannawi Dance Clan.

With such a rich program it’s hard to single out the highlights, but a few events and experiences stand out for me: the generosity of the owners of the houses we visited on the ISC twentieth century tour of modern Sydney architecture homes designed by Marion and Walter Griffin in Castlecrag and Harry Seidler in Wahroonga, Killara and Gordon; engaging with the public through the Heritage Lecture, Heritage Exposition, and the Heritage Trades Fair; the mindfulness of engaging with weaver Aunty Karleen Green in GML’s Gadi Networking Lounge; and the lasting legacy of the GA2023 on our professional practice including important resolutions on the impact of climate change, and the rights, roles and responsibilities of First Nations people in identifying, conserving, managing and celebrating their cultural heritage.

Perhaps most of all, it was the generosity of spirit with which industry colleagues, government partners and corporate patrons joined with us to showcase Australia’s amazing cultural heritage and the many dynamic ways Australia is leading the world in shaping the future of heritage.’

GML’s Head of Victoria Edwina Jans

Traditional weaving with Aunty Karleen Green in the Gadi Lounge

Jannawi Dance Clan performing at the Gala Dinner

Presentation by GML Principal Rachel Jackson

Presentation by GML consultants Adiba Rahman and Dr Constance Wyndham