Sophie Stackmann: Integrity and Heritage – Integrity, intactness and wholeness as charged concepts of cultural heritage preservation.

European concepts of cultural heritage are based on collecting, organising, and preserving objects. One of their key objectives is to protect the selected objects from any changes. Integrity can therefore be understood as an umbrella termthat describes the various forms of striving for the greatest possible integrity in the field of cultural heritage. Integrity is historically linked to debates about the dichotomy of conservation and restoration. However, the preservation of integrity does not only relate to material properties, but rather it is a morally and politically charged concept. Discourses on integrity always include questions about the (violent) assignment of identities and the seclusion of cultural spaces. As a result, integrity not only describes the desirable integrity of an object but is implicitly and explicitly inscribed with a toxic search for cultural homogeneity.  

The lecture will discuss the concept of integrity as a key term for European concepts of cultural heritage and its inherent ambivalence. A particular focus will be put on the history of heritage conservation and heritage studies

Sophie Stackmann is a research assistant at the Chair of Monument Conservation and Building in Existing Contexts at the Vienna University of Technology. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at the Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies (KDWT) at the University of Bamberg. From 2019 to 2021, she was a research assistant in the DFG project Architektur- und Planungskollektive der DDR: Institutionelle Strukturen und kreative Prozesse in der sozialistischen Architekturproduktion. She completed her doctorate on the concept of integrity and its significance for discourses in heritage studies in 2022 (funded by a doctoral scholarship from the Johannes-Rau-Gesellschaft). She studied art history and heritage conservation at the University of Bamberg.