Mariusz Czepczyński (Gdańsk): Heritage Resurrection
Marienstr. 13, Hörsaalzentrum, Hörsaal D
Heritage can be seen as a continuous process, based on flexible selections and rejections of a cultural group, but it requires constant choices of facts, narratives and artifacts, to be assimilated as part of own past. Often, what is considered cultural heritage by one generation may be rejected by the next, but be revived by a succeeding generation. One generation’s trash becomes the other generation’s treasure. Heritage is connected with continuity and is voluntary. We think about a cultural transplant, we have a donor and a recipient, and we have an organ, but the donor (usually) has no possibility to choose the recipient. The transplant is rather the result of twists of fate, so ‘cultural transplant’ could actually describe the ongoing process of heritage resurrection or transplantation contemporary Central Europe. In turbulent and insecure times, when everything changes fast, the old, imagined splendour seems like an anchor or a lighthouse that stabilises people in place and time, and which reminds them of their (chosen) identity and origin. All the ‘re-remembered’ history, artifacts, traditions and people re-appear into the social and cultural life of the new, Central European middle classes. After the decades of ignorance, decease and/or oblivion, the ghosts of the chosen, often quite alien pasts, or genius loci, have been resurrected to build and enforce new cultural identity of its new heirs.
Mariusz Czepczyński is cultural geographer, professor at the Department of Spatial Management, Institute of Geography, University of Gdańsk, Poland. His research interests are focused on cultural landscapes, post-socialist cities, heritages, urban cultures, critical geographies, quality of life, and local and regional development. He studied at the Universities of Gdańsk and Warsaw, additionally, attended courses at the University of Oslo (1997), Harvard School of Design (1993), and Center for Land Policy Studies and Training, Taoyuan, Taiwan (2016). In 2009 – 2011 he had been employed at the Geographical Institute of the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany. His activities also include consultancy and advisory, recently to the mayor of Gdańsk, Polish Metropolitan Union, City Hall of Lodz and Thuringian Ministry for Economy, Labour and Technology. He was deputy coordinator at the RECOURSE Research and Education Centre for Urban Socio- Economic Development – Centre of Excellency within the 5th Framework Programme. Prof. Czepczyński coordinates, together with Greater London and Belgian Roeselare, Energy Transition Partnership in the Urban Agenda for the EU project (2017-2019). His major publications include books like Public Space. Between Reimagination and Occupation (eds. with S. Hristova, Routledge: 2018), Cultural Landscape of Post-Socialist Cities. Representation of Powers and Needs (Ashgate: 2008), The City during the Times of Transformation: Experiencing 20 Years of Self-Governance in Gdansk (in Polish, ed. Poznań: 2011), Spaces of the post-socialist cities. Social transformations of urban areas (in Polish, ed. Poznań: 2006), Featuring the Quality of Urban Life in Contemporary Cities of Eastern and Western Europe (eds. with I. Sagan, Gdańsk: 2004). He was a member of Investigating Cultural SustainabilityCOST Action Programme and the Metropolitan Working Group of the Polish Academy of Sciences.