Mario Santana Quintero

Mario Santana-Quintero, is an associate professor at department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Carleton University. He is also the Director of the NSERC Create program Heritage Engineering based at the Carleton immersive Media Studio Lab (CIMS). He is also a guest professor at the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (University of Leuven). Along with his academic activities, he serves as ICOMOS Vice President and he is the past president of the ICOMOS Scientific Committee on Heritage Documentation (CIPA). Furthermore, he has collaborated in several international projects in the field of heritage documentation for UNESCO, The Getty Conservation Institute, ICCROM, World Monuments Fund, UNDP, Welfare Association, and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.

Lecture Title: Can we apply ethics to digital recording for conserving heritage places

Abstract: Recording the physical characteristics of historic structures and landscapes is a cornerstone of preventive maintenance, monitoring and conservation. The information produced by such workflows guides decision-making by property owners, site managers, public officials, and conservators. Rigorous documentation may also serve a broader purpose: over time, it becomes the primary means by which scholars and the public apprehend a site that has since changed radically or disappeared.

The development of ethics principles (or code of ethics) applicable to the heritage recording specialists in their conduct, responsibilities, professional practice and for the benefit of the public and communities is of paramount importance. As indicated by Smith (2019), “the values and principles inherent in the technology itself are more sharply diverging for a reckoning: we must now address not just the practical considerations of the technology we use, but also its moral and ethical implications. If we don’t, we risk compromising the values of the heritage we serve.” This means that it is important that the practice should allow better planning, recording, processing and dissemination of digital workflows that are aimed for the conservation of historic places. Also, digital products should be aimed at improving the practice, sharing and longevity of records among heritage organizations around the world.

This presentation summarizes the scholar’s work this term by providing a number of examples illustrating potential conflict in obligations and ethical categories when conducting digital heritage recording projects for conservation.