(University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy, Sofia, Bulgaria / and / Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts – Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Plovdiv, Bulgaria)

Keywords: tangible heritage, problems and challenges of preservation, innovative approaches in preservation, visual communication-based approach

The preservation of cultural heritage has a long history and vast theoretical background. Yet its current issues are more challenging and some of its contemporary approaches – more controversial. The biggest risk factors for the tangible heritage are war-related destruction, damage done by the intensified cultural tourism, demolition and inadequate treatment due to accelerating urban and infrastructural development, owners’ reluctance in taking proper and sufficient care for the monuments due to heavy administrative procedures and high costs for maintenance and renovation.
These problems have a common denominator – the inability of the public and the stakeholders to recognize the ephemeral importance of the tangible heritage as an external common memory, as a valuable testimony and material proof for past events. This inability is rooted in the lack of available and sufficient public information about the monuments, especially those of local importance. Thus their physical evolution and the development of their adjacent environment in the urban context are doomed to oblivion as the scarce information is often either too hard to get and/or too expensive to reach.
Our innovative communication-based preservation approach aims at bringing closer the audience and the tangible heritage with the methods of the public relations and the tools of crisis communication – addressing issues on the professional and nonprofessional level, by small personal interventions, by raising an open and honest discussion, by presenting the true value of the built heritage as an irreplaceable bearer of information. By visualizing the effects of the compromised fabric of the cultural heritage as erased pieces of people’s own personal memories, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of the everyday preservation, to educate broader and more informed audience, to foster a higher sensitivity towards public memory issues, in order to pass our history and our memories to future generations.