Annual Maura Shaffrey Memorial Lecture 2023: Conserving Twentieth Century Heritage for an Equitable, Sustainable Future


18.00 Thursday 2 November 2023

Hibernian Conference Hall, Dublin Castle

ICOMOS Ireland is delighted to announce that the 2023 Annual Maura Shaffrey Memorial Lecture will be presented by Susan Macdonald Co-President of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Twentieth Century Heritage (ISC20C) and Head of Buildings and Sites at the Getty Conservation Institute. Involving research, field projects, training and dissemination, Susan oversees more than 20 projects that aim to advance conservation practice internationally.  Susan holds a BSc (Architecture) and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Sydney, and a Masters in Conservation Studies (University of York/ICCROM). She is a certified practicing planner and has worked as a conservation architect in private practice in Australia and in England.  She has also worked in the public sector where she has been involved in a wide range of conservation issues at the strategic and bottom-up level, involving urban planning, development, economics, policy, technical matters and world heritage issues. Susan has as an interest in 20th-century heritage and is a member of the DOCOMOMO International Specialist Technical Committee. She was elected as Co-President of the ICOMOS 20th Century Committee at the AGM  held at the Sydney Opera House during the recent ICOMOS GA2023.



Much of the world’s-built environment dates from the second half of the twentieth century, a period of unprecedented environmental, social, cultural and economic change – sometimes described at the Great Acceleration. It is in dealing with the heritage of the last 50 or so years that we confront some of the most critical and urgent issues of the day. Taking, arguably, two of the most pressing challenges facing contemporary society – our need to respond to the climate change emergency and the imperative for social justice and inequity – I seek to examine how recognizing and conserving 20th century heritage can contribute to addressing these issues. Where does conservation fit in these imperatives? How do we as heritage practitioners, policy makers and stewards of the built environment contribute to or hinder overcoming them. In grappling with these challenges for twentieth century heritage, new approaches and frameworks for heritage practice more generally will inevitably emerge.  So too we will find more support for and success in stewarding twentieth-century heritage.


Alan Mee will respond to Susan’s lecture. Alan is Senior Lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, at University College Dublin and Architecture Advisor to the Arts Council.

A reception will be held after a brief Q+A session.


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