Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts

The journal Change Over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, invites abstract submissions for 10.1    Conservation – Discipline & Profession | Editor: Frank Matero

Since its emergence in the 20th century as a discrete field of intellectual inquiry and applied practice, the conservation of the built environment has developed into a distinct interdisciplinary profession.  Although the concerns and practice of conservation as applied to art and architecture can be traced to earlier efforts set within what were at the time emerging disciplines and professions, (such as art history, architecture, and city planning), the field has subsequently matured and specialized. Conservation today extends its purview to broader considerations of ‘heritage’ as a physical and social expression and thus employs a theoretical and methodological framework drawn from the humanities and the sciences. After nearly a century of formal practice, institutional representation, the establishment of national and international organizations, and the later development of academic programs, an ideological and professional maturation is well on its way. It is time for an historical and critical evaluation of the field as discipline and profession.

Gardner and Shulman (2005) summarize the characteristics of a profession as: defined by a body of theory or special knowledge; embodying a distinct specialized set of professional skills, practices, and performances; involving an organized approach to learning from experience both individually and collectively thereby enhancing the body of professional knowledge; guided by a commitment to serve the interests of clients in particular and the welfare of society in general; and represented by a professional community responsible for the oversight and monitoring of quality in both practice and professional education. Furthermore, professionalism, (or the behavior and capacity of a professional), is marked by mastery of occupational knowledge, methods, and ethics and the capacity to render judgments of integrity under conditions of both technical and ethical uncertainty. Conservation possesses all of these.

The inherent interdisciplinarity and inclusive concerns of conservation from social cohesion and architectural/evidentiary preservation to diversifying historical narratives and socio-spatial equity, raise challenging questions of disciplinary and professional boundaries and call upon the profession to articulate its authority. What are the disciplinary implications for an interdisciplinary field? What professional authority does conservation contribute to addressing urgent societal problems? How has the field evolved (or not) as a discipline and profession? And how can the profession succeed in fulfilling its greatest civic promise? This issue of Change Over Time invites contributions that examine the dimensions and scope of the profession as well as the responsibilities, ethics, and authority of the preservation professional. We welcome contributions across a range of topics: researching and documenting historical approaches and practices; exploring specific specializations within history, architecture, archaeology, and planning; and the challenges to expertise and the shifting relationship between professionals and the public, to name a few. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, case studies, theoretical explorations, and evaluations of current practices or policy and academic programs.

Abstracts of 200-300 words are due 17 May 2019. Authors will be notified of provisional paper acceptance by mid-June 2019. Final manuscript submissions will be due 4 September 2019. For formatting and submission details see “Step One – Abstract” of the COT Author Guidelines at


Articles are generally restricted to 7,500 or fewer words (the approximate equivalent to thirty pages of double-spaced, twelve-point type) and may include up to ten images. See Author Guidelines at or email Senior Associate Editor, Kecia Fong at for further information.

Gardner, H. & Shulman, L.S., 2005, ‘The Professions in America Today: Crucial but Fragile’, Daedalus, 134(3), pp. 13-18.