Last week, for the second year in a row, Trinity University Press hosted the annual Living Heritage Symposium on the Trinity campus. Presented by San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation, the gathering of local and international cultural heritage experts is in its third year.
Incorporating United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, participants ranging from policymakers to activists explored the conservation and celebration of cultural heritage and developed action plans for managing living heritage alongside urban development.
Following a welcome by San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg, who is a Trinity graduate, participants explored San Antonio–specific challenges related to documenting social heritage, conserving culturally significant properties, and incorporating living heritage into commercial enterprise. Discussions ranged widely from shotgun houses as affordable housing to traditional markets like San Antonio’s “El Mercado” to the effects of climate change on heritage.
Angelica Arias of Ecuador, Mario Schjetan from Mexico City, and Kaylena Bray, a representative of the Seneca Nation, along with other national and international experts joined local preservation and community experts including architects, grassroots preservationists, academics and representatives from the San Antonio Conservation Society, the Esperanza Center’s Westside Preservation Alliance, the Institute of Texan Cultures, and other community organizations.
Tom Payton, director of Trinity University Press, welcomed participants and highlighted the press’s mission as a community-focused enterprise committed to social change driven by an understanding of place, living heritage, and shared challenges such as climate change.
Conference organizer Claudia Guerra, who is the city’s cultural historian, added: "Having this important and ground-breaking event on the campus of Trinity University was an honor. We are grateful to Trinity University Press for hosting the event and adding to the conversation. We developed an action plan that is inclusive, equitable and which will aid in developing a resilient community.”
The first day was capped by Trinity professor Kathryn O'Rourke’s tour of the campus, which was recently designated a historic district for its midcentury design by architect O'Neil Ford.