Forthcoming events

8 November, 2019
Material Mediation: Heritage Politics Across Rwanda’s Borders
Dr Annalisa Bolin
Stockholm University – Critical Heritage Studies Network
November 21, 2019, 3-5 PM, with discussant Elisabeth Niklasson
Since the genocide in 1994, Rwanda’s government has focused on building a new nation with a new, stronger position in the international arena. In part, this has involved the strategic use of cultural and genocide heritage to transform the nation, such that the government mobilizes heritage within a number of sociopolitical projects. These projects operate simultaneously in domestic and international spheres, drawing on local and global forces to shape the construction of heritage.
This talk discusses how heritage’s materiality both manifests and challenges ideas about development and progress in the creation of the “New Rwanda” by tracing conservation work at two parallel—but very different—genocide memorials. The dynamics at these memorials demonstrate how globally-circulating discourses about material heritage are transformed by domestic politics. However, I further argue that for Rwanda, heritage politics do not stop at international borders. I introduce the government’s attempts to transform international relations through heritage negotiations, with attention to recently-launched efforts to repatriate items from collections held in German museums. Collectively, these cases indicate the potential of heritage to materialize and mediate larger sociopolitical processes both within and between nations.

First Swedish World Heritage Strategy

8 November, 2019

For the first time, Sweden has adopted a World Heritage Strategy, for 2020-2030 (not available in English yet). Earlier this year, the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures had submitted comments on a draft text.

The Strategy emphasises that the underlying idea and aim of World Heritage is the promotion of peace, international collaboration and human rights, and that all who work with World Heritage need to keep this in mind in everything they do. The Strategy also states that additional capacity needs to be built in understanding how World Heritage can contribute to societal development and to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

Background information is provided by the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO (in Swedish):

Cultural heritage network launched

24 October, 2019

Today, the Cultural Heritage Network has been launched, both in Edinburgh and with remote participation from around the world.

The Climate Heritage Network (CHN) is a voluntary, mutual support network. Despite profound connections between climate change and culture, today there are thousands of arts, culture and heritage actors and advocates whose talents have not yet been mobilized on climate change issues. The UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures recently joined this network.

Cornelius Holtorf submitted the following suggestion for future work of the CHN: “Don’t forget the power of research and help us at the Universities to find resources to advance our understanding of climate change in relation to heritage.”

Workshop Proceedings published!

1 October, 2019

The Proceedings of our workshop in May 2019 on Information and Memory for Future Decision-Making – Radioactive Waste and Beyond have now been published and are available on the Workshop’s homepage.

It was the first time in Sweden that a wide group of experts addressed the issue of preserving or regaining records, knowledge and memory in order to enable future societies to make knowledgeable decisions concerning significant legacies inherited from the past.

The workshop was co-hosted by:
• Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste (Kärnavfallsrådet)
• Linnaeus University
• National Archives of Sweden (Riksarkivet)
• Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM)

Heritage futures research gains momentum

30 September, 2019

The UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University is growing. Dr Annalisa Bolin will research the significance of cultural heritage in international relations, with focus on Rwanda, East Africa. She will spend two years at Linnaeus University.

Read more here.

Söderström’s research reviewed in Germany

27 September, 2019

The Licentiate thesis of our research student Ulrika Söderström has been reviewed in Germany, reflecting the international significance of her work at the interface of sustainable development and contract archaeology.

“Ulrika Söderström untersucht in ihrer auf Englisch verfassten, sehr interessanten und einsichtsreichen Lizenziatsarbeit die Frage, inwieweit in Schweden die praktische archäologische Denkmalpflege zu einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung im Sinne der diesbezüglichen Zielsetzungen der Vereinten Nationen beiträgt (speziell den das kulturelle Erbe betreffenden Teil in Ziel 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities; United Nations, 2016). Sie kommt, um das vorwegzunehmen, zu dem unangenehmen Ergebnis, dass sie das nur in einem sehr geringen Ausmaß tut, wenn überhaupt.”

Karl, Raimund (2019) Rezension zu U. Söderström (2018) Contract Archaeology and Sustainable Development. Between Policy and Practice. Växjö. LNU Press. Archäologische Informationen 42.

Culture on the Agenda

25 September, 2019

The campaign to strengthen culture among sustainable development goals has reached an important landmark: the new “Culture in the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda” report by Ege Yildirim of ICOMOS:

“We need parties involved in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs to consider culture as an invaluable driver and enabler to help communities thrive and be sustainable. We need the cultural communities, sectors, actors and agents, to come closer together for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.”

The field of heritage can lead the way for culture. Cultural heritage is widely recognised for its potential to contribute to development for the future. Lets build on that!

Various activities July 2019 – September 2019

24 September, 2019

Cornelius Holtorf met with Adèle Nibona, Head of Culture, and Nseno Sunday Emiem, Programm specialist for cultural heritage, at the UNESCO Regional Office, in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss issues of mutual interest and collaboration (17 July 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf met Akerele Olumido and Owoado Latifat at the Nigerian National Institute of Radiation Protection and Research in Ibadan, Nigeria, to discuss collaboration (24 July 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf discussed with Professor Toshiyuko Kono, Distinguished Professor of Law and President of ICOMOS International, a joint project application to a Japanese Funding body on the integration of various international governing systems of cultural heritage (14 August 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf sent a written comment to the Swedish National Heritage Board concerning its Draft National Strategy for World Heritage 2020-2030 (19 August 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf contributed to a presentation of the Centrum for Applied Heritage with a short introduction to the work of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures for some 30 employees of the Social Development Unit of Kronoberg County Council, Sweden in Kalmar (28 August 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf participated in a full-day information day about a funding programme on challenge-driven innovations run by Sweden’s Innovation Agency VINNOVA in Stockholm (29 August 2019).

Claudio Pescatore, Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg took actively part in the first project workshop of the “Memory Across Generations” project dedicated to culture heritage and held at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, Stockholm (2 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf presented an invited lecture entitled “Atommüll als Erbe der Zukunft. Wissenstradierung aus Sicht der Archäologie und Kulturerbeforschung” for more than 50 experts and members of the public at the Symposium “Markieren, hinweisen oder vergessen? – Überlegungen zum Umgang mit Wissenserhalt bei nuklearen Lagerstätten über Generationen hinweg” organised by the Bundesamt für Energie at Zürich, Switzerland (4 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg participated in the Roundtable on Climate Change and Heritage at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Bern, Switzerland (6 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf presented a lecture entitled „Archaeology: making a difference to global development“ in a session on „Critical ideas — reflexive archaeologies“ at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Bern, Switzerland (7 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg (with Harald Fredheim) co-organised and co-chaired a session on “EAA2500 – Thinking the Future in Archaeology and Archaeological Heritage Management” at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists in Bern, Switzerland. For an audience of around 30 they presented papers in this session on “Archaeologists and the future – an arranged marriage to last?” (Holtorf) and “Contract Archaeology – a future making business” (Högberg) (7 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf presented a talk on “Heritage Futures – what it means and why it matters” for a group of ca 20 PhD students and researchers including staff from the Centre for Anthropological Research/Palaeo-Research Institute, University of Johannesburg, South Africa visiting Linnaeus University, Kalmar (10 September 2019)

Cornelius Holtorf lectured on “Heritage Futures and Applied Heritage” for a group of ca 15 researchers and students from South Africa, Turkey, Serbia, Latvia and Sweden taking a course on Applied Heritage and the Time Travel method organised by Kalmar County Museum, Kalmar (13 September 2019). Anders Högberg addressed the same group on “Heritage beyond learning about the past” (17 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf taught students in the Masters-level course on “Advanced Field Archaeology” about how to make a difference in society through field archaeology (17 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf led a half-day Future workshop with 14 members of the Committee for Culture and Leisure at Kalmar Town Council (19 September 2019).

Anders Högberg attended a one-day conference in Malmö entitled “New ‘hybrid-competences’ for museums”. The c. 40 participants discussed what new knowledge is needed for museums to understand and act upon urgent future-related topics such as strengthening the sustainability of democratic societies (19 September 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg led a half-day Future workshop with ca 20 politicians and civil servants at the start of working on a new master plan for Borgholm Municipality, Borgholm (23 September 2019).

Cultural Heritage and Climate Action

21 September, 2019

The new document The Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action by the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group presents a very impressive agenda for future work in our sector. As ICOMOS President Toshiyuki Kono states in his preface:

“It would be foolish to imagine the practice of heritage remaining static while the world goes through the rapid and far-reaching transitions… [connected with climate change]. Responding requires adjustments in the aims and methodologies of heritage practice.”

It is very satisfying that we were able to contribute to this work. In particular, this involves two points. Regarding the role of heritage as an asset for climate change adaptation, we suggested to add

  • Interpretation of cultural heritage as evidence of repeated human adaptation to past change and transformation [4.2.1]

In the discussion of arising opportunities, constraints and challenges, we added in relation to Uncertainty

  • Interpreting cultural heritage in terms of change and transformation [11.2.4]

Both points are related and concern an aspect little discussed to date but of considerable significance for the future and closely related to some of the outcomes of the Heritage Futures research project.


World Heritage in Sweden and South Africa

13 September, 2019

On 11 September, Anders Högberg and researchers from the University of Johannesburg visited the World Heritage site Agricultural Landcape of Southern Öland. They met up with Emma Rydnér, co-ordinator of the world heritage site, and Niklas Petersson who is one of the farmers keeping the world heritage alive. The researchers from Johannesburg are all in various ways working with the UNESCO World Heritage site Cradle of Humankind in South Africa. On Öland, the group had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and discuss aspects on how to build futures for world heritage site in different contexts.