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.

EAA in the year 2500

12 September, 2019

Cornelius Holtorf, Anders Högberg and Harald Fredheim co-organized and co-chaired the session “EAA2500 – Thinking the Future in Archaeology and Archaeological Heritage Management” at the 25th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) in Bern, Switzerland (7 September 2019).

In a packed room speakers from Sweden, Japan, the US, the UK, Serbia, Australia, Italy and the Netherlands discussed with the audience:

  • how do different perceptions of the future inform how archaeology is practiced and heritage is managed today?
  • which future do archaeologists and heritage professionals actually work for?
  • what kind of archaeology and heritage will be needed in the future (and how do we know)?
  • how can we build capacity in future thinking (futures literacy) among archaeologists and heritage professionals?

Absolut farmakon

13 August, 2019

Absolut farmakon” (Stockholm: Ariel, 2019) är en väl skriven bok av historikern och kritikern Axel Andersson. Den  innehåller många intressanta och originella iakttagelser om kärnkraft och särskilt om kärnavfall. En karakteristisk mening låtar så här: “Fysiker hänvisar sällan till Kant när de talar om kriticitet” (s. 17). Sant!

Jag hade lite svårt att förstå relevansen av de långa redovisningar om Derrida, Stiegler, Gilligan, Ukele mm men det finns framför allt många egna observationer och kommentarer som väcker nya tankar om kärnavfall och dess koppling till framtiden. Sista stycket i boken är en bra sammanfattning av bokens resonemang:

”Det finns inte många möjligheter att projicera mänskligheten 100 000 år in i framtiden. Kärnavfallet är ett av de få. En ofantlig resurs för varje nation som idag äger avfall och således äger ansvar för det. Gestaltningen av återstoden kring förvaringen av kärnavfallet är också ett sätt att offentliggöra och demokratisera denna skatt. Den tillhör oss alla då det var vi, och våra anfäder, som använde energin som blev kärnavfall. Vi ska aldrig dö.”

Lena Ek on cultural sustainability

7 August, 2019

I had the opportunity on 7 August 2019 in Kalmar to talk to Lena Ek, former Swedish Minister of the Environment (2011-2014) and directly involved in the negotiations of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On my question about the prospects for making cultural sustainability more prominent in future global sustainability goals, she pointed out three important issues:

  1. The SDGs focus on the most prioritised issues only, and it is significant already that culture is mentioned twice in the current targets (SDG 4.7 and SDG 11.4).
  2. The SDGs evoke many other treaties and conventions, especially related to human rights. It may be important to relate cultural sustainability to cultural rights.
  3. In the eyes of some nations, cultural issues and potential goals are not always very concrete or considered important for development, so there is room for more clarity on this.

Heritage Futures in Nigeria

27 July, 2019

Cornelius Holtorf presented a lecture (with discussion) entitled “Heritage and the Future” for an audience of almost 50 staff and students at all levels at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria (24 July 2019).

Various activities April – June 2019

1 July, 2019

Cornelius Holtorf och Anders Högberg led a future workshop in Kalmar for cirka 40 civil servants dealing with cultural heritage in southern Sweden (10 April 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf met up in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with Nour Munawar, Ihab Saloul and James Symonds of the University of Amsterdam and Bill Wei of Cultureel Erfgoed to prepare the ICOMOC University Forum on Thinking and Planning the Future in Heritage Management to be held 11-14 June 2019 in Amsterdam (12 April 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf was an invited discussant at a presentation by Mathilda Tham, Sarah Hultén-Cavallius and Åsa Ståhl of the Dept of Design about their Metadesign project BOOST –  Smart Housing Småland, given at Linnaeus University, Kalmar (25 April 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf was invited to contribute to an expert workshop on Cultural Heritage and Change, organised by the Funding bodies Riksbanken Jubileumsfond and Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation in preparation of an international call for research funding, to be launched later this year (2/3 May 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf took part during April and May 2019 in extended deliberations about the most appropriate response of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) to the fire at Notre Dame.

Cornelius Holtorf met up with Alexandra Petrakou, University liaison officer at the Municipality of Kalmar, to discuss future collaboration in the context of the Kalmar 2020 initiative (3 June 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf led a half-day future workshop for 12 managers of the Culture and Leisure Department of the Municipality of Kalmar (17 June 2019).

Cornelius Holtorf lectured for staff and students on “Ist ‚Kulturerbe‘ zukunftsfähig? Kritische Thesen zu archäologischem Kulturerbe, kultureller Identität und Begrenzungen unseres Denkens für die Zukunft“ at the Heidelberg Center für Cultural Heritage, University of Heidelberg, Germany (25 June 2019).

Alternative futures in the Lake District

29 June, 2019

Sarah May argues in a new paper on Heritage, endangerment and participation: alternative futures in the Lake District:

“When heritage is framed as inherently threatened, participation in heritage is framed as a battle against those threats. … endangerment domesticates dangerous pasts. However, endangerment also closes down futures by positioning present communities in a constant state of anxiety where the future is only apprehended as a threat to the past. But there are ways to participate in heritage–to enjoy it, create it, sustain it–not linked to endangerment. The practice of fell shepherding described here does not depend on endangerment to create futures but creates a future from patient care in the present.”

Sarah May (2019): Heritage, endangerment and participation: alternative futures in the Lake District, International Journal of Heritage Studies, DOI: 10.1080/13527258.2019.1620827 – available in open access.