Posts Tagged ‘covid-19’

The need to remember COVID-19

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Neuroscientist and futurist Anders Sandberg has published an interesting argument about our moral duty to remember the lesson of COVID-19 for the benefit of future generations:

The Covid-19 pandemic … is a wake-up call. … [H]istorically we have adapted to trauma rather well. Maybe too well – we have a moral reason to ensure that we do not forget the harsh lessons we are learning now. 

What kind of lessons do we need to learn? The basic ones are what strategies work and do not work, whether in epidemiological strategy, social life or how to handle the experience personally. 

According to Sandberg, part of the solution may be the construction of monumental memorials:

In the end, we better build some hard-to-ignore monuments to the people who died or performed heroically, to shore up our collective memory. Li Wenliang may be a good symbolic martyr to remember (especially the key lesson about openness being necessary for a rapid response).

It is to a large degree a real moral choice whether Covid-19 becomes a warning shot that teaches us useful things for the time when a truly dangerous pathogen emerges (or is made) or just a massive distraction that is soon conveniently forgotten… until it is too late. Given the stakes, it matters to remember well.

But what does it matter “to remember well”, I would ask? No detailed message remains understandable and meaningful across generations, unless it is regularly being updated and translated into a new context.

The best message to transmit to the future may therefore be a meta-message:

  1. Keep the experts on essential issues!
  2. Listen to them!
  3. Vote for politicians who put human wellbeing first! 

I wonder who may be the right martyr to be memorialised for that message to be carried forward…

From Corona Crisis to Heritage Futures

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

A virus has put the world on hold. Many individual human actions suddenly appear extremely small and insignificant in comparison with the unyielding might and relentless spread with which the SARS-CoV-2 virus is presently conquering Earth.

It is not surprising that many have started asking about the legacy that the ‘corona crisis’ of 2020 is going to leave behind for the years and perhaps for decades to come. Seldom have the relations between present and future societies felt more relevant than during the present weeks.

Read a commentary on the “corona crisis” from the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. — Do we need a new kind of world heritage for the post-corona world?

What does the future hold for heritage?

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Cornelius Holtorf gave a Prezi presentation on “Heritage Futures: What does the future hold for heritage?” for the Global Webinar Series of the ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group (29 March 2020).

The Zoom session reached very quickly the maximum number of 100 participants, with another 134 queuing to come in. Participants joined from all regions of the world, many confined to their homes due to measures to slow down the spread of covid-19.

Among the topics addressed in the lecture and the subsequent discussion were:

  • What does it mean to address Heritage Futures?
  • Is the future relevant to heritage?
  • Is the future knowable at all?
  • What are the needs of future generations?
  • Are we already addressing the future?
  • What is the potential of heritage in a post-corona world?

The presentation concluded by stating that heritage can have a bright future to the extent that it competently contributes to meeting the needs of future societies.

A recording of the entire session is available here. A look back at the event is available on the ICOMOS site.