Various activities July – September 2023

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023

Cornelius Holtorf and Gustav Wollentz attended the Naturkulturworkshopen Waste-in-progress (organised by Timo Menko as part of Smålandstriennalen 2023) held at the illegal waste deposit site in Marhult. During the event they were interviewed by Mathilda Johansson for “Eftermiddag i P4 Kronoberg med Henric Bingström”, broadcast on the same day and available at https://sverigesradio.se/avsnitt/eftermiddag-i-p4-med-henric-bingstrom–9 (27 July 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf participated actively in a brainstorming session for the planned UNESCO Chairs Forum at the World Heritage Committee meeting, convened and chaired by Heba Aziz, UNESCO Chair for World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Management in the Arab Region at the German University of Technology in Oman. Also participating were five additional UNESCO Chairholders in Egypt (2), Germany, Greece, and Switzerland and three representives of further UNESCO Chairs in Germany, Italy, and Peru (15 August 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg participated in several preparatory meetings ahead of the Joint UNESCO/Futures Literacy-OECD/NEA/IDKM Capacity Building on Futures Literacy Training Workshop in Stockholm on 25 September (16 August, 17 August, 6 September, 19 September 2023). 

Cornelius Holtorf co-organized (with J. Schönicke and B. Butler) and chaired a session on “The Mushroom Speaks: An Archaeology of Fungi Entanglements” and presented on “Excavating the Future? Towards a (Field) Archaeology of Growth and Regeneration” at the 29th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists held at Belfast, UK (1 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf met up in Sydney, Australia, with Helen McCracken, Principal Adviser (Delivery) at the Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage, Government of New Zealand, to discuss her recent work leading to the first Long-Term Insights Briefing in which the Ministry fulfilled its statutory duty to enhance public debate on long-term issues and usefully contribute to future decision making, according to the New Zealand Public Service Act 2020 (4 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf met up in Sydney, Australia, with Riin Alatalu,  UNESCO Chair of Cultural Heritage Studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss mutual collaboration in the context of our respective UNESCO Chairs and related to the ICOMOS University Forum initiative (4 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf took part in a Roundtable at the ICOMOS GA2023 in Sydney, Australia, addressing “Aerospace Heritage and Sustainability” (7 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf participated and intervened digitally in the first UNESCO Chairs Forum on Heritage, held as a side event of the Extended 45th Session of the World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the Director of the World Heritage Centre, Lazare Eloundou Assomo, 30 people in the room, and 27 UNESCO Chairs from around the world attending, either physically or digitally (18 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf participated in the international symposium “Multidisciplinary Overview of the Situation in Fukushima“, held at l’Humathèque Condorcet, Paris, France (21 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf met to discuss Culture in the Post-2030 Agenda with Paola Leoncini Bartoli, Director of the Cultural Policies and Development Unit, UNESCO, Paris, France (22 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf participated in the first day of the Meeting on “The Medium and the Message: Challenges and Solutions in Selecting and Preserving Records of Radioactive Waste” by the Expert Group on Archiving for Radioactive Waste Management Activities (EGAR) of the Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD) held at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in Stockholm (26 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf offered comments on a draft concept note on “Climate Actions for Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage” (26 Sept 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf attended an online “Future Wednesday” session, organised by VINNOVA (27 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf contributed to revising the draft of the “Venice Call to Put Culture at the Heart of Climate Action” ahead of COP28 (27 September 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf attended the European Heritage Hub Community of Practice Forum “Reimagining the Anthropocene: Putting Culture and Heritage at the Heart of Climate Action” held as part of the  European Cultural Heritage Summit 2023, broadcast from Venice, Italy (28 September 2023).

Futures Literacy Laboratory

Monday, September 25th, 2023

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg co-organized and co-ran (with C. Kavazanjian, UNESCO, Paris, N. Christophilopoulos, UNESCO Chair on Futures Research, Greece, and M. Packer, OECD/NEA, Paris) the first Futures Literacy Laboratory in collaboration between UNESCO and OECD/NEA.

Picture: Rebecca Tadesse, Head of Radioactive Waste Management and Decommissioning Division at OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, welcomes participants

Dedicated to exploring “The Future of Human Responses to Deep Geological Repositories” a total 17 international participants were present at the Lab which was held at the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) in Stockholm (25 September 2023).

The Lab established the usefulness of the skill of futures literacy in the context of awareness preservation concerning long-term repositories of nuclear waste. Futures literacy encompasses both an awareness of the large significance of present-day assumptions about the future and an understanding of multiple alternative futures lying ahead of the contemporary world.


Heritage Changes

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

Cornelius Holtorf has been organizing (since before the pandemic!) and chaired a Roundtable Dialogue at the ICOMOS Scientific Symposium “Heritage Changes” during the ICOMOS General Assembly 2023 held in Sydney, Australia addressing the question “What does it mean to manage heritage for the future? How will heritage (have to) change”?  (4-8 September 2023).

The organisers of the symposium had framed the theme HERITAGE CHANGES like this:

The GA2023 theme seeks to examine the tumultuous changes taking place in the first years of the 2020s. Climate emergencies, conflict, COVID-19, lockdowns, closed borders, virtual meetings, and the Black Lives Matter movement have profoundly altered the ways in which the world is experienced. What has been the role of heritage in these events? What is changing in the field of heritage and what needs to change? What does heritage change – for example, in civil society, the environment, the economy, and in politics? And, in what ways is heritage a force for change and integral to creating a sustainable future?

During the roundtable we discussed among the panel and with an audience of 150+ how heritage changes and how heritage needs to change, whether or not the future can be decolonised, what the possibility of societal discontinuities and extinction might mean for managing heritage, and whether heritage holds liabilities for achieving sustainable development.

The participants included

  • Cornelius Holtorf (Chair)   UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures, Linnaeus University, Sweden
  • Vanicka Arora   University of Stirling, UK
  • Gabriel Caballero  Focal Point, ICOMOS SDG Working Group
  • Kate Clark   Public Value Consulting, Australia
  • Carolyn Hill  University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand
  • William Megarry   Focal Point, ICOMOS Climate Change & Heritage Working Group



Young people’s thoughts about the future

Friday, August 18th, 2023

Gustav Wollentz from NCK, The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning & Creativity, is conducting a series of interviews with young people in the Araby district in Växjö. The work is part of a research project between Linnaeus University and Växjö Municipality.

On August 18, Anders Högberg presented the project to Växjö Municipality, commenting:

“We are happy that this was received so well by politicians and officials at Växjö Municipality. We would like the result to eventually benefit cultural actors outside of Växjö as an inspiring example”.


The project was planned at Linnaeus University’s Centre for Applied Heritage during the winter of 2021/2022. It will be carried out in 2022 and 2023, and the results will be presented in 2024. Funding is via the municipality of Växjö, under the project management of Anders Högberg at Linnaeus University. Gustav Wollentz, based at NCK, The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning & Creativity, conducts the interviews. The project collaborates with a number of actors in the Araby district.

Read more (in Swedish):


Gustav Wollentz

Gustav Wollentz, UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

Anders Högberg

Anders Högberg,  UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

Taking care of nuclear waste

Friday, July 21st, 2023

Now published and available in open access:

Cornelius Holtorf (2003) Taking care of nuclear waste. In: Toxic Heritage. Legacies, Futures, and Environmental Injustice. Edited By Elizabeth Kryder-Reid and Sarah May (Routledge). 

This visual essay contains impressions and reflections about long-term communication concerning long-term storage of radioactive waste and was inspired by a visit to the nuclear facilities at Olkiluoto, Finland. The site is known from Michael Madsen’s 2010 documentary Into Eternity. The images refer in various ways to selected aspects of climate change, public acceptance, uncertainty, world heritage, and the art of forgetting.

World Heritage for the Anthropocene

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

Now published:

Holtorf, Cornelius (2023) Towards a World Heritage for the Anthropocene. In: N.Shepherd (ed.) Rethinking Heritage in Precarious Times: Coloniality, Climate Change, and Covid-19. Routledge.

The 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention was created to contribute to peace and security in the world. However, contrary to the original intentions, world heritage sites are in practice not considered as the world’s shared heritage but frequently championed by their respective nation-states which focus on distinguishing ‘our’ from ‘their’ heritage and thus reinforce existing divisions. In this chapter, I discuss what could be done to adopt a more people-centred approach to world heritage. One approach is to introduce participative decision-making in the selection process. Another is to adopt new criteria for selecting global world heritage that serve better the interests of humanity and indeed the original intentions of UNESCO with the Convention. I present some concrete suggestions for such criteria and three examples of world heritage that might then be selected.

“Being at Linnaeus University has been a great experience!”

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

INTERVIEW | When the Italian doctoral student Elena Maria Cautis had the opportunity to spend time at a foreign institution, her eyes fell on Linnaeus University. Or more precisely: The Centre for Applied Heritage and the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures. This was exactly in line with her own research on cultural heritage. 

In the spring of 2023, she left the University of Ferrara, where she normally works, and moved to Kalmar to spend three months of exploring heritage research. In addition, she discovered birdwatching and floorball.

What do you think of your time at Linnaeus University?
– Being at Linnaeus University has been a great experience! Besides the importance for my research, it also was a period of reflection for what kind of professional environment I would like to be part of in the future. Everyone was very friendly and attentive to my needs. The facilities at the campus were great, since I was able to work both from the office and the library, which holds relevant works for my research. I’ve also experienced playing “innebandy” (floorball) with colleagues, which was super fun!

– Overall, I think that when I will be looking back years from now, I will identify this period as a turning point for me. As a person and as a professional.

What made you decide for Linnaeus University?
– Within my PhD programme, we are encouraged to spend time at a foreign institution. Given this, I had been looking for some time at the Centre for Applied Heritage at Linnaeus University and at Anders Högberg’s and Cornelius Holtorf ’s work related to heritage futures. After some Zoom meetings with them, I understood that this environment would be a great opportunity for me to explore more in depth the idea of heritage as resource.

– The key components that transpired in the various research projects taking place, were enthusiasm and curiosity towards looking at heritage differently. This is precisely the kind of environment I wanted to be in at that stage of my research, since I was feeling a bit stuck and unmotivated. The main motivation for coming to Linnaeus was a perceived feeling of freedom of thought and enthusiasm for exploring what some might consider ”crazy ideas”. I think this is what innovative thinking is all about!

What did you do during your 3 months here?
What I mainly wanted to do was to meet with people and discuss some of the themes of my research. I had the opportunity to do this, within seminars and workshops. I was also able to get a glimpse at futures literacy within workshops by the UNESCO Chair. Aside from these activities, the most important was being in a continuous dialogue with Anders and Cornelius. They offered me all the assistance and motivation that I needed in my research.

What did you think about living in Sweden?
– This was my first time in Sweden, and was nice to see that people are open, friendly and really keen to support you. Kalmar was just lovely, although at the beginning I had a bit of a weather shock! Being there was a great opportunity to also get more in touch with nature. And after countless walks I decided I am forever hooked with birdwatching! The most important though, was that I felt secure. Although I only had a glimpse at how the Swedish society is, and that there might be issues here and there, the glimpse was that it’s a society where you can flourish.

What do you want to do after you have finished your PhD?
– I would like to continue doing research, while also offering consultancy for heritage projects and international bodies in the field. I am not sure exactly where. But I am sure that I would like to work in an environment similar to the one that at Linnaeus University.

Elena Maria Cautis

Elena Maria Cautis

Elena Maria Cautis at Linnaeus University in Kalmar

Various activities April – June 2023

Friday, June 30th, 2023

Gustav Wollentz co-managed and Cornelius Holtorf participated, together with ca 90 others, in the online Foresight Workshop “Insight into the Future” organised by ARCHE, the EU-funded Alliance for Research on Cultural Heritage in Europe (4 April 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg participated in the third meeting of the Expert Group on Awareness Preservation (EGAP) within the project on Information, Data and Knowledge Management (IDKM) at the Nuclear Energy Agency, held at the OECD in Paris, France (17-19 April 2023). They held presentations on “Heritage Processes” and “Futures Literacy” respectively. Cornelius Holtorf undertook among others to prepare for the EGAP Task Force on International Mechanisms a short document on the opportunities for long-term memory provided by the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

Cornelius Holtorf had an informal meeting discussing ongoing priorities and shared interests with Mikael Schultz (Deputy Permanent Representative for UNESCO) and Louise Oscarsson (Attaché for UNESCO) at the Delegation of Sweden to the OECD and to UNESCO in Paris, France (17 April 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf had an informal meeting with Christin Pfeiffer, Head of Futures Literacy and Foresight, at UNESCO, Paris (20 April 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf had an informal meeting with Berta de Sancristobal, Head of Unit, and Stefanie Grüssinger, Junior Professional Officer in the Unit for Europe and North America, at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, Paris (21 April 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf had an informal meeting with Beate Strøm, Directorate for Cultural Heritage of Norway, currently seconded to the Unit for Europe and North America at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, Paris (21 April 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf presented a lecture on “Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention and Cultural Heritage” to the Student Society Linnaeus Kultura at Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden (26 April 2023)

Cornelius Holtorf submitted a response in the Consultation of UNESCO Chairs and Category II Centers on the implementation of the United Nations’ 76/214 Resolution on Culture and Sustainable Development (Reporting period: June 2021 –June 2023) conducted under the aegis of UNESCO in view of the preparation of the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Resolution 76/214 on Culture and Sustainable Development, to be presented at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in September 2023 (5 May 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf attended a webbinar organised by the Swedish Foresight Network on “Where do Imagined Futures come from?” featuring Riel Miller, formerly Head of Foresight and Futures Literacy at UNESCO (8 May 2023). Among other things he said, Riel Miller encouraged the audience to “be good compost” in the future.

Anders Högberg attended a half-day seminar at Malmö Museum on the topic ”Nuclear Cultural Heritage: How are we to remember the Barsebäck nuclear power plant in the future?” (10 May 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf submitted comments on the draft Key Information File (KIF) containing essential information on the spent nuclear fuel repository in Forsmark, Sweden, prepared by Thomas Keating as part of a project at the University of Linköping funded by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) (12 May 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf attended virtually the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Institute for Conservation in Jacksonville, Florida, USA attended by some 900 registered participants. For the conference, he had co-organized (with W. Wei) a General Session on “Preserving the Legacy of Humanity: What Is It That We Want to Preserve?” (19 May 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf assisted Bill Wei in running a Socratic Dialogue on the question “Was würdest Du auch für die Nachhaltigkeit nicht aufgeben wollen. Warum nicht?” at the Conference Angst. Ekel. Scheitern. Ein Symposium zu den blinden Flecken der Nachhaltigkeit, at Oberhafen Hamburg, Germany (25 May 2023).

Anders Högberg presented a research seminar on “Futures Literacy: what it might mean for archaeology and heritage practices” at the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark (26 May 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf and Tomas Nilsson held a conversation on “Storytelling, hope tourism, and future-making after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011” in a research seminar at the Department of Marketing och Tourism Science, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden (7 June 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf presented the annual Alumni Lecture on “Why cultural heritage is about the future (not the past)” for the Masters students in Archaeology and Heritage Studies at the University of Aarhus, Moesgård, Denmark (9 June 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf discussed future collaborations with Adam Gordon, UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Leadership and Futures Capabilities at the University of Aarhus, Aarhus (9 June 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf participated in the 5th virtual UNESCO Chairs Seminar on “Science Benefitting Society: the role of the right to science” featuring not only Keith Holmes, UNITWIN/UNESCO Chair Programme Team at UNESCO and Helle Porsdam, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Rights at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (14 June 2023).

Cornelius Holtorf presented for an audience of almost 50 conference participants on “How can culture and heritage contribute to empowering futures?” at the 23rd Futures Conference 2023 Empowering Futures – Long-term Governance, Democracy and Futures Research, Finland Futures Research Centre and Finland Futures Academy of the University of Turku, Finland (16 June 2023).

Kultur för krig?

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

Jag lyssnade imorse på ett seminarium som genomfördes som del av Kultur i Almedalen 2023. Det handlade om “En stark kultur är ryggraden i ett lands försvar och krisberedskap”. De medverkande var Gunvor Kronman (VD, Hanaholmen), Stefan Wallin (tidigare kulturminister och försvarsminister i Finland), Mikael Brännvall (VD, Svensk Scenkonst) och Gunnar Ardelius (generalsekreterare, Sveriges Museer).

Det var mycket samförstånd bland alla medverkande att kultur, kulturarv, konst och humanistisk vetenskap bidrar till samhällets mentala motståndskraft, t.ex. genom byggande av tillit, samhörighet och identitetskänsla, som alla skapar samhällsresiliens och gör kulturen lika viktigt som militären. I kontrast till Finland, påpekades att Sverige har inte kommit lika långt att integrera kultursektorn i beredskapsplanerna och totalförsvaret. Det krävdes t.o.m. att kultursektorn bör få medel från alla nya storsatsningar på försvaret!

Det som var riktigt skrämmande var inte bara en fullständig brist på mångfald av åsikter i panelen men även att

  • komma ihåg att samhörighet i Sverige är splittrat och har stora brister så länge det saknas en verklig samhällsintegration — det pratas mycket om klaner och parallella samhälsstrukturer, och det är bara ett år sedan ‘påskkravallarna’ mellan Svenska muslimer och polisen,
  • ingen ens nämnde rollen av kultur i fredsskapande och konfliktlösning,
  • kulturens huvuduppgift i fall av krig kan vara att främja globala perspektiv och humanistiska värden, att bekämpa fördomar mot andra samhällen och samhällsgrupper, och att skapa fred!
  • man var medveten om kulturens betydelse i opinionsbildning och propaganda men inte hur det egna arbete verkar främja krig snarare än fred.

Kultur i Almedalen tar Sverige ett steg närmare till krig och det är mycket allvarligt tycker jag. Humaniora och kultur bör motstå nu den typen retorik!

Zeit Raum Reise

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

Cornelius Holtorf presented an invited keynote lecture on “Time Travel as Archaeological Practice” for a Workshop on Zeit. Raum. Reise. Frühgeschichte als Erlebnis organised by Museumsakademie Universalmuseum Joanneum (Graz, Austria) in collaboration with Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Archäologie, in Herne, Germany (19 June 2023). 

Holtorf also participated in an associated workshop on speculative design entitled “Aus der Zukunft lernen: Einblick in die Welt von morgen durch Design, Fiktion und reverse Archäologie” run by Ceren Topcu-Weigand. 

One of the results of the workshop was to demonstrate the potential of time travelling as a unique form of understanding other times, combining the potential for bodily engagements, using the senses and emotions, with the need to work creatively with future scenarios. Time travels today do not only employ physical role play but can also make use of advanced digital technology.