Research results

Histories of the Future

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

For a number of years I had been wondering why my historian colleagues did not seem to care very much about ever applying their many skills to making sense of the future as much as of the past. Both past and future are after all directly linked in the present.

Now a very nice looking book on Historical Understanding – Past, Present, and Future has been published that breaks new ground into exactly that direction. And I am very glad I could contribute with an essay on “Periodization of the future” …

Playful theorising

Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Cornelius Holtorf and Emily Hanscam attended the Nordic TAG conference in Oslo where they ran a practical workshop entitled “ARCHAEOLOGY TODAY (IN COLOUR)”. The abstract explained that…

Participants in the workshop will enjoy their coffee while busying themselves in small groups around several tables using crayons to draw in a colouring book (Archaeology Today, C. Holtorf and D. Lindskog 2021). The aim of the workshop is to inspire discussion on some archaeological key issues and on the forms in which such thinking may be expressed and practiced in various archaeological formats. We will find out what happens when adults adopt what is (supposedly) a children’s’ activity: will it bring out the child in each of us or will participants long for more adult genres? What does that entail in the context of academic discourse, fieldwork reports, and for the future of theoretical archaeology? We will ask us together what’s the use of theory when you can go and paint in a book (and vice versa). [shortened and slightly edited]

In the event, we found that the practice of colouring was a thinking device and conversation opener. All participants felt that archaeologists need to make archaeological theorising more playful and more commonly break rules and conventions in the name of creativity…

White Paper published

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Collaboration between the two Joint Programming Initiatives “Cultural Heritage and Global Change” (JPI CH), and “Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe” (JPI Climate) 2019-2022 has now led to a White Paper on Cultural Heritage and Climate Change: New Challenges and Perspectives for Research. Cornelius Holtorf was among the 26 authors.

The goal of the White Paper is to support the two JPIs to generate policy-relevant research outcomes. Thanks to our input, the 31 page-document emphasizes explicitly the significance of ‘heritage futures’ for informing future research agendas:

Among the White Paper’s recommendations for research are…

  • to generate more knowledge on how, in different contexts, cultural meanings and values can enhance climate adaptation and mitigation,
  • to understand better the future risks and opportunities of different perceptions and uses of cultural heritage, not the least for planning climate adaptation,
  • to make sure that more training is available for stakeholders and decision-makers regarding feasible solutions for climate adaptation, including effective methods to evaluate benefits and harm of conservation actions,
  • to investigate threats and opportunities of reducing, renewing, reconstructing, and regenerating cultural heritage for enhancing social cohesion.


Heritage for the future

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Under the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Foundation for Heritage Science organised the symposium ‘Heritage for the Future, Science for Heritage: A European Adventure for Research and Innovation’. The hybrid event was accessible physically in Paris as well as digitally (15-16 March 2022).

Claudio Pescatore participated physically and will soon report about his impressions on this blog.

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg participated digitally. They also had a short paper accepted entitled “Why cultural heritage needs foresight“. In that paper, they argue that the cultural heritage sector, including Heritage Science, needs to address an inherent lack of capability in futures thinking by enhancing foresight and ‘futures literacy’. The sector ought to take seriously the consequences of the insight that the uses and values of cultural heritage in future societies will be different from those in the present and in the past. Foresight and futures literacy will allow the cultural heritage sector to respond to climate change and other global developments, risks and challenges anticipated by futurists


Thursday, February 24th, 2022

I ett spännande samarbete mellan Unescoprofessuren vid Linnéuniversitetet och Kalmar läns museum utvecklades för några år sedan en koncept för framtidsresor.

Här är en ny podcast som berättar om de senaste framgånger av den idén!

Fortsättning följer…

Kärnavfallsfrågan i media

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

Idag tar den Svenska regeringen beslutet om slutförvar för kärnavfall.

I det sammanhanget blev Cornelius Holtorf flera gånger de senaste dagarna intervjuat om långtidsminne av slutförvaret och kärnavfall. Anders Högberg intervjuades i Svenska Dagbladet.

Radio P4 Kalmar (27 jan 22): Så ska man kommunicera med svenskarna 100 000 år i framtiden

Radio P1 Studio Ett (26 jan 22): Hur ska slutförvaringen kommuniceras till eftervärlden?

TT 24 & 29 jan 22: Minibladet, Norrländska Socialdemokraten, Södermanlands Nyheter, Mariestads-Tidningen (2 feb 2022), Ny Teknik, Nya Wermlands-Tidningen, Nerikes Allehanda, Katrineholms Kuriren, Motala & Vadstena Tidning, Enköpings-Posten (31 jan 22), Aftonbladet, Dagens Näringsliv, E55, Helsingborgs Dagblad Premium, MSN, Sydsvenskan Premium, Göteborgs-Posten, Norran, Piteå-Tidningen, Vestmanlands Läs Tidning, Barometern (29 jan 22), Gefle Dagblad (27 jan 22), Västerbottens kuriren, Folkbladet Västerbotten (26 jan 22), Sydsvenska dagbladet (25 & 29 jan 22), Skånska dagbladet (24 jan 22), Nyheter 24 (24 & 29 jan 22). Hur pratar vi kärnavfall med framtiden?

Svenska Dagbladet (29 jan 22): Frågan om slutförvaret: Ska framtiden varnas?

Upsala Nya Tidning (3 feb 22)

Sveriges radio (5 Feb 2022), Juniornyheterna Special: Hur pratar man med framtiden?

University and Museum collaborating

Friday, January 21st, 2022

Ulrika Söderström wrote a report assessing the status quo and prospects of collaboration between Kalmar County Museum and Linnaeus University.

Both organisations have collaborated intensively for many years, encompassing teaching, research and research education. The Museum is the largest partner in the Industrial Research School GRASCA of which Söderström herself is a member and which is led by UNESCO Chairholder Cornelius Holtorf. Söderström investigates in her research how cultural heritage and archaeology can be applied in theory and practice to contribute to sustainable urban development. She is affiliated with the Chair too.

Written in Swedish, the report is now available here.

Heritage Beyond Quarantine

Saturday, January 15th, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has to some extent been normalised by now. To a large extent, we have gotten used to it all. Now the time for thorough reflection starts, trying to figure out what actually happened.

Here are my thoughts on “Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Beyond Quarantine: Reflections from Sweden on Covid-19 and Its Consequences,” published by my colleagues in Brazil:

During the years of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021 thus far), nobody could remain in any real quarantine. The humans of the world were reminded daily of the global progress (or otherwise) of one virus, several vaccines, and numerous health systems. As always, archaeology could not escape its present. The following are my reflections on some issues I had on my mind during the time of the ‘corona crisis’. They reflect my perspective as an archaeologist working on heritage futures who normally travels a lot throughout Europe and beyond, but now remained put in Sweden, working a lot from home and, curiously, attending even more international meetings than before, albeit virtual ones.

Holtorf, Cornelius (2022) Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Beyond Quarantine: Reflections from Sweden on Covid-19 and Its Consequences. Revista de Arqueologia 35(1), 53-68.


Framtidsmedvetande inom kulturarvssektorn

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Gustav Wollentz (NCK) diskuterar frågan “Hur kan vi öka framtidsmedvetandet inom kulturarvssektorn?” på EPALE (Europeisk plattform för vuxnas lärande). Hans slutsats:

Det går att konkludera att ett utökat framtidsmedvetande är en kompetens som man kan lära sig, och som sannolikt kommer bli alltmer betydelsefull både specifikt inom kulturarvssektorn och även i samhället i stort. På många vis är det nödvändigt för att faktiskt kunna möta de utmaningar som samhället står inför.

Gustavs forskning genomfördes med stöd av, och i samarbete med Unescoprofessuren om Heritage Futures.

Review of Deep time reckoning

Sunday, June 13th, 2021

My review of Vincent Ialenti’s (2020) Deep time reckoning: how future thinking can help Earth now, MIT Press, has now been published in the journal Time and Mind.
Open access for the first 50 who click here!