Chair on Heritage Futures

Lessons from Heritage Futures for nuclear waste management


Cornelius Holtorf presented a talk entitled “Lessons for the Preservation of Records, Knowledge and Memory (RK&M) from Heritage Futures” at a Workshop on Information, Data and Knowledge Management of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) attended by some 70 international specialists at the OECD, Paris (23 January 2019).

He suggested, among others, to explore two issues deriving from a perspective interpreting nuclear waste as cultural heritage:

  1. How do we manage futures that in significant ways differ from the present and cannot be sufficiently predicted or controlled by us? What does it mean to allow for construction, change and renewal in the context of RK&M?
  2. How do we manage future controversies among stakeholders as an asset for RK&M? What does it take to retain or regain relevance as a result of conflicts related to radioactive waste management?

He also recommended for the Working Group on the Preservation of RK&M across Generations at the Nuclear Energy Agency to keep reaching out, both intellectually and in society: broad collaborations addressing cross-sectoral challenges benefit everybody and attract broad support, not the least in the context of the global Agenda 2030.

Even Claudio Pescatore attended the Paris Workshop.

Thinking and planning the future in heritage management


The Call is out for ICOMOS members (in particular emerging professionals) to participate in our planned meeting on “Thinking and planning the future in heritage management”, Amsterdam, 11-14 June 2019.

How do we perceive the future? Which future do heritage professionals work for? What heritage will be needed in the future (and how do we know)? How can we build capacity in future thinking among heritage professionals worldwide?

Radioactive waste and beyond


Information and Memory for Future Decision Making

Claudio Pescatore, affiliated researcher at Linnaeus University and associated with our UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures, completed a vision and discussion document on preserving information and memory over centuries and millennia in the context of sustainable development and the future human environment, available here.

The document will provide a basis for discussion at a workshop to be held in Stockholm, 21-23 May 2019, on understanding and improving practices for preserving information and memory of projects that may entail long-term legacies for land use and the future human environment. Pescatore’s document will help starting a broad-based reflection in Sweden and elsewhere on how to aid future generations maintain or regain awareness of some of the most relevant environmental legacies that they will inherit – notably nuclear waste. 

Stephen Stead’s vision for the future


Stephen Stead of the University of Southampton in the UK believes that archaeological data may be useful to the future and has been inspired by our work.

Here is a short clip about his vision for the future, offering a motivation for current practitioners to engage in a process of thinking about integrating access to existing archaeological documentation into a strategy for engaging with the future.

Now in open access: An Archaeology of the Future


My paper (in German) published last September in Switzerland is now available in open access here.

Holtorf C. (2018) “Was hat Archäologie mit mir zu tun? Eine Archäologie der Zukunft.” Archäologie Schweiz 41 (3), 24-29.

Welche Rolle spielt das Kulturerbe in unserer Gesellschaft und wie kann Archäologie zur Bewältigung aktueller und künftiger gesellschaftlicher Herausforderungen beitragen? Wie muss sie sich verändern, um zukunftsfähig und gesellschaftlich relevant zu bleiben?