Chair on Heritage Futures

Söderström’s research reviewed in Germany


The Licentiate thesis of our research student Ulrika Söderström has been reviewed in Germany, reflecting the international significance of her work at the interface of sustainable development and contract archaeology.

“Ulrika Söderström untersucht in ihrer auf Englisch verfassten, sehr interessanten und einsichtsreichen Lizenziatsarbeit die Frage, inwieweit in Schweden die praktische archäologische Denkmalpflege zu einer nachhaltigen Entwicklung im Sinne der diesbezüglichen Zielsetzungen der Vereinten Nationen beiträgt (speziell den das kulturelle Erbe betreffenden Teil in Ziel 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities; United Nations, 2016). Sie kommt, um das vorwegzunehmen, zu dem unangenehmen Ergebnis, dass sie das nur in einem sehr geringen Ausmaß tut, wenn überhaupt.”

Karl, Raimund (2019) Rezension zu U. Söderström (2018) Contract Archaeology and Sustainable Development. Between Policy and Practice. Växjö. LNU Press. Archäologische Informationen 42.

Culture on the Agenda


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


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


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


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


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?