Chair on Heritage Futures

Post-Corona Archaeology: Creating a New Normal?


Cornelius Holtorf presented a keynote lecture on “Post-Corona Archaeology: Creating a New Normal?” at the Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Virtual 26th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists on 25 August 2020. In front of an audience of several hundred archaeologists from Europe and around the world he proposed three lessons:

  1. Let’s take the future seriously and do our best to ensure that archaeology actually contributes to sustainable development that will benefit future generations in concrete ways.
  2. Let’s go beyond the notion of cultural diversity and focus on what people shared and indeed share, promoting trust, solidarity and collaboration between human beings on this planet.
  3. Let’s realise more often the value of culture, cultural heritage and archaeological practice to be inclusive and bring people together, promoting peace among humans both in society and between societies.

The lecture is now available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i1t-FzCvuY (starts at 48:30)

Prefiguration and World Heritage


Now published in free open access:

Forum Kritische Archäologie Vol. 9, 2020
Streitraum: Heritage Futures

  • Cornelius Holtorf
    Heritage Futures, Prefiguration and World Heritage
  • Trinidad Rico
    Heritage Time, the Next Zeitgeist. A Response to Cornelius Holtorf’s “Heritage Futures, Prefiguration and World Heritage”
  • Hilmar Schäfer
    The Consecration of World Heritage Sites – Practice and Critique
  • Lewis Borck
    Seeds to Trees: Connecting the Means and Ends in Heritage Management. A Reply to Holtorf

The battle for the future


Reading Jenny Andersson and Erik Westholm’s 2019 book Slaget om Framtiden (The Battle for the Future), it is striking that they argue that collaboration in future studies with partners in society is a liability rather than an asset. 

Andersson and Westholm claim that specific economic, industrial or political interests of partners in society create conflicts of interest which make it impossible to conduct free research and reach independent conclusions.

Here is a film where they present their research (in Swedish): https://www.iffs.se/kalendarium/iffs-play/slaget-om-framtiden-om-forskningen-och-konflikten-mellan-tillvaxt-och-miljo/

However in my experience it is precisely the other way around to what Andersson and Westholm claim. From collaboration with non-academic partners I have learned a lot on how to think various futures, how to approach and address them, and not the least what practical challenges there are to be considered. This has made our research conclusions not only more applicable and relevant in society but also academically stronger in their content.