Chair on Heritage Futures

Workshop: Inclusion and diversity in the heritage field – developing participatory approaches for the future


Monday 26 September Anders Högberg was involved in arranging a workshop in Kalmar. At a well visited event (c. 25 persons) with students from Archaeology and Heritage Studies and also Leila Papoli-Yazdi and Emily Hanscam from the Heritage Futures chair in the audience, aspects of ´Inclusion and diversity in the heritage field’ was discussed. Sarah May presented on ‘Heritage, negotiating change, negotiating power’ and Cornelius Holtorf presented on the theme ‘From diversity to variation: human identity reconsidered’.

The intellectual set-up for the workshop was this:

Top-down initiatives aimed at promoting social inclusion within the Scandinavian heritage field have created dominant narratives of community cohesion, by drawing upon notions of unity presented as pre-existing. Essentialistic ideas of ‘rooted’ cultures, linked to shared histories and places of origin, provide individuals and groups with a sense of continuity and belonging. Embedded with assumptions concerned with nostalgia and consensus, such concepts work to construct and divide society into assumed homogeneous collectives. Efforts over the last two decades to extend the span of how cultural heritage is typified to recognize diversity, have not in themselves challenged inbuilt power relations, traditional narratives or the processes by which heritage is defined and given meaning. Recent strategies of minority inclusion involve an increased emphasis on the recognition and valorization of alternatives ‘from below’. Central is the notion that official heritage institutions and practitioners should act less like experts with authenticating authority, and instead adopt roles of facilitators and enablers. In this workshop we investigate how we can further develop such approaches.

The workshop was initiated and organised by Kaja Hannedatter Sontum from The Future Past: Bridging Public Administration, Academia and Schools, a research and dissemination project within HEI: Heritage Experience Initiative at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo, Gustav Wollentz from The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity in Östersund, Sweden, and Anna S. Beck from the project The Timeline. Applied Archaeology in Køge Nord at Museum Southeast Denmark, together with Anders Högberg at the Department of Cultural Sciences and the UNESCO Chair of Heritage Futures, Linnaeus University. The event was hosted by The Centre for Applied Heritage, Linnaeus University.

Gustav Wollentz, Anders Högberg, Sarah May and Kaja Hannedatter Sontum.

Various activities July – September 2022


Cornelius Holtorf was invited to present in a Plenary on Wars, Conflicts, Crises, and Archaeologies at the World Archaeological Congress 9 in Prague, Czech Republic, on the question “How can world archaeological heritage contribute to a better future for all?” (5 July 2022).

During the World Archaeological Congress 9 in Prague, Czech Republic, Cornelius Holtorf had meetings about future collaborations with Professor Valentina Figueroa Larre, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile, Professor Peter Stone, UNESCO Chair in Cultural Property Protection and Peace at Newcastle University, UK, and Dr Isber Sabrine, Director of the international NGO Heritage for Peace based in Girona, Spain (4-8 July 2022).

Cornelius Holtorf was interviewed by Anne Bergmans of the University of Antwerp, Belgium, in the context of the research project “Include” commissioned by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority on including (local) stakeholder participation in its regulatory mission (18 August 2022).

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg co-organised and co-chaired a session entitled “Archaeology as the Study of the Future” and co-presented two papers on “Archaeology and Cultural Heritage as Future-Making Practices in the Context of Climate Change (1)” and “…(2)” at the 28th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists held at Budapest, Hungary (1 September 2022). The session was attended by ca. 40 colleagues and filled its room.

Cornelius Holtorf co-organised and co-chaired a roundtable  on “Telling Stories about Impacts of Academic Research in Archaeology in Society: Wider Lessons from the UK Research Excellence Framework Experience” at the 28th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists held at Budapest, Hungary (2 September 2022).

Cornelius Holtorf attended a roundtable organized by the EAA Community for Climate Change and Heritage (CCH) held at the 28th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists held at Budapest, Hungary (3 September 2022).

Anders Högberg gave a lecture on heritage futures and futures literacy for the incoming PhD students in the PhD programme on Global Humanities at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Linnaeus University (9 September 2022).

Cornelius Holtorf spoke on the occasion of a Memorial Symposium celebrating the work and life of Professor David Lowenthal on the topic “The past – what’s new?” More than 30 colleagues attended at the event held at the Royal Geographical Society in London, UK (16 September 2022)

Cornelius Holtorf took part in his first meeting as member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum — Leibniz-Research Institute for Archaeology, Mainz (22-24 September 2022).

50 Years UNESCO World Heritage


Wars, pandemics, artificial intelligence, a swiftly unfolding climate crisis… The world is changing rapidly, and human communities must adapt to many challenges. In this situation, world heritage presents something of a twofold paradox: when the world needs global solidarity and collaboration, world heritage sites serve as cultural totems of the different nation states, which themselves can be in conflict. As we anticipate and adapt to change, world heritage looks backward, encouraging us to conserve what was before. Fifty years after the establishment of Unesco’s World Heritage Convention, it is time to look ahead – literally.

Continue reading (open access):

To adapt to a changing world, heritage conservation needs to look toward the future published in The Conversation on 20 September 2022.