Chair on Heritage Futures

Swedish UNESCO Chairs meet


Cornelius Holtorf participated in a national network meeting of Swedish UNESCO Chairs held at the National Commission for UNESCO in Stockholm (29 Nov 2022).

Five UNESCO Chairs in Sweden

Among the participants were four other UNESCO Chairs, the Chair and the General-Secretary as well as key staff of the National Commission for UNESCO. We presented our current work for each other and discussed future collaboration nationally, in the Nordic countries, with the Swedish and Nordic delegations to UNESCO in Paris, and globally.

International Archaeology & Digital Humanities workshop in Kalmar


Emily Hanscam recently organised an international workshop in Kalmar, as part of her project Digital Excavations which is funded by the LNU Digital Transformations Knowledge Environment. Participants from the UK and the Netherlands joined Emily, Alisa Lincke and Ahmed Taiye Mohammed from LNU to discuss approaches to applying the digital humanities to the study of archaeological thought. Digital Excavations is a pilot study investigating the persistent problem with continued nationalist discourse appearing in narratives about the past, looking in the first instance at how archaeological discourse developed and evolved over decades by analysing the corpus of Antiquity, one of the oldest peer reviewed archaeology journals.


UNESCO Chair Symposium


On 24 November, Anders Högberg, Professor of Archaeology and member of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures, represented our Chair in a Global Symposium arranged by Ted Fuller at the UNESCO Chair on Responsible Foresight for Sustainable Development at University of Lincoln. The symposium was arranged ahead of UNESCO World Futures Day 2022.

Presentations were made by researchers from all over the world, dealing with aspects on social entrepreneurship, sustainability and futures literacy. It was interesting to see researchers from various academic disciplines can coming together to discuss future related topics.

Anders Högberg

Anders Högberg, Professor of Archaeology UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

Remembering the Past in the Future


Cornelius Holtorf attended the conference “Remembering the Past in the Future” arranged by the Expert Group on Awareness Preservation of the Nuclear Energy Agency at the OECD at the Tabloo Visitor Centre in Dessel, Belgium (22-24 November 2022).

He organised and chaired a session on “Conceptualising Remembrance Across Generations” which was attended by an audience of more than 60. His own paper was entitled “History or heritage? Understanding cultural processes over time”. Anders Högberg participated virtually in the session and presented on “Futures literacy – Why it matters to transmit information on high-level radioactive waste to future generations.” The session ended in a lively discussion on what exactly the message might be that the present needs to send to the future in relation to long-term memory of final repositories of nuclear waste.

COP 27 on loss and damage


The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) held in November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, featured among many other events a session entitled “Losing the Irreplaceable: Loss & Damage, Culture & Heritage” which was arranged as part of the Resilience Hub on 17 November 2022.

This session, which Cornelius Holtorf attended digitally, was about cultural dimensions of loss and damage as a result of climate change. It asked: How does one grieve from the loss of the irreplaceable? What is the price of cultural extinction? Does loss mean the same thing in every culture?

In this perspective, heritage represents something irreplaceable that needs to be saved from loss and protected from damage.

But another way of looking at some of these issues is by asking: can heritage help us to increase resilience and adapt culture and heritage to changing natural conditions? What heritage is being created as a result of climate change? How can we enhance wellbeing of future generations despite major transformations we anticipate? 

As Hannah Fluck of the National Trust in the UK explained, one innovative strategy forward is focussing on “adaptive release”.

First Nordic UNESCO Chair meeting


Cornelius Holtorf participated on 17 November 2022 in the first Nordic UNESCO Chair meeting with 11 chairholders from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Among the themes we are jointly interested in are sustainability, rights, and education/training – all engaging with some grand challenges for global societies and/or the planet.

We agreed to have more collaboration in the future and look for ways to meet up physically. Maybe we could find resources that will allow us to document and discuss the value of our work for society, UNESCO, our national UNESCO Commissions, and our universities…

EU´s heritage work and policies


Anders Högberg participated at “Höstmötet”, an annual conference arranged by the Swedish National Heritage Board https://www.raa.se/evenemang-och-upplevelser/hostmotet/program/

Anders was invited to present and discuss at a workshop on EU´s heritage work and policies and how it can change to accommodate new knowledge and actions needed for future social sustainability.

Anders Högberg

Anders Högberg, Professor of Archaeology, UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

Review by Sergiu Musteata

Professor Dr. Sergiu Musteata, History and Geography Faculty, “Ion Creanga” State University, Chișinău, Moldova reviewed our book Cultural Heritage and the Future (Holtorf and Högberg 2021) in the Romanian journal Plural 10 (1), 2022, 177-181. Contact address for the author: sergiu_musteata@yahoo.com

Here are some excerpts machine-translated into English:

“The introductory part, the coordinators of the volume note that the research of the future and its relationship with cultural heritage is quite a field again and started to be addressed only a few years ago. The need for one such research comes from the circumstances to which the world is exposed today – rapid changes in all spheres of life, uncertain future, etc. … The collection of studies is practical the fruit of the effort of an international team for ten years that comes with an authentic, innovative and critical approach to a topic that deserves much attention greater, both from academic and political circles. …

“In conclusion, we highlight the fact that practically all authors noted that inheritance culture and the future are closely linked and that it should be a priority for the academic environment, for young people and for all those who are active in the fields of museography, cultural heritage, archaeology, anthropology, architecture, conservation, restoration, sociology, history, geography, etc. The present volume contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between the future and cultural heritage, which is an under-researched area. Because, cultural heritage and cultural heritage management must occupy a distinct place in the construction of a sustainable future. … Although the volume does not cover all aspects of cultural heritage and its relationship with the future, I am sure that this work will contribute to a better and wider research on the role of cultural heritage in building strategies and processes of the future. That is why I recommend this collection of studies not only to experts in the fields of cultural heritage, but also politicians and other professional categories who are concerned with the future of humanity. Because only through one approach visionary and interdisciplinary we can achieve the expected results, he anticipates certain risks, increase the confidence and security of the citizen, plan and build a sustainable future based on cultural heritage.”

The full review is available here.

Progress Report 09/2021-08/2022


A new report covers the fifth year of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University. Among the highlights of the year were several global initiatives to which our Chair could contribute with a distinctive perspective on heritage futures. The Chair’s membership of the Climate Heritage Network provides an important context for some of this work.

Among others, Cornelius Holtorf has been advising a Pilot Foresight Study of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). As foresight and cultural heritage are now more frequently being discussed it is of great importance that we can explain clearly the significance of heritage futures – which is what the team behind the Chair has been working with in a new animation.

Animation: What are Heritage Futures and why do they matter?

Animation: What are Heritage Futures and why do they matter?
The basic idea is explained for everybody in this animation. Understand why futures thinking matters for cultural heritage management (2 min, English with subtitles, 2022). Available on the Chair’s YouTube channel: ‘Heritage Futures’ youtube.com/@HeritageFutures

Please get in touch if you have any comments or suggestions!

View the Report (issuu)
Download the Report

Team of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

Team of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

The Future of Cultural Objects


Cornelius Holtorf contributed to a course in challenge-based learning near Trento, Italy (8 November 2022). The course was organised by the The European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) where learners, teachers and researchers cooperate with society and businesses to solve real-life challenges. The challenge was put together by Francesca Odella of the University of Trento and focused on the future of cultural objects.

My presentation was held at the Trentino Folklife Museum in San Michele all’ Adige and entitled “Heritage Futures: how culture and heritage must change for the future”. Some students joint via link.