Posts Tagged ‘cultural heritage’

All change please!

Wednesday, June 9th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf presented a paper on “All change please: cultural heritage and sustainability,” for a virtual conference on International collaboration in a digital era – Fostering innovative minds for the future as part of the Swedish-Japanese co-project MIRAI 2.0 (9 June 2021). One of the aims of this initiative is to strengthen collaboration between Swedish and Japanese universities.

In his talk for ca 40 attendees, Holtorf emphasised the significance of culture and cultural heritage for sustainability and innovation.  The other contributions in the Sustainability section were from the natural sciences or dealt with policy and technology concerning the natural world. The other sections of the conference were about Ageing, Artificial Intelligence, Materials Science, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

It is time for the humanities (and the field of culture) to enter larger contexts of discussion about important issues!

European Cultural Heritage Green Paper

Monday, March 22nd, 2021

Today, I have been attending the launch webinar of the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper with a high-level panel including Mariya Gabriel (European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth), Teresa Patricio (President of ICOMOS), Hermann Parzinger (President of Europa Nostra), Dace Malbarde (MEP, Vice-Chair of Committee on Culture and Education), Andrew Pots, (Coordinator of the Climate Heritage Network and main author of the Green Paper), and almost 600 attendees. Mariya Gabriel reiterated that culture and heritage are part of “the soul of Europe”.

The paper was initiated because the European Green Deal turned out not to make substantial references to culture or heritage.

My question to the panel was this: 

To what extent is cultural heritage not just an asset for the European Green Deal but might also be a liability? How should cultural heritage policy and management develop to maximise the opportunities and minimise any risks for the future?

This is the sort of question we need to ask as and when we think seriously about heritage futures. Andrew Potts acknowledged the problem in his reply, stating that “culture informs the current unsustainable consumption and production patterns. So culture is a part of the solution and a part of the problem.”

Free review copies available

Saturday, March 13th, 2021

We offer 10 free paperback copies of the following volume for review:

Cultural Heritage and the Future. Edited by Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg. 300 pp. Routledge 2021.

Drawing on case studies from around the world, Cultural Heritage and the Future argues that cultural heritage and the future are intimately linked and that the development of futures thinking should be a priority for academics, students and those working in the wider professional heritage sector.

Click here for more information about the book and the opportunity of open access to the editors’ comprehensive introductory paper on “Cultural heritage as a futuristic field”  (select “preview pdf”).

10 review copies (sent free of charge) are now available to emerging professionals from the Global South (low- and middle-income countries). If in doubt apply and make a case. To qualify for selection send a short text (max 1 page) stating who you are and why you are interested in reading the book.

Reviews should offer a critical assessment rather than mere description, be 500-1,000 words long and submitted within three months of receipt of the book. Manuscripts will be copy edited, may be shortened, and have to comply with normal publishing requirements. We welcome critical reviews and will edit for clarity and length but not for content. Submission of your manuscript implies our (non-exclusive) right of publication on a dedicated webpage created by Linnaeus University including full acknowledgment of your authorship. Access to all reviews will be from here.

–> Send your application to by 16 April 2021.

Light from darkness: Reminding forgotten heritage

Monday, March 1st, 2021

To start a dialogue about the long-term oppression and reminding forgotten heritage of the Baluch community (an ethnic group living mainly in southeastern Iran and Pakistan), I tweeted a thread (in Persian) about a man called Mullah Mohammad Patty Rigi, who we interviewed in 2017. The thread was seen on Twitter 300344 times, was interacted with 104350 times, liked 6991 times (also liked 40740 times on Instagram and seen on Telegram), and was shared by many independent Persian media. Baluch people have been the subject of oppression and discrimination for more than six decades. Years of discrimination have resulted in complicated economic and social issues.

The unrest erupted on 22 February in Saravan city, southeast Iran, after police forces shot local fuel traders who transfer fuel to Pakistan for a very small amount of money. Internet and phone lines are partly cut off, and the news people can spread from the region is strictly limited. Regarding the unrest in Saravan, it is of note that the ethnicity (Baluch) and religion (Sunni) of the protesters have been regarded as a threat by the government for years. In this regard, groups of people, as well as some politicians, media agents, and even opposition figures, started to reproduce labels such as ‘threats to the nation’ and ‘smugglers’ against Baluch protesters on social media.

The difference between the unrest in remote places with the unrest in the big cities is that the authorities have propagated for years against the various ethnicities and communities living in those areas and have labeled them the threats to national security. The long-term propaganda against diversity has deprived the Iranian people of their historical national feeling. According to the notion developed by some thinkers such as Isaiah Berlin, ancient people living in Iran and also in the Arab world cherished an ancient type of integration which can be elucidated under the name of ‘national feeling’. Seemingly, the modern governments, alongside colonialism, ruined the ancient integration by endorsing the nationalistic agenda, which ignores diversity.

Omran Garazhian and I had a project to examine diversity in the Museum of Zahedan(center of Sistan and Baluchestan province)and have met and interviewed local tribal chiefs, intellectuals, and ordinary people while working at the museum. The project was finally stopped by the authorities. Nevertheless, our investigations gave us an opportunity to encounter and study an unknown culture.

I believe that historical, non-nationalist thinking can be invoked in current political debate with the purpose of the liberation of the oppressed. So, I tried to open up a discussion about the forgotten heritage of the Baluch people by reminding Mullah Mohammad Patty Rigi and his services. He was one of the decision-makers on behalf of the Rigi tribe in the mission for reviewing the India-Iran border after the independence of Pakistan. Mullah was ignored by authorities after the 1979 revolution due to his religion (Sunni), ethnicity, and close relations with some agents of the Pahlavi regime (1925-1979). When we met him, he was 96 and lived in a very small room in a marginalized district in Mirjaveh city. His careful work in the mission reminds me of another forgotten heritage, the historical warriors of the same ethnicity who stood against British colonialism.

According to the comments, many people were particularly enthusiastic to know about the process of oblivion and ignorance of the Baluch anti-colonial warriors and tribes. it seems that speaking about the forgotten heritage of oppressed communities might prepare the ground for the rise of more discussions about the governmental nationalist approach and the long-term oppression of cultural diversity in Iran. Besides, there are still many questions: Has the tweet been seen because it mentions the borders of the nation or because it mentions a person who has the potential to be recognized as a national hero? Or, in contrast, was the tweet seen so many times because it revealed a long-term historical ignorance?

Without further dialogues with ordinary people, these questions will be left unanswered.

Photo: Mullah Mohammad Patty Rigi, 2017 (photo by Leila Papoli-Yazdi)
Leila Papoli-Yazdi is a visiting researcher in the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures, Linnaeus University.

Interview with Cornelius Holtorf

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Now available: Britta Rudolff’s interview (27 min) with Cornelius Holtorf on “heritage futures”, recorded as part of Britta’s teaching in the Introduction to Heritage Site Management Masters course at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg (28 January 2021).

Popular academic papers

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

Cornelius Holtorf’s article “Embracing change: how cultural resilience is increased through cultural heritage” has been very popular. Since its publication two years ago it has attracted more than 9,000 viewers on the publisher’s online forum. According to the same site, it is now the third most-read paper in the journal World Archaeology (since start of the statistics in 2011).

The paper No future in archaeological heritage management?, co-authored by Anders Högberg, Cornelius Holtorf, Sarah May and Gustav Wollentz in World Archaeology in 2017, has attracted more than 6,000 viewers and holds place 9 in the same list.

Cultural heritage and the Future – the book is out!

Monday, December 7th, 2020

Now published with Routledge:

Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg (eds) 2021, Cultural Heritage and the Future. London and New York: Routledge. 290 pp. eBook/pbk/hbk

Preview and table of content available here.

Cultural heritage and the future is a field of research and practice that has been developing over the past few years. The present volume was originally devised in 2012, related to a session on the same topic which we co-organized for the First Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The volume contains a wide range of contributions discussing examples from many parts of the world that raise important issues about the interrelations between cultural heritage and the future. Taken as a whole, we believe that the book will contribute significantly to building capacity in futures thinking and futures literacy among researchers and practitioners throughout the heritage sector.

Heritage Futures – the book

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Preservation of natural and cultural heritage is often said to be something that is done for the future, or on behalf of future generations, but the precise relationship of such practices to the future is rarely reflected upon. The volume Heritage Futures draws on research undertaken over four years (2015-2019) by an interdisciplinary, international team of 16 researchers and more than 25 partner organisations to explore the role of heritage and heritage-like practices in building future worlds.

This large and collaborative project (directed by Rodney Harrison) lies behind our UNESCO Chair. The main results are presented in this book, which is available both in print and in free open access.

Heritage Futures. Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices

by Rodney Harrison, Caitlin DeSilvey, Cornelius Holtorf, Sharon Macdonald, Nadia Bartolini, Esther Breithoff, Harald Fredheim, Antony Lyons, Sarah May, Jennie Morgan, and Sefryn Penrose, with contributions by Gustav Wollentz and Anders Högberg.

568 pages, 188 colour illustrations

Open access (pdf) free | 978-1-78735-600-9
Paperback £35.00 | 978-1-78735-601-6
Hardback £50.00 | 978-1-78735-602-3

28 July 2020,