Posts Tagged ‘memory’

Kärnavfallsfrågan i media

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

Idag tar den Svenska regeringen beslutet om slutförvar för kärnavfall.

I det sammanhanget blev Cornelius Holtorf flera gånger de senaste dagarna intervjuat om långtidsminne av slutförvaret och kärnavfall. Anders Högberg intervjuades i Svenska Dagbladet.

Radio P4 Kalmar (27 jan 22): Så ska man kommunicera med svenskarna 100 000 år i framtiden

Radio P1 Studio Ett (26 jan 22): Hur ska slutförvaringen kommuniceras till eftervärlden?

TT 24 & 29 jan 22: Minibladet, Norrländska Socialdemokraten, Södermanlands Nyheter, Mariestads-Tidningen (2 feb 2022), Ny Teknik, Nya Wermlands-Tidningen, Nerikes Allehanda, Katrineholms Kuriren, Motala & Vadstena Tidning, Enköpings-Posten (31 jan 22), Aftonbladet, Dagens Näringsliv, E55, Helsingborgs Dagblad Premium, MSN, Sydsvenskan Premium, Göteborgs-Posten, Norran, Piteå-Tidningen, Vestmanlands Läs Tidning, Barometern (29 jan 22), Gefle Dagblad (27 jan 22), Västerbottens kuriren, Folkbladet Västerbotten (26 jan 22), Sydsvenska dagbladet (25 & 29 jan 22), Skånska dagbladet (24 jan 22), Nyheter 24 (24 & 29 jan 22). Hur pratar vi kärnavfall med framtiden?

Svenska Dagbladet (29 jan 22): Frågan om slutförvaret: Ska framtiden varnas?

Upsala Nya Tidning (3 feb 22)

Sveriges radio (5 Feb 2022), Juniornyheterna Special: Hur pratar man med framtiden?

Radiation Safety Authority follows

Monday, November 15th, 2021

In the new report “Redovisning av regeringsuppdrag om metoder för säkerställande av information och kunskap över lång tid för slutförvaret för kärnbränsle” (SSM rapport 2021:24), the Swedish Nuclear Safety Authority has been documenting known methods for achieving long-term memory in relation to nuclear waste repositories.


The report makes reference to the key literature and documentation in the field globally, while also discussing the specific situation in Sweden. We have long been in touch with the two authors Carl-Henrik Pettersson and Annika Bratt, and so it is not surprising that the work of Linnaeus University on this topic, both in Sweden and internationally, is mentioned on several occasions. This includes in particular a short separate discussion of the 2019 workshop Information and Memory for Future Decision-Making – Radioactive Waste and Beyond run by the Swedish Nuclear Waste Council in Stockholm and the VINNOVA project on Memory Across Generations it led to. There is also a short discussion of our research project Ett hundra tusen år bakom och framåt i tiden – arkeologi möter kärnbränsleförvaring supported by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co back in 2012-2015.

We are still very involved in these issues, at the moment mostly as part of an expert group at the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency.

Lessons from heritage for nuclear waste disposal sites

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf presented a paper by him together with Anders Högberg at the Interdisciplinary research symposium on the safety of nuclear disposal practices: Technical and Social Approaches to Managing the Hazardous Legacy of Nuclear Power Generation (10-12 Nov 2021) arranged by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management in Germany (BASE).

The paper was entitled “Lessons from archaeology and heritage studies for the long-term preservation of records, knowledge and memory concerning deep geological disposal sites for nuclear waste” and its abstract is available as part of the conference proceedings at https://sand.copernicus.org/articles/1/287/2021/.

Understanding future recipients of our messages

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

The first regular meeting of the Expert Group on Awareness Preservation, which is part of the Working Party on Information, Data and Knowledge Management at the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency, took place 7-8 April 2021.

Its Chair, Martin Kunze, emphasised that the group will continue the previous work of the NEA on Records, Knowledge and Memory but shift the emphasis from designing and transmitting messages on nuclear waste deposits to understanding its future recipients. 

Both Cornelius Holtorf and Anders Högberg contributed with presentations. Cornelius outlined a necessary shift of thinking from preserving objects to anticipating social processes and embracing change, based on current thinking in Heritage Studies. Anders introduced related ideas about futures consciousness and futures literacy, emphasising the need to avoid imposing our own ideas onto the future and to try and accommodate decisions made in future presents.

Dossier on Nuclear Energy in Die Presse

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf was interviewed by Konradin Schuchter about long-term memory regarding nuclear waste disposal sites for an article published as part of a Dossier on Nuclear Energy in the Austrian daily national newspaper Die Presse (9 March 2021).

Another interview partner was our collaborator Martin Kunze of the Memory of Mankind initiative.

Schuchter wrote, among others:

Der Archäologe Cornelius Holtorf von der schwedischen Linné-Universität ist der Meinung, dass es unmöglich ist, vernünftig vorauszusagen, welche Bedeutung unser atomares Erbe für zukünftige Generationen haben wird. Holtorf verfolgt die Debatte rund um die Atommüll-Endlagerung schon seit einiger Zeit und ist auch in unterschiedlichen Expertengremien zu dem Thema vertreten. Er betont, dass die Bedeutung nicht im radioaktiven Material selbst liege, sondern, dass sich diese immer erst durch den interpretativen Rahmen des Rezipienten konstituiere.

The need to remember COVID-19

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Neuroscientist and futurist Anders Sandberg has published an interesting argument about our moral duty to remember the lesson of COVID-19 for the benefit of future generations:

The Covid-19 pandemic … is a wake-up call. … [H]istorically we have adapted to trauma rather well. Maybe too well – we have a moral reason to ensure that we do not forget the harsh lessons we are learning now. 

What kind of lessons do we need to learn? The basic ones are what strategies work and do not work, whether in epidemiological strategy, social life or how to handle the experience personally. 

According to Sandberg, part of the solution may be the construction of monumental memorials:

In the end, we better build some hard-to-ignore monuments to the people who died or performed heroically, to shore up our collective memory. Li Wenliang may be a good symbolic martyr to remember (especially the key lesson about openness being necessary for a rapid response).

It is to a large degree a real moral choice whether Covid-19 becomes a warning shot that teaches us useful things for the time when a truly dangerous pathogen emerges (or is made) or just a massive distraction that is soon conveniently forgotten… until it is too late. Given the stakes, it matters to remember well.

But what does it matter “to remember well”, I would ask? No detailed message remains understandable and meaningful across generations, unless it is regularly being updated and translated into a new context.

The best message to transmit to the future may therefore be a meta-message:

  1. Keep the experts on essential issues!
  2. Listen to them!
  3. Vote for politicians who put human wellbeing first! 

I wonder who may be the right martyr to be memorialised for that message to be carried forward…