Posts Tagged ‘UNESCO’

Swedish UNESCO Chairs meet

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

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.

Responding to the climate emergency

Saturday, October 1st, 2022

I have been attending the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development MONDIACULT 2022 in Mexico-City (28-30 September 2022). My University made a story out of it!

My formal role was an invited statement in the session “Responding to the climate emergency: new imperatives for cultural policy”, organised by the Climate Heritage Network. The session attracted an audience of more than 60 participants in the room (plus an unknown number of digital listeners) and it was very well received.

In my short contribution, I emphasized the significance of culture for mitigating the climate crisis and for preparing for a different world in the future. I also noted what I called the Climate Heritage Paradox:

  1. Heritage promotes continuity when we in fact need change.
  2. Heritage is framed in a local/national context when in fact we need global and multilateral collaboration.

(Similar issues are now also discussed in a White Paper on “The role of cultural and natural heritage for climate action” which resulted from the  International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change co-arranged by IPCC, UNESCO, and ICOMOS in December 2021.)

I concluded with two action items. Capacity building is necessary …

  • for the cultural sector generally: integrate foresight and long-term futures thinking throughout the sector (as also recommended in the UN Secretary General’s 2021 report on Our Common Agenda)
  • for the cultural heritage sector and education in heritage: (a) embrace more often change (or cultural diversity over time), not as much continuity and conservation, as well as (b) strengthen global thinking in the field.

50 Years UNESCO World Heritage

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

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.

Sweden’s intangible cultural heritage

Friday, August 26th, 2022

The Nordic Clinker Boat Traditions is Sweden’s only listed UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. Nordic clinker boats are small, open, wooden boats between five and ten metres long.

In connection with the Unika historical Kalmar County project, and on invitation of Västervik Museum, Cornelius Holtorf, Leila Papoli-Yazdi, and Emily Hanscam joined up with Kalmar County Museum’s Maja Heuer to talk to Veronica Palm and Olof Nimhed of Västervik Museum about visions of future development linked to the intangible maritime heritage of Nordic clinker boat building.

We were talking, among other topics, about people-centred aspirations connected with local communities, global sustainable development, and uses of heritage, advancing peace, trust and wellbeing among humans. Political desires to increase Gross National Product (GNP) have begun to be superseded by strategies to enhance Gross National Happiness (GNH). But what might that mean in the context of Västervik, the museum, and boat-building?


Climate Culture Peace

Monday, January 24th, 2022

I am participating this week in a conference entitled Climate.Culture.Peace, organised by ICCROM with support of the British Council, among others. Registrations for the conference were completed by 1441 people from 113 countries.

The inaugural session on 24 January, Culture for a Liveable Future, featured contributions by 

  • Webber Ndoro, Director-General, ICCROM
  • Simon Kofe, Minister for Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu
  • Princess Dana Firas, UNESCO Goodwill-Ambassador for Cultural Heritage and President, Petra National Trust, Jordan
  • Ernesto Ottone, Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO
  • Alexandra Xanthaki, United Nations Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights
  • Tim Badman, Head of Heritage, Culture, Youth, IUCN

In the following session, “What are the Links between Climate, Culture and Peace?”, David Harvey pointed out, intriguingly, that conflict can also be quite ‘sexy’ heritage and that we need to explore ‘pacific’ heritage instead.

My own contribution will be on Wednesday, 26 January, is part of a session on Culture, Climate and Drivers of Conflict, and entitled “Risks for peace due to promotion of heritage.”

Historic cities and the future

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf was invited to contribute to an Experts Round Table as part of the World Heritage City Lab – Historic Cities, Climate Change, Water, and Energy convened by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands in the context of the 10th Anniversary of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) (16-17 December 2021).

In his contribution on 16 December, addressing approx. 90 global participants, he argued for the significance of futures literacy in making strategic decisions on the historic urban landscape, keeping in mind changing social, cultural and economic processes and values, as emphasised in the HUL Recommendations with its strong people-centred approach.

Preparing for UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development (Mondiacult) 2022 in Mexico

Monday, December 13th, 2021
  • Preparing The UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development (Mondiacult) will be held in Mexico from September 28-30, 2022
  • Online Consultation on the 13 December 2021 (Cornelius Holtorf, Professor of Archaeology and holder of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University on the Strengthening synergies between culture and
    education for human-centred development and sustainabilityMore information:

The Nordic Ministers of Culture approved the following Declaration:

Meeting with UNESCO, ICOMOS, IPCC on culture and climate change

Monday, December 6th, 2021

Cornelius Holtorf, UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures

6-10 December 2021, Cornelius Holtorf Professor of Archaeology and holder of the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University, will participate in a unique meeting between United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). The idea is to strengthen synergies between culture and climate change science.

The meeting will bring together over one hundred experts from 45 countries across all regions and will bring research, expertise, and insights from wide disciplines. The meeting aims to establish a scientific merit to integrate cultural dimensions in climate action through three key areas: (1) vulnerability and understanding risks, (2) intangible cultural heritage, diverse knowledge systems and climate change, and (3) the role of cultural and natural heritage for climate action. The meeting will also include public-facing events, details of which can be found on the project website.

This meeting is an opportunity to showcase the significance of culture in relation to climate change. The way in which cultural heritage is discussed in relation to climate change has become much more sophisticated and relevant, no longer mainly about heritage ending up under rising water levels, says Cornelius Holtorf. This is a result of a dedicated effort by many people and initiatives.

Culture shapes how people make sense and therefore act in the world. Often, what people consider important in their lives is connected to cultural patterns derived from the past – their cultural heritage. Culture and cultural heritage are the key to assist present and future generations in adapting to changing circumstances, together.

More about the Chair:

UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures is a member of the Climate Heritage Network.

More information about the meeting 6-10 December 2021:

“Heritage And Our Sustainable Future”

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

I am attending this week and next the digital conference “Heritage And Our Sustainable Future: Research, Practice, Policy and Impact“, organised by the UNESCO Commission for the UK and attended by an audience or more than 300 people from around the world. Ernesto Ottone (Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO) contributed with an introductory note.

In a discussion on heritage in relation to disaster response and resilience, Joe King (ICCROM) agreed with my call for more ethnographic research on what heritage actually does in societies by suggesting that we need to build capacity among heritage managers to learn that heritage conservation is not always part of the solution in conflict situations but can also be part of the problem.

Similarly, Charlotte Andrews from Bermuda suggested that maybe the community could be asked what they want to be restored and what not, as there could be benefits from some destruction too, which we saw recently in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Futures Literacy Summit

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

During the past week, Cornelius Holtorf attended the digital Futures Literacy Summit, organised by UNESCO (8-12 December 2020). Among the highlights for him were six events in particular:

  1. An encounter with The Museum of Future History, directed by experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats. Among the projects of the museum is a biodegradable time capsule intended to express perceptions of the future and to decompose before that future arrives (see the template provided here).
  2. An extended conversation he had with Jerome Glenn, Co-founder and CEO of The Millennium Project, and Elizabeth Florescu and Mara Di Berardo, two other representatives of the same project, about heritage futures, nuclear waste and other global challenges, world heritage and the role of culture in the world.
  3. A recorded lecture and open discussion with futurist Peter Bishop on how to prepare students for the future.
  4. An exploration of the informative OECD Strategic Foresight Unit, featuring among others a policy response document on COVID-19 and the cultural and creative sectors
  5. A statement by Gabriela Ramos, Assistent Director General for Social & Human Sciences at UNESCO, in which she expressed that “[b]eing futures literate alters how we see ourselves and our role in the world. We gain confidence in our ability to be agile and embrace transformation. …  The way we ‘build’ the world around us changes. Now is the time to embrace a different, more open and diverse, more democratic approach to ‘using-the-future’. It is time for all of us to become more futures literate.”
  6. A statement by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in which he emphasised that “Futures Literacy enhances our ability to sense, and make sense of, our ever-changing world. It helps us to prepare for an uncertain future …” He also said that he was looking forward “to the contributions that Futures Literacy will make as we strive to build a peaceful, prosperous world for all on a healthy planet.”