IoA Heritage Section Newsletter #69 – September 2020

Welcome to the Heritage Section Newsletter for September 2020. Part of the IoA Heritage Section blog!

This month’s contents:

Calls for Papers/Sessions

Please feel free to contribute to future newsletters with information on events, calls for papers/posters/sessions, funding and employment opportunities, research updates or anything you think might be of interest.

Please also let us know if you have any comments on the content, format or style of this newsletter, or if you have technical problems viewing it on phones etc.


New Book: 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 (560 pages, 188 colour illustrations).

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. Heritage Futures draws on research undertaken over four years by an interdisciplinary, international team of 16 researchers and more than 25 partner organisations across a dozen countries to explore the role of heritage and heritage-like practices in building future worlds.

Engaging broad themes such as diversity, transformation, profusion and uncertainty, Heritage Futures aims to understand how a range of conservation and preservation practices across a number of countries assemble and resource different kinds of futures, and the possibilities that emerge from such collaborative research for alternative approaches to heritage in the Anthropocene. Case studies include the cryopreservation of endangered DNA in frozen zoos, nuclear waste management, seed biobanking, landscape rewilding, social history collecting, space messaging, endangered language documentation, built and natural heritage management, domestic keeping and discarding practices, and world heritage site management.

An outcome of the c.£2M UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded Heritage Futures research programme, the fully open access monograph is available now for download on the UCL Press website

The book is also available to purchase in hard and paperback from UCL Press and University of Chicago Press

New Book: Deterritorializing the Future: Heritage in, of and after the Anthropocene

Edited by Rodney Harrison and Colin Sterling
Published by Open Humanities Press

Understanding how pasts resource presents is a fundamental first step towards building alternative futures in the Anthropocene. This collection brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to explore concepts of care, vulnerability, time, extinction, loss and inheritance across more-than-human worlds, connecting contemporary developments in the posthumanities with the field of critical heritage studies. Drawing on contributions from archaeology, anthropology, critical heritage studies, gender studies, geography, histories of science, media studies, philosophy, and science and technology studies, the book aims to place concepts of heritage at the centre of discussions of the Anthropocene and its associated climate and extinction crises – not as a nostalgic longing for how things were, but as a means of expanding collective imaginations and thinking critically and speculatively about the future and its alternatives.

Contributors include Christina Fredengren, Cecilia Åsberg, Anna Bohlin, Adrian Van Allen, Esther Breithoff, Rodney Harrison, Colin Sterling, Joanna Zylinska, Denis Byrne, J. Kelechi Ugwuanyi, Caitlin DeSilvey, Anatolijs Venovcevs, Anna Storm and Claire Colebrook.

The book is available for free download in open access from Open Humanities Press at and is published as part of their Critical Climate Change book series. It is also available in hard copy from OHP and other book sellers.

Visit the online exhibition of the The Museum of Beyond

This is a unique opportunity to experience exceptional objects from the future of the Anthropocene, sent back to our present in this landmark temporary exhibition event. The curators are Dean Sully, Cecilie Gravesen- active members of the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies- and Ariel Li & Katherine Beckwith.

From the rare archaeological remains of a 21st Century Lottery ticket to the deep time future of an Anthropocene epoch stratotype specimen, the insouciant objects in the exhibition reveal the fossilisation of human agency on a planetary scale. Traces of sedimentation in the geological specimens bear silent witness to a future that has already happened as a consequence of the missed opportunities of our present actions. Fossil carbon usage, radiation markers and anthroglomerates are evident in some of the striking displays. Along with these are remarkable Pre-Apocalypse technology fragments, digital landscape reconstructions, and never-before displayed cast body parts.
Developed in collaboration with (ex-humanus) curators from The Museum of Beyond, the exhibition provides a powerfully certain future perspective on our uncertain present.
Visit the exhibition online.

Visit the exhibition
Read about Dean Sully
Read about Cecilie Gravesen


Heritage and Repatriation Panel Discussion

Organiser: Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas
11 am – 1 pm, Wednesday 21 October, 2020
Location: Online
Tickets: Free (register here) 

The issue of repatriation and restitution concerns us all in a time of decolonising knowledge. In recent years, calls to repatriate artifacts acquired in the colonial era to their places/communities of origination have become stronger, accompanied by arguments to decolonise understandings of heritage and culture from Eurocentric connotations and efforts to move to more community- and agent-oriented ways of telling histories in museums. In this panel, our experts explore some of these heated debates with reference to their research in art and archaeology, the changing context of museums and the participation of local and global communities.


  • Angelica Baschiera – SOAS University of London, Moderator
  • Dr Romina Istratii – SOAS University of London
  • Christian Luczanits – SOAS University of London
  • Dawa Lhokyitsang – UC Boulder Himalayan Studies

This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas which will kick off a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

More information about the speakers and the SOAS Festival of Ideas can be found here.

Cultural heritage and recent armed conflicts

Organiser: Royal Irish Academy
Date/Time: 7 – 8.30pm, Thursday 29 October, 2020
Location: Online
Tickets: free (register here)

The current ongoing human suffering that is taking place in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq but also with events in North Africa and parts of Asia, is occurring within multiple different contexts; social, historical, political, economic, cultural and religious. This Academy Discourse affords a new perspective on these issues.

Besides targeting human lives, conflicts have a profound impact on human values, cultures and religions. Increasingly, conflicts target symbols of culture to destroy identities and lead to the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage—but this damage can also be accidental. Looking back at the events that have marked the past 30 years, it is clear that the international community must continue to find mechanisms to improve response to these emergencies. UNESCO was created in 1945 in the wake of the Second World War to foster a new spirit of collaboration between nations. The preamble to its Constitution reads ‘Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.’  When the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) was initially created in 1956, it was in this same spirit of international collaboration, to provide assistance to those nations facing the challenges of restoring and preserving the tangible symbols of their culture after the war.

Dr Bouchenaki will update his previous (cancelled) Discourse in 2016 with reference to events which have taken place in Middle and North Africa in 2018 and 2019. Dr Bouchenaki will speak in particular about the recent mission he undertook in June 2018 in Mosul, Iraq and the various meetings he attended during 2018 and 2019 regarding the situation in Yemen where his last mission dates from June 2014.

Further information about the event can be found here.

Arike Oke on The Civic Archivist

Organiser: LSE Library 
6.30-8pm, Thursday 12 November, 2020
Location: Online
Tickets: Free (register here)

What responsibility do archivists have to documenting contemporary actions, or to activating their collections as tools for social justice?

Arike Oke (Director, Black Cultural Archives) asks do archives have a social purpose? British society today is increasingly divided, and divided along line of identity. History demonstrates that dangerous and revolutionary action can occur at these moments of deep identity based division.

How should archivists respond? What responsibility do archivists have to documenting contemporary actions, or to activating their collections as tools for social justice?

Arike Oke is Director of the Black Cultural Archives, the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain. Arike is a standing board member of the National Archives’ programme to transform the UK archives sector, Unlocking Archives, is a BAFTA Heritage Board member, and previously had an integral role in redeveloping Wellcome Collection’s approach to archives.

Technology and Heritage Sites promoting Climate Action

Organiser: ICOMOS-UK
Date/Time: 7-8pm, Tuesday 6 October, 2020
Location: Online
Tickets: Donation (register here)

Join us to explore how iconic heritage sites can be utilised to stress urgency about climate change and raise global ambition to respond.

Recent years have seen a robust response from the cultural heritage sector to the threat of climate change. From developing sectoral adaptation plans for heritage assets to ensuring built structures are carbon efficient, the sector has a unique role to play in the climate emergency.

The complex intersections between heritage and climate change were recently explored in detail by the ICOMOS Working Group on Climate Change and Heritage. Their report – Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action – was released by ICOMOS at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan in July 2019.

Jane Downes and Will Megarry will be presenting at this event as the lead authors of this report: this ICOMOS-UK talk will explore how iconic heritage sites can be utilised to stress urgency about climate change and raise global ambition to respond.

The event will provide an overview of the Future of our Pasts report, followed by an introduction of the Heritage on the Edge project, which was launched in January 2020 and was a collaboration between the Working Group, CyArk and Google Arts and Culture to explore the issue of climate change from the perspective of five world heritage sites. Specifically, the issues and successes of the project will be discussed in detail with relation to the Rapa Nui (Easter island) case study. The presentation will then explore the reach and impact of the project six months after its launch.

Further information about the event, including speaker bios, can be found here.

FIHRM 10th Anniversary Conference: Power and Voices: Echoes of Empires

Organiser: Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM)
Date/Time: 14-16 October, 2020
Location: Online
Tickets: Free (register here)

This year’s conference will mark the 10th anniversary since FIHRM’s foundation at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool in 2010. Through a series of live panels, Power and Voices: Echoes of Empires brings together an international cohort of speakers and organisations to focus on the dynamic between ‘power and voices’ in museums. The free sessions will cover a range of topics, but will each be driven by the following questions:

  • Who holds the power when we share stories?
  • Whose voice is absent, silenced or forgotten?
  • How do museums promote equality and human rights?

This year’s conference will mark the 10th anniversary since FIHRM’s foundation at the International Slavery Museum in 2010. FIHRM is underpinned with the understanding that all types of museums, regardless of size or resources, share similar challenges in dealing with these difficult, often politically loaded, controversial subjects.

We live in a world where we are experiencing worsening levels of discrimination, legacies of colonial rule continue to undermine people’s basic rights and there is growing urgency about the consequences of climate change. Museums are increasingly activist and determinedly not neutral. There is growing consensus among museums that their role in society must be active, not passive.

The ethos underpinning FIHRM is that all types of museums, regardless of size or resources, share similar challenges in dealing with these difficult, politically-loaded, and controversial subjects. Since FIHRM’s foundation in 2010, one of its fundamental principles has been the importance of international dialogue and the capacity to address and promote human rights issues collectively. Ten years on this resonates more than ever. We believe it’s time for museums to step up to the plate.

We wish to look at the concept of voice in its broadest sense – considering diversity and inclusion of voices in our narratives and relationships, as well as the creative interpretations of voices in addressing difficult issues.

Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool said: “Hosting the 10th anniversary of FIHRM is really important to National Museums Liverpool. Now more than ever museums have a role and responsibility to be active, not passive, and we welcome the opportunity to hear from an international collective of speakers and contributors who share these values.

“From Black Lives Matter to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 to specific groups and communities, it is a critical time to address the realities of inequality and discrimination. Through international dialogue, cooperation and understanding, Power and Voices seeks to give voice to the stories that have been unheard or unseen for too long.”

Further information on the conference programme, and booking for individual panels can be found here.

Calls for Papers

Teaching through objects: engaging students with material culture in university and public settings

Location: Online workshop
Conference dates: 26-27 November 2020
CFP Deadline: 5pm, 12 October 2020

“historical objects … are a powerful form of evidence, and a ‘provocation to thought’ … as complex, deceptive, partial and multi-layered as textual tools.”
(Leonnie Hannan and Sarah Longair, History Through Material Culture)

Objects present uniquely compelling and complex tools for teaching and research. This two-day workshop aims to strengthen our use of material culture in teaching by exploring object-centred teaching and learning practices. Material culture embodies a multitude of potential narratives, and offers students opportunities to think about their discipline(s) in new ways. This event will bring together a range of perspectives to consider how those leading directed teaching sessions can support this process.

This event is organised by doctoral researchers whose work crosses university and museum departments, and is designed to help bridge a gap in the guidance and resources given to most early career academic tutors. Between the training that universities provide on teaching and that heritage organisations offer on object handling, little attention is paid to employing material culture in teaching. This workshop therefore offers participants space to share and discuss the particular issues involved when students are learning from historic artefacts. Whilst this event focuses on university-based teaching contexts, we embrace insights gained from related fields, including museums and galleries.

This online workshop is directed primarily at fellow postgraduate researchers who hold (or are interested in obtaining) teaching positions, although we are interested in the role of material culture in learning more broadly. We will be joined by experienced practitioners including Jim Harris (Andrew W. Mellon Teaching Curator at the Ashmolean Museum) and Marenka Odlum-Thompson (Research Associate on the Labelling Matters project at the Pitt Rivers Museum). Through a blend of papers, practical sessions and roundtable discussions, we will collectively explore the benefits and challenges of teaching with objects.

We invite proposals for 15 minute papers or practical sessions. Themes and questions to explore may include (but are not limited to):
● Why teach with objects?
● Your experience of teaching with objects in university contexts
● Approaches to interpreting objects in the museum, archive, university and community
● Collections historically designed for teaching purposes
● Breaking boundaries: cross-disciplinary approaches to teaching using objects
● Creativity and well-being: using objects as a springboard for ‘soft skills’
● Breaking boundaries: cross-disciplinary approaches to teaching using objects (natural history/archaeology/anthropology/art/science collections etc.)
● Students’ experiences of object handling and site visits
● Challenges and controversies: identifying and navigating ethical issues
● Using material culture outside the classroom: artefacts in popular culture and the news
● Teaching with material culture during the COVID-19 crisis

Abstracts (max. 250 words) for papers or practical sessions should be sent, along with a short biography, to by 5 pm on 12th October 2020.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss a proposal in advance of submission, please contact the workshop organisers on the same email address.

Contact Info:
Organisers: Nicola Froggatt, Rosanna Evans, Mary McMahon, Susan Newell
Contact email:

Event supported by the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership consortium


UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies Small Grants Scheme is now open

Deadline: 10 November 2020

The aim of this internal call is to encourage proposals that develop new cross-disciplinary collaborations to conduct research on critical heritage studies.

  • Awards of up to £2,000 are available
  • Projects can be up to 4 months in duration
  • We will accept proposals for projects in any cross-disciplinary area that contribute to research and debate on critical heritage studies
  • We can fund activities between 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021.
  • Applications must be led by UCL Academic, Research and Teaching staff, postdoctoral staff, Honorary Associates and PhD students, from any UCL Faculty.
  • Deadline for applications is 10 November 2020 (midnight).
  • Full details application can be found here.

For further information, please contact the Centre’s administrator at

The Fair Museum Jobs Careers Summit 2020

Fair Museum Jobs (FMJ) is delighted to announce a week-long, free online heritage careers event in partnership with Group for Education in Museums (GEM) with support from Art Fund.

This ground-breaking programme will sit at the intersection of a museum conference and a careers advice event, empowering the current and potential workforce to regain agency and confidence during a complex period of change, and supporting the sector to make ethical, sustainable improvements to recruitment and employment practices.

The events will take place across the week of Monday 23 November, completely online and completely free.

Attendee booking for events will open in early November.

The sessions over the week will be in 4 strands:

  • What types of jobs exist in museums/heritage?
    • Panels about the varied areas of museum work.
  • Managing your career
    • Sessions to empower people at all stages – from pre-first job to management and leadership – to think about themselves, their careers and future options.
  • Real Talk
    • Events focused on real, practical tips and workshops to navigate working life and improve working practice.
  • Supporting the sector
    • A strand focussing on where anyone in the sector can find help and support both formally and informally.

GEM will be contributing to sessions across the strands to ensure that the importance of learning roles is highlighted across the board.

Call for participants

We are now looking for expressions of interest to participate in sessions. With the support of the Art Fund, we are pleased to be able to pay honorariums to participants for their contributions to ensure that no-one is disadvantaged by taking part and that their labour is valued. Preference for these will be for those not supported by their organisation to take part.

We are looking for:

  • Panellists from a variety of museum roles to discuss their jobs and career paths
  • People to share their experiences of:
    • Varied entry routes into the sector
    • Dealing with difficult workplace situations
    • Volunteering
    • Changing careers into or out of the sector
    • Being, or working with, Trustees
  • Good practice that can be shared in a practical way in areas of recruitment, workplace support, jobs, accessibility
  • Sector support organisations who want to share what they do with a wide audience

See more about the topics we would like to cover here:

You can find the online form for expressions of interest here:

We will use the submitted information to build the programme. If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see, contact us via Twitter or email

To ensure that we are involving a wide, and representative, view of the sector, we are collecting some diversity and representation data about gender, social class, race, geographical area, length of time in the sector, area of work, and others.

Please note that not every expression of interest will be successful but we will be sure to clearly explain why we haven’t been able to take you up on the interest.


  • Expressions of interest open: Friday 25 September
  • Expressions of interest close: Friday 16 October
  • Participants notified: by Friday 30 October
  • Programme Announced and Booking Opens: Monday 9 November
  • Summit takes place: week starting Monday 23 November

Please contact with any queries.

More information about the event, and Fair Museum Jobs here.

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