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  • Writer's pictureThe Future is Heritage

Day 2 of the Future is Heritage Summit | Contested Heritage & Heritage and Conflict

Each day we will post a short blog: we will give an update on the events, activities and speakers, and share the experiences of the participants. Stay tuned for the latest updates.

On day two of the Future is Heritage Summit we found ourselves again in the Impact Hub in Prague. Together we dived into two new thematical sessions: contested heritage and heritage & conflict.

Discussion colonial heritage The day started with a fascinating session about contested heritage, presented by Carolina Monteiro, PhD candidate at Leiden University as part of the ERC Project BRASILIAE. The main question: How does African slavery and colonial heritage reflect upon today’s museum practices? Working with heritage also includes working with sensitive topics. How does a heritage professional goes about in addressing such sensitive topics?

New descriptions of old paintings The group was asked to discuss, reflect upon and rename the titles and descriptions of various pieces of colonial heritage. Carolina Monteiro: ‘The objective was to address the problematics behind the names of the paintings’. She emphasizes the act of questioning: ‘I think this is how we should start with every issue in the heritage sector: by questioning’. Various groups were given the assignment to describe old paintings or pieces of colonial heritage. They discussed the issues behind them and the description by which they were presented for the public in museums. The importance of terminology, larger descriptions and the acknowledgement of what we actually see played a large role.

Heritage protection before, during and after a conflict Elisabeth Korinth, Vice President of the German National Committee of the Blue Shield e.V. and UNESCO World Heritage Officer at the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, first explained the cycle of heritage protection and crisis management. She elaborated on the steps in the process of heritage protection including: prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. These actions are divided over three phases: pre-conflict, during the conflict and after the conflict. She emphasized the importance of documentation. Successful rebuilding after a conflict depends on the measures taken before the conflict ever happened, mainly proper documentation.

Ukranian heritage Anastasiia Putilina, heritage practitioner and an engaged Ukrainian citizen, reflected on heritage & conflict in light of the situation in Ukraine, starting with an outline of the history between Ukrainian – Russian relations. By way of several examples – including the theft of Scythian gold and the discrimination of Crimean Tatars – she discussed heritage endangered by the threat of war. She stressed the importance of knowing the history of your country, and knowing your own heritage, when facing conflict.

Consequently, small groups reflected on various examples of war crimes – including the case of Timbuktu in Mali, digital heritage in Ukraine and the Bakhchisaray Palace in Crimea - and opted various measures which could be taken before, during and after the conflict, with an emphasis on the particpation of the local community.

At the end of the day, The Future is Heritage was invited by Europa Nostra to attend the welcome reception at the Residence of the Mayor in Prague.

The Future is Heritage Summit 2022 is organised by FisH in cooperation and with the support of Europa Nostra, ESACH, The CLimate Heritage Network, The Climate Heritage Network Youth Forum, Erfgoed Gelderland, Erfgoed Brabant, Europeana and DutchCulture.


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