01.06.2017-02.06.2017

4th Heritage Forum of Central Europe: Heritage and Society

The Heritage Forum of Central Europe is a cyclical, biennial event organised by the International Cultural Centre in Kraków. It is an interdisciplinary platform for meetings and the discussion of the relations between the past and the present informed by the broad understanding of heritage as “meaningful pasts that should be remembered” (Sharon Macdonald). The aim of the fourth edition to be held on 1-2 June 2017 is to discuss and analyse a reciprocity between heritage and society, as well as their mutual engagement. What is society’s attitude to heritage – its meaningful but often difficult past? How does heritage shape communities? Who owns heritage and why? What are the social functions of heritage? What do we want to remember and what do we often forget? These are just some of the questions that the 4th Heritage Forum of Central Europe wishes to address.

The links between society and heritage have long been identified as central to the debate on human inheritance, both tangible and intangible. Brian Graham, Gregory Ashworth, and John Tunbridge claim, for example, that today the concept of heritage depends on “almost any sort of intergenerational exchange or relationship, welcome or not, between societies as well as individuals”. It is people who, they further argue, are “the creators of heritage”.

Consequently, in heritage studies of the last decade or so a growing tendency has been discernible to think of heritage predominantly in terms of identity. This process appears to be particularly relevant to Central Europe and its experience, both unique and universal: of shifting borders, migrations and forced resettlements, of war and the Holocaust. These events prompted the development of a new, original stance on heritage, as well as the recognition of new categories of heritage, such as stateless heritage, dissonant heritage and the heritage of atrocity.

In order to investigate the cultural, political, and economic impacts of heritage on contemporary society, the International Cultural Centre invited professionals from a variety of fields (e.g. art and architecture, history and literature, economy and sociology, politics and management) to participate in the conference.

To our call for papers, we have received over 150 proposals, 80 of which have been selected for presentation at the Forum. The issues addressed at the Forum will include: dissonant heritage, memory spaces, cultural landscape, heritage and new media, the social impact of heritage, tourism and sustainable development, local heritage, and intangible heritage. Papers will be presented at four parallel thematic sections: Constructed Memory, Social Challenges and Heritage Protection, Dissonant Heritage, as well as Heritage and Communities.

Plenary lectures will be delivered by internationally acclaimed scholars: Professor Sharon Macdonald, Professor Robert van der Laarse, and Professor John Tunbridge. Free admission to all three plenary lectures!

Additionally, the conference participants will have an opportunity to attend parallel lectures delivered by Tamás Fejérdy, Sophia Labadi, Jakub Muchowski and Aleksandra Szczepan, Andrzej Ossowski, Ioannis Poulios, Hanna Schreiber, Pavel Vařeka, Magdalena Vášáryová.

Download conference programme here. The conference will be held in English (without interpreting).

The registration is closed.

The Heritage Forum of Central Europe is a biennial international conference where specialists from Central Europe, as well as researchers and experts on the region from all over the world, discuss the issues of cultural heritage. The Kraków conference is the voice of Central Europe on the philosophy, management, protection, economics, politics and social issues of cultural heritage. The Forum is organised under the auspices of the V4 Cultural Heritage Experts’ Working Group, comprising the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, The Prime Minister’s Office Hungary, the Monuments Board of the Slovak Republic and the International Cultural Centre in Kraków.

So far the following editions of the Heritage Forum of Central Europe have been organised:

“Heritage and Central Europe” 7-9 July 2011

“The Limits of Heritage” 11-14 June 2013

“Heritage and the City” 16-18 September 2015


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