4th Heritage Forum of Central Europe: open lectures

2017-06-01 - 2017-06-02

The aim of the fourth edition of the Heritage Forum of Central Europe 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. 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!

June 1 (Thursday), 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Heritage Traces, Differences and Futures 
Plenary lecture by Sharon Macdonald (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Moderator: Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik

In what ways does heritage reflect social changes, especially social diversification, and in what ways can it be drawn on to help create more convivial social futures? How far does contentious and problematic heritage shape contemporary and future social possibilities? This presentation will show how these questions are being addressed in three research projects in which she is currently involved: (1) Traces: Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritage with the Arts (the EU); (2) Making Differences: Transforming Museums and Heritage in the 21st Century (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation); (3) Heritage Futures (Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK).

June 1 (Thursday), 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
The Changing of the Guard: a Heritage Perspective through Time 
Plenary lecture by John Tunbridge (Carleton University, Ottawa) 
Moderator: Jacek Purchla

This presentation traces the development of the heritage concept in the context of society, through the lens of fifty years of personal engagement with it. From this personal perspective, three stages are suggested in the emergence of heritage studies: the Cold War era of sociopolitically divided perceptions, the post-Cold War global convergences and the 21st century’s equivocal proliferation of heritages. These are considered, in turn, from the perspective of career experience, in a quest to chart a coherent path in heritage studies through a record of progress but also through a series of emerging problems. Now the guard is changing from the “pioneer” generation to a multidisciplinary proliferation of younger scholars who must chart the course of heritage studies through some possibly stormy seas ahead. The paper discusses some of the challenges, social as well as conceptual, which may confront rising heritage scholars as they navigate the future of heritage.

June 2 (Friday), 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Ghosts of the Past? Remapping Europe’s Competing Memories in the Age of Crisis 
Plenary lecture by Rob van der Laarse (University of Amsterdam) 
Moderator: Robert Kusek

The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Polish Oświęcim, 27 January 2015, was by far the most contested remembrance after the ending of the Cold War because of the absence of Vladimir Putin, the head of the state whose Red Army had liberated the camp in 1945. How could the Holocaust paradigm have become so bluntly used, abused, and misused? Auschwitz and other former Nazi camps define the common ground of Western civilisation. Yet, as he will argue, the assumption of the Holocaust as a common European experience, and hence as a basic part of Europe’s post-war identity, raises critical objections. It is challenged by a deep incompatibility of opinions about Nazi victims, competed by a post-communist occupation paradigm, and increasingly hijacked by ethnic nationalists. We need to critically access Europe’s cultural biography in terms of the relationship of heritage and society as well as with regard to our own biased frameworks, facing the rise of cultural essentialism, identity politics, and border fetishism in the current age of crisis.

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