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UNESCO Chair in Heritage Futures

UNESCO chairs are partnerships between UNESCO and Universities in many countries to bring academic research to bear on key policy concerns.
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Led by Professor Cornelius Holtorf at Linnaeus University in Sweden The UNESCO Chair in Heritage Futures brings together researchers from around the world to investigate how heritage practice creates futures, and to improve futures literacy in the global heritage community. Dr Sarah May, Swansea University, is an affiliated researcher.

The Chair’s research is broad – from nuclear waste, to repatriation and garbology – but it all contributes to these questions:

  • Which future or futures do we preserve the heritage for?
  • Which heritage will help future generations solve important challenges?
  • How can we develop futures thinking (and futures literacy) among heritage professionals worldwide?

The Chair is affiliated with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and with the UNESCO Global Futures Literacy Network. There is also a collaboration with The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA) in the context of long-term knowledge management relating to nuclear waste disposal.

Sarah’s work for the chair has looked at how children are used as part of heritage futures discourse and how they experience heritage practice. Her work on toxic heritage also contributes to the chair. She is particularly interested in how ideas, narratives and practice from one domain, such as nuclear waste management, can contribute to another, such as cultural heritage policy.

The book “Cultural Heritage and the Future”, 2021, is an outcome of the research group’s work.

Project lead: Cornelius Holtorf. Project members: Anders Högberg, Annalisa Bolin, Emily Hanscam, Sarah May, Leila Papoli-Y, Claudio Pescatore and Helena Rydén

Project duration: 2017-2025

Contact Sarah May:

Follow the Project on Twitter: @UnescoChairLNU