Call for Papers: Unsustainable Heritage?

Thursday 23 November 2017

Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference


Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

1-6 September 2018


Session co-organisers: Rodney Harrison (UCL) and Caitlin DeSilvey (Exeter)

Unsustainable Heritage?

Session abstract: Sustainability in heritage management is commonly associated with the ideal of endurance and the continuation of a given practice or object. But what has often been ignored is not only the creative potential of breakdown, discontinuity and destruction, but also the ironic fact that endurance of value and continuity of significance may be best achieved by the ability to accommodate change and adapt to new circumstances. While discourses of environmental sustainability have embraced the productive potential of disruption, heritage practices, for the most part, remain focused on the aim to protect and perpetuate. Innovative perspectives on change and adaptation can arise when different heritage domains are brought into relation, and practices are exchanged across established professional and institutional borders.  In this session we invite papers that explore new territory, and that propose alternative frameworks for understanding heritage as a dynamic, future-oriented force for (material and cultural) change.

List of confirmed speakers and paper titles:

Beyond sustainability: destruction as construction, Trinidad Rico (Rutgers)

What not to collect? Assembling new futures for sustainable collecting, Jennie Morgan (York) and Sharon MacDonald (Humboldt)

Building (more or less) diverse futures: thinking with and through biological, cultural and linguistic diversity in comparative perspective, Rodney Harrison (UCL) and Sefryn Penrose (UCL)

Continuity through transformation: transitional landscapes and memory practices, Nadia Bartolini (Exeter) and Caitlin DeSilvey (Exeter)

Enduring change: managing the uncertainties of cultural heritage, nuclear waste, space messages and long-term storage, Sarah May (UCL) and Cornelius Holtorf (Linnaeus)

Beyond place: Evolving heritage concepts in a sustainable built environment, Erica Avrami (Columbia University)

If you are interested in participating in the session please contact Rodney Harrison with a title and abstract in the first instance. Please note that abstracts and paper titles must be sent to conference organisers at with cc to by 30th November 2017.

Submissions should be made in the following format. (Please note that abstracts which do not follow the format will be rejected):


*Email address

*Place of employment / study

*A brief resume (biographical notice and main publications or achievements) of no more than 300 words

*Type of proposal: Paper / Poster (Papers are standard 20-minutes papers; Posters will be presented through 4×8 (max.) boards that will be on display for two days during the conference. Poster sessions will then be scheduled according to 5-minute presentations per poster.)

*The relevant session (please indicate the number  and title of the session in this case session 089) or relevant theme of the conference (please indicate the number  and title of the theme )

*Title of your paper/poster

*An abstract of no more than 500 words.

Abstracts should present the topic or main argument and demonstrate scientific quality through references to a theoretical framework, a methodology or by outlining the contribution to knowledge.

Deadline: 30 November 2017