Heritage Futures

Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices

Rodney Harrison, Caitlin DeSilvey, Cornelius Holtorf, Sharon Macdonald, Nadia Bartolini, Esther Breithoff, Harald Fredheim, Antony Lyons, Sarah May, Jennie Morgan, and Sefryn Penrose

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ISBN: 9781787356016

Publication: July 01, 2020

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Preservation of natural and cultural heritage is often said to be something that is done for the future, or on behalf of future generations, but the precise relationship of such practices to the future is rarely reflected upon. Heritage Futures draws on research undertaken over four years by an interdisciplinary, international team of 16 researchers and more than 25 partner organisations to explore the role of heritage and heritage-like practices in building future worlds.

Engaging broad themes such as diversity, transformation, profusion and uncertainty, Heritage Futures aims to understand how a range of conservation and preservation practices across a number of countries assemble and resource different kinds of futures, and the possibilities that emerge from such collaborative research for alternative approaches to heritage in the Anthropocene. Case studies include the cryopreservation of endangered DNA in frozen zoos, nuclear waste management, seed biobanking, landscape rewilding, social history collecting, space messaging, endangered language documentation, built and natural heritage management, household keeping and discarding practices, and world heritage site management.

Rodney Harrison is Professor of Heritage Studies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology.

Caitlin DeSilvey is Associate Professor of Cultural Geography at the University of Exeter.

Cornelius Holtorf is Professor of Archaeology and holds a UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures at Linnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden.

Sharon Macdonald is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH) in the Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Nadia Bartolini is a consultant researcher who has worked as postdoctoral research associate on Arts and Humanities Research Council funded research projects based at the University of Exeter and at the Open University.

Esther Breithoff is Lecturer in Contemporary Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London, and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow. She joined the department in 2019 after holding postdoctoral positions at UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Her research spans the fields of Contemporary Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies and has ranged across a number of different topics, including war, natural and cultural heritage, nuclear and petroleum industries, dictatorships and biobanking, but traces a common set of interests in the relationships between conflicts, resources, recycling and rights across the human/non-human divide in the Anthropocene.

Harald Fredheim is a researcher in the field of heritage studies, which he approaches from a background in archaeology, objects conservation and heritage site management.

Antony Lyons is an independent artist-researcher whose creative methods include film, photography, sonic works and intermedia installation.

Sarah May is Senior Lecturer in Public History and Heritage at Swansea University. She has previously worked as Senior Archaeologist for English Heritage and as an independent consultant.

Jennie Morgan is Lecturer in Heritage in the Division of History, Heritage and Politics at the University of Stirling.

Sefryn Penrose is a consultant researcher and archaeologist of the recent past.

Part I Heritage Futures

1. “For ever, for everyone…”

2. Heritage as future making practices

Part II Diversity

3. Conserving Diversity

4. Diverse fields: Ex-situ collecting practices

5. Repositories

6. Banking time: Trading in Futures

7. Proxies

8. Towards the Total Archive


Part III Profusion

10. Too many things to keep for the future?

11. Curating museum profusion

12. Let’s talk!

13. Curating domestic profusion

14. The Human Bower

15. Doomed?

16. Techniques of Worlding

Part IV Uncertainty

17. Uncertain Futures

18. A Shepherd’s Futures

19. Toxic Heritage

20. Micro messaging/Space messaging

21. The One Million Year Time Capsule

22. Uncertainty, Collaboration and Sustainability

23. Transforming Loss

Part V Transformation

24. Living with Transformation

25. Fixing NatureCultures

26. Sensitive Chaos

27. Signifying Transformation

28. Processing Change

Part VI Future Heritages

29. Discussion and Conclusion



'I suspect this book will prove to be a revolutionary addition to the field of heritage studies, flipping the gaze from the past to the future. Heritage Futures reveals the deep uncertainties and precarities that shape both everyday and political life today: accumulation and waste, care and hope, the natural and the toxic. It represents a uniquely impressive intellectual and empirical roadmap for both anticipating and questioning future trajectories, and the strange, unfamiliar places heritage will take us.’

 - Tim Winter, University of Western Australia, author of Geocultural Power: China’s Quest to Revive the Silk Roads for the Twenty-First Century


Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

520 Pages

188 colour illustrations Illustrations

188 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2020

ISBN: 9781787356016

Publication: July 01, 2020

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