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Heritage and our Sustainable Future: Research, Practice, Policy and Impact

Agreed in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) unite 193 Governments with the shared aim of leaving both our planet and societies on a sustainable footing for future generations. No poverty, clean energy, sustainable cities and quality education are among the challenging targets that must be met no later than 2030. The pressure is on, and it’s all hands-on deck with experts from across the globe rallying to this call. Since cultural heritage is an expression of human communities through diverse media, experts work to safeguard all manners of heritage: from vast buildings, works of art and folklore, to artefacts, language and landscapes. The shared goal, however, is simple: preserve the past so that future generations might enjoy, benefit and learn from its legacy.

Likewise, the Sustainable Development sector works to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. With support from the AHRC, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and Praxis at the University of Leeds are therefore hosting ‘Heritage and Our Sustainable Future: Research, Practice, Policy and Impact’, an upcoming virtual conference from 22nd February to 2nd March. Here we will bring together a diverse range of cultural heritage and sustainable development contributors, including policymakers, practitioners and researchers, but also non-governmental organisations (NGOs), museums, private sector representatives and other stakeholders from across the globe. United by the shared goal of collaboration for sustainable progress, the conference will explore how best to utilise cultural heritage research on the ground to drive forward the SDGs, especially in Official Development Assistance (ODA)-eligible countries.

Conference programme

Join policymakers, practitioners and researchers alongside NGOs, museums, private sector representatives and other stakeholders from across the globe for thirteen sessions over ten days (22nd February – 2nd March) to consider the role that heritage research, policy and practice can play in our sustainable future.

Expert sessions include everything from climate change, culture-nature interrelationships, and multi-dimensional methods for evaluation, to capacity strengthening, people-centred  and decolonisation approaches, digital technology, sustainable cities, mental health and wellbeing, tourism and the creative industries beyond economic development.

Gabriel Caballero, ICOMOS Focal Point for the Sustainable Development Goals will be a panellist for the opening session, while members of the ICOMOS Sustainable Development Goals Working Group (SDGWG) Rohit Jigyasu, Andrew Potts, Sophia Labadi, Maya Ishizawa, Gamini Wijesurija and Ege Yildirim will be chairing or facilitating other sessions of the conference.

The conference is being held by the UK National Commission for UNESCO and Praxis, University of Leeds. For more information and to register for any/all sessions, visit the conference website here.

Register here.


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