Addressing the future of heritage: HEI’s Cultural Heritage Day 2021

On the 18th November HEI: Heritage Experience Initiative hosted its third Cultural Heritage Day, an annual event intended as a meeting point for all who study and work with heritage. Projects were showcased through stands, and the current challenges facing heritage studies were discussed through presentations.

In keeping with this year’s theme, “the future of heritage”, the presenters addressed such questions as: “What lies ahead for museums?”, “How do we curb the increasingly destructive illegal trade of cultural heritage?” and “Where and how does ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ heritage overlap, and what can heritage hybridity teach us as we move into the future?”

Alexa Spiwak delivering the presentation Hybrid Heritage: Natural-cultural landscapes of the Anthropocene during HEI’s Cultural Heritage Day at the University of Oslo. Photo: Margrethe Havgar.

The latter question was central to the talk delivered by Relics of Nature’s Alexa Spiwak with Hybrid Heritage: Natural-cultural landscapes of the Anthropocene, where she discussed the liminal spaces of post-industrial landscapes and their ruderal ecologies. Touching upon themes of multispecies interaction and care, Spiwak presented spaces that exemplify natural-cultural hybridity but still fall well outside of UNESCO’s definition of mixed heritage.

Spiwak also showed a photography exhibit, Futures Interrupted: The Ruins of Modern Mining, of an abandoned Canadian mining complex. Exploring themes of temporality, the exhibition contrasted the process of decay against the long and enduring futures of ecological pollution. She was joined by Relics of Nature’s project leader, Þóra Pétursdóttir, who presented her newly published book Heritage Ecologies, co-edited with Torgeir Rinke Bangstad.

Participants browsing the stands at HEI’s Cultural Heritage Day. Photo: Unn Pedersen.

HEI: Heritage Experience Initiative is an interdisciplinary heritage research platform working in close cooperation with the heritage sector. HEI is associated with the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages and The Norwegian Institute in Rome at the Faculty of Humanities, in cooperation with the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.

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