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UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures extended until 2025

UNESCO and Linnaeus University have decided to renew the agreement on the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures for another four years, until 2025. Cornelius Holtorf, Professor of Archaeology, is the chairholder.

The UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures was established at Linnaeus University in 2017. This is one of eight UNESCO Chairs in Sweden and the only one within the culture sector. The Chair will support heritage practitioners in developing professional strategies for the future: what historical objects are to be preserved for the future, and of what exact use will they be to the people of the future? The UNESCO Chair has now been extended until 2025.

– We have four exciting years behind us and look forward to continuing the work. By now, we are well established, with a team of seven specializing in different areas, says Cornelius Holtorf.

The book Cultural Heritage and the Futures (Routledge 2020) is an outcome of the team´s work. It shows that cultural heritage and the future are intimately linked, and that the development of “futures thinking” is important in the heritage sector and indeed elsewhere in society.

Implement research results

During the next period, the team will implement their research results and training agendas in the global heritage sector, in order to help future generations solve important challenges. In particular, the team will:


  • Practice, evaluate, and enhance professional development and capacity-building in “futures thinking” in the heritage sector and beyond. For example, through collaboration with national and international bodies, including the Swedish National Heritage Board, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and through associated research.
  • Create and extend collaborations with professional colleagues and partners, including UNESCO Chairs, and with UNESCO itself.
  • Develop media for communication and training, including film, in an increasingly digitalized world.

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.

– We also plan to deepen our commitment to climate change and heritage. I have been selected as participant in the first international expert meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change, co-sponsored by UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is a very important global event, as the IPCC has not previously - to the extent that is appropriate - considered the field of culture in its work, says Cornelius Holtorf.

Bild: Cornelius Holtorf and Peter Aronsson
Cornelius Holtorf, chairholder, and Peter Aronsson, Vice-Chancellor at Linnaeus University.

– I am very proud to host the Chair. The focus on using the past so clearly to create a sustainable future, 'Heritage Futures', is urgent and unique. This will strengthen internationalization and in particular our global perspective in research which are important priorities for us, comments Peter Aronsson, Vice-Chancellor at Linnaeus University.

Read more: About the UNESCO Chair