German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050





Heritage, Decolonisation, and the Field


26–27 January 2018

Venue: William Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, London, WC1N 2AB [Please note that the event is run over two days and will be held in different buildings each day. Both buildings form part of William Goodenough College, and are situated on either side of Mecklenburgh Square.]
Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, German Historical Institute London/Max Weber Stiftung and the UCL Institute of Archaeology


The development of heritage as a distinctive, international field of governance regulated through institutions like UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM and the IUCN is closely linked to practices of decolonisation and fieldwork.

Despite increased interest in the histories and practice of cultural and natural heritage, there is little understanding of how their interconnection with decolonisation and the field actually took place.

  • How did these three things work together to make heritage governance a reality?
  • How did decolonisation shape the form of that governance and the sorts of fieldwork that took place?
  • How, vice versa, did these forms of fieldwork and governance shape decolonisation, and how also did colonial practices play a role?

Moreover, how (if at all) do the answers to such questions vary across time and space? If we are to understand the relationship between heritage, decolonisation and the field - and, by extension, the development of heritage governance itself - providing answers to these questions is a necessity, as is considering the methodologies which we might use to make these answers effective.

This Conference aims to address these questions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, using international, comparative or global case studies to do so.


Call for papers (PDF file)

Conference programme (PDF file)