The conference will address how World Heritage is being contextualized in relation to Gender & Diversities and the SDGs. How can research, frameworks and working tools either theoretically or on site address marginalisation and valuation within this sector? The aim of the conference is to address various mechanisms that exclude diversity at World Heritage sites. They include: structural inequalities within World Heritage discourses that marginalise communities; domination of the majority culture over heritage policies; multiple and shifting forms of identities that can better represent official narratives on World Heritage; actions taken by stakeholders that either collectively or deliberately marginalise communities. The conference will also explore innovative ways to address issues affecting gender and diversities at World Heritage particularly relating to SDGs.

SESSION I: Monuments of Oppression
SESSION II: Oppression from Monuments
SESSION III: Acknowledging Intangible Heritage as part of future heritage past
SESSION IV: Caring for future Worlds? SDGs within Spaces and Places of Heritage


March 30, 2021, 12:00-14:30 UTC: The main characteristic of any World Heritage asset is its outstanding universal value, initially determined by culturally based criteria. This has been recently intensified by the intangible contribution given by the so-called sense of place. Lefebvre argued that every society – and therefore every mode of production – produces a certain space, its own space, this as a result of different layers of societies. It is not merely an issue of Genius Loci, the specific creative inputs that is generated by a specific territory, the historic development associated to climatic conditions that create different, peculiar, site specific human responses for adaptation, but also about sense of place, that reflects the peculiarities that made a space place for diversities and genders in time. Sense of place refers to the use of the space, the way a space turns into place. World Heritage Sites, once in the list, openly belong to humanity and this may open new use dimensions that interfere with the existing “place”, and increase the plateau of diversities at stake. The entrance to the List enlarges the number of users, as well as their rights and responsibilities. In addition, the rights of use need to be distinguished from the ones of ownership.

Sites “owners” are confident of the positive development impact of listing. In this respect, the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations in 2015 expanded on 17 Goals, and Cultural Heritage was perceived as highly contributing to all of them. Nevertheless, the challenges of economic pressures, climate change, mass tourism (and pandemics) may affect sites, their Indigenous communities, Kinships, Clans & nurturing communities, ecosystems and … the sense of place/space, thus reducing the impact potential of heritage to sustainable development.

Under these premises, this panel looks at the pressures generated by the listing and how they affect the sense of place, in the awareness that too often those who list are not those who live, that those who benefits are not those who care. It aims at feeding the international debate on how to create local development policies with holistic visions to address the SDGs and make them drivers for the eventual, positive change needed. It expects to deepen the knowledge on how SDGs can help sustaining local values, with the help of all actors.

Session Moderator: Marco Acri (Italy, Conservation Architect, University of Nova Gorica)

Speaker 1: Prof. Claire Smith (Professor, Flinders University, Australia)
Speaker 2:Dr. Madhura Dutta (Director, banglanatak dot com, India)
Speaker 3:Prof. Dr. Amra Hadzimuhamedovic (Architecture; expert in the process of implementation of Annex 8 of Dayton Peace Accord for Bosnia and Herzegovina managing the diverse projects of integrating the cultural heritage into post-war recovery)

Call out competition: Round table with participants

Sponsor Session

Closing Remarks by the OurWorldHeritage Diversities & Genders Team