Working in partnership with PRAXIS at the University of Leeds (UK) and with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the UKNC for UNESCO delivered the international ‘Heritage and Our Sustainable Future Conference via Zoom.
Participants collaborated across countries, sectors, and disciplines, sharing case studies, approaches and methodologies through workshops, lectures, panels and conversations. We focused on areas for transformation within research and practice and are now producing recommendations for policy innovators and funding bodies, future research agendas and action plans for practical implementation through our brief report series.
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.