Heritage, Culture and Rights: Challenging Discourses

Event date: 
26 Sep 2013
9:00am to 4:30pm
Venue: 
Staff Common Room, Level 2, UNSW Law
Topic: 
Heritage, culture and human rights
Speaker: 
Multiple speakers
Cost: 
Free
Enquiries: 
9385 1803

Convenors: Andrea Durbach and Lucas Lixinski, Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW 
With the support of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies and Australian National Commission for UNESCO.

The workshop will explore the intersections between human rights, heritage and culture. Heritage has been consistently used over time as a means to build identities, and human rights have become a cogent legal discourse to safeguard those identities. At the same time, though, heritage is often in opposition to narratives of progress in human rights discourses. Thirdly, cultural heritage (and culture more generally) work as a tool for human rights advocacy more broadly. This use of heritage happens particularly in the context of indigenous peoples, who can (and do) rely upon their culture as a means to promote the cause of indigenous peoples’ rights. But it can also be used by other groups, who see the recognition of their heritage by institutions such as UNESCO as a means to trigger or catalyse broader discussions about their rights, status or development.

This workshop will critically examine these three ways of presenting the connection between heritage and human rights. Bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines in the heritage studies field, the workshop will investigate means in which discourses converge and diverge, and how they can be used to promote and safeguard heritage and its holders.

Our keynote speaker will be Ben Boer, Emeritus Professor at the Sydney Law School, who is a leading authority in the field, and has for many years been working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) before UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee in particular. Other speakers include:
Ana Vrdoljak (UTS Law)
Scott Hawken (UNSW Built Environment)
Stefan Gruber (USyd Law)
Josephine Gillespie (USyd School of Geosciences)
Laura Kraak (UWS Institute for Culture and Society)

Admission is free, but space is limited.