Call for Papers: Heritage in Times of Transformation

Heritage in Times of Transformation: A special one-day symposium in honour of Professor Bill Logan.

Conference participants at a past ADRI symposium
Conference participants at a past ADRI symposium

The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP), in association with the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, is organising a special symposium to honour the achievements of Professor Bill Logan as he approaches his official retirement from Deakin University. Professor Logan was the inaugural Director of CHCAP in 2002 and oversaw its development into one of the most vibrant and highly regarded research centres in the region.  A cultural geographer, he has been recognised nationally and internationally for his contributions to the development of heritage studies, particularly for his contribution to our understanding of heritage issues both in Australia and in Vietnam.

In both countries, the relationship of heritage to modernity and its place in contexts of rapid urban transformation have been key issues. His contribution to the disciplines of cultural heritage and geography were recognised by the Australia Academy of Social Sciences last year when he became one of its members.  It is therefore with Bill’s own contribution to understanding the place of heritage in times of transformation that we call for papers around this theme.

The Symposium will open with a special keynote address by Professor Logan on the evening of the 19th of November. This will be followed on the 20th of November by a keynote address from Dr Tim Winter, a senior Research Fellow from the Cultural Research Institute at the University of Western Sydney. Dr Winter, like Professor Logan, specializes in heritage issues in South East Asia. The conference will finish with a paper on recent developments in Nova Scotia, Canada, around a new World Heritage nomination by Professor Brenda Trofanenko, a Canada Chair at the University of Wolfville in Canada.

Symposium Theme:

It is a well established truth that heritage is most often used to represent and codify collective forms of identity. As such heritage is most often associated with the notion that things have always been the same, from time immemorial. Time stops, so to speak. In this context heritage almost always is related to notions of tradition and continuity. Its function is to make time and space continuous. It is therefore unsurprising that heritage is often understood as culturally conservative and by definition, against change and development.

In this symposium though, we are interested in the association between heritage and discontinuity rather than continuity. What roles does heritage take in times of rapid transformation? What is its relationship to notions of change? There are a number of possibilities that we are interested in exploring. For example, rather than creating an unbroken, linear relationship with the past , heritage becomes that which demarcates the past from the present. In this scenario, heritage might be something we long for but can no longer access or, alternatively, something that we try to reconnect with in order to create a sense of continuity in what is otherwise a field of discontinuities. While this might be nostalgic it could also be critically motivated. It might also be something we wish to disavow and forget. Of interest then, is the question of how heritage can be used to address processes of change?

Whether used as a positive or as a negative force, heritage can be a resource for societies undergoing extensive forms of transformation. Such forms of transformation could be modernisation, the rise of democracy in formerly authoritarian societies, post-war reconstruction, the development of multicultural societies under the impact of globalisation and consequent mass migration, urban development pressures, changing economic structures and so on.

In this special one day session we will be exploring such questions as: How is heritage being used to manage processes of change? How are these uses manifested in heritage sites, in museums, and in other cultural sites more generally? How does heritage critically engage with ideas of ‘progress’? Can or is heritage used to address present day issues and what kinds of issues are they? Can heritage be a critical resource to the management of our future? How might it contribute to our sense of place and community? What kinds of interpretation strategies might enable this to occur?

The event is free and will be catered.

Abstracts of 250 words are invited from colleagues by the 20th of October 2012. Papers will be 20 minutes long with time for discussion.

They can be sent to A/Professor Andrea Witcomb via email on

Page custodian: Deakin Research
Last updated: