Past Program


In today’s volatile world, links to the past and to place are becoming more tenuous and contested, and threats to cultural heritage – both tangible and intangible – are extremely socially and politically difficult to counter. It is a critical moment to ask what cultural heritage actually means to different people and regions, especially in the digital era, and why it is more important than ever to preserve, enhance and share cultural heritage through all available means.

Part of the long-running Culture, Arts and Society series, this invitation-only program will bring together creative thinkers and groundbreaking practitioners from around the world to reflect on and critique current approaches to cultural heritage, and to explore new frontiers in heritage innovation and collaboration.

By invitation only

The program will be structured along a continuum of inquiry: perceptions of the past, problematics of the present, and potential for the future.

The first area of inquiry – perceptions of the past – will have a philosophical focus, considering both positive and negative associations of cultural heritage. Participants will contrast its positive potential to create a sense of identity, reinforce social cohesion, and advance reconciliation with its negative potential to trigger conflict, perpetuate or reinforce symbols of oppression, and recreate trauma. Taking indigenous, decolonized, non-nationalistic, and non-Western interpretations into full account, they will explore whose culture and whose heritage is the focus of discourse, and how and why the language we use to talk about cultural heritage is changing. Specific questions will relate to shifting perceptions of cultural heritage in recent decades, including new concepts of tangible and intangible heritage.

The second area of inquiry – problematics of the present – will have a pragmatic focus and address ways to tackle the manifold threats to cultural heritage. Looking outwards, these include: unsustainable tourism and “destination thinking” in heritage; the impacts of climate change on tangible and intangible heritage; the destruction of cultural heritage through conflict; the illicit trafficking of cultural objects; the dislocation from roots and history linked to population displacement and rapid urbanization; and the impact of accelerating globalization on a shared sense of identity and belonging.

The third area of inquiry – potential for the future – aims to develop a visionary and transformative agenda for the cultural heritage field, supported by new advocacy tools for a range of target audiences. Participants will seek to better articulate why heritage matters to people today and in the future, and how we can unlock the amazing potential of cultural heritage.


  • In societies striving to be inclusive and equitable, how can we move toward more expansive approaches to and notions of cultural heritage?
  • What practical approaches and innovations are already being taken to counter threats to cultural heritage? What obstacles are preventing success and how can collaboration be expanded to overcome these challenges and connect new generations to their cultural heritage?
  • How could the cultural heritage sector better communicate with other sectors for mutual benefit, especially in the fields of education, urban development and tourism?
  • What innovative strategies can connect more people from all walks of life, especially new urban generations, to cultural heritage?
  • What potential does digitization have for making cultural heritage come alive in groundbreaking new ways?
  • How can advocacy work around heritage be improved? What do these developments imply for the education and training of the next generation of cultural heritage professionals?


Participants will include practitioners from the cultural heritage sector, such as museum, library, and archive professionals, as well as representatives of cultural ministries and heritage associations. They will be joined by a cross-cutting mix of technology innovators, social entrepreneurs, civil society leaders, historians and researchers, policymakers, anthropologists and cultural philanthropists.


The highly interactive program will be structured around a mix of thought-provoking presentations, curated conversations, informal interactions, knowledge exchange, and practical group work. The process seeks to combine theory, policy and practice across sectoral silos, opening up new perspectives and intensive learning opportunities. Participants will also work intensively in focus groups, allowing for in-depth group work on key issues.


This program seeks to:

  • Facilitate dialogue, exchange and new forms of networking and collaboration;
  • Develop strategies for raising greater awareness of the unique and often poorly-understood role of cultural heritage;
  • Share learning from the program through dynamic reporting (blogs, newsletters, a substantive report) with a broad, international group of stakeholders, and with the help of a media partner;
  • Jointly draft and widely disseminate a Salzburg Global Statement on the problematics and potential of cultural heritage in the 21st Century, building and expanding on the 2009 Salzburg Declaration on the Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage; and
  • Inspire, incubate, and catalyze several creative and unorthodox/unconventional cultural heritage projects and networks, across generations, regions, disciplines, and sectors.

After attending this program as a participant, Prof. Dr. Amareswar Galla published his reflections in the Amaravati Express.

Download the article as a PDF.


Lisa Ackerman
Interim Chief Executive Officer, World Monuments Fund, New York, USA
Alexis Adande
Former Chairman of the West African Museum Program (WAMP); Professor, Université Abomey Calavi, Cotonou, Benin
Noriko Aikawa Faure
Advisory Body Member, International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific-Region-IRCI, former Director, Intangible Cultural Heritage Unit, UNESCO, Japan
Iman Al-Hindawi
Independent Consultant, Arts and Culture, Amman, Jordan
Patricia Alberth
Head, World Heritage Office, Bamberg, Germany
Carolina Castellanos
Cultural Heritage Consultant, Advisor, ICOMOS World Heritage, Mexico
Gejin Chao
Deputy Director, Institute of Ethnic Literature, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China
Alissandra Cummins
Director, Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Bridgetown, Barbados
Dina Dabo
Heritage Consultant, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Martha A. Darling
Education Policy Consultant
Marina Djabbarzade
Independent Heritage Management Expert; Board Member, Senior Advisory Board, Global Heritage Fund, USA
Sami el-Masri
Cultural Development and Management Specialist and Advisor, MENA Region
Adam Farquhar
Head of Digital Scholarship, British Library, London, UK
Amareswar Galla
Chief Curator, Amaravathi Heritage Town, India; Executive Director, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, New Delhi, India
Adam Gates
Virtual Student Federal Service Intern, Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative; Student, St. Andrews University, UK
Francisco Gómez Durán
Associate Program Specialist, Executive Office, Culture Sector, UNESCO, Paris, France
Cristian Heinsen Planella
Executive Director, Fundación Altiplano, Arica, Chile
Nura Ibold
Ph.D. Candiate, Post-Conflict Reconstruction of Aleppo, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus, Germany
Albino Jopela
Head of Programmes, African World Heritage Fund, Midrand, South Africa
Ira Kaliampetsos
Founding Director, Hellenic Society for Law and Archeology, Athens, Greece
Catherine Magnant
Advisor on Cultural Heritage, Department for Education and Culture, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
Max Marmor
President, Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, USA
Freda Nkirote M'Mbogori
Director, British Institute in East Africa, President Pan-African Archeological Association, Nairobi, Kenya
Webber Ndoro
Executive Director, ICCROM, Rome, Italy
Debra Hess Norris
Chairperson, Art Conservation Department, University of Delaware, Newark, USA
Navin Piplani
Principal Director, INTACH Heritage Academy, New Delhi, India
Phloeun Prim
Executive Director, Cambodia Living Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Lisa Prosper
Independent Cultural Heritage Consultant, Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada
Marie-Louise Ryback-Jansen
Program Director, Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR), Netherlands
Maria Fernandez Sabau
Independent Advisor and Cultural Manager, Spain
Jette Sandahl
Founding Director of the Museum of World Cultures, Sweden; Former Director of the Museum of Copenhagen; Chair of the European Museum Forum, Copenhagen, Denmark
Anasuya Sengupta
Co-Director and Co-Founder, Whose Knowledge?, Santa Cruz, USA
Claire Smith
Professor of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Chunnoonsong-e Song
Heritage Consultant, Bamiyan Cultural Centre, Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Iyekiyapiwin Darlene St. Clair
Director of Multicultural Resource Center, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, United States
Erin Thompson
Associate Professor of Fraud, Forensics, Art Law & Crime, Department of Art and Music, John Jay College, City University of New York, USA
Carlos Eduardo Serrano Vásquez
Capacity Building Coordinator, ICOM, Paris, France
Shahid Vawda
Archie Mafeje Chair in Critical Decolonial Humanities and Director of the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Dmitriy Voyakin
Director, Kazakhstan Archeological Institute, Almaty, Kazakhstan
Mariët Westermann
Executive Vice President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, USA
Matariki Williams
Curator Matauranga Maori, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa
Dietmar W. Winkler
Professor, Centre for the Study of Oriental Christianity, University of Salzburg, Austria
Ege Yildirim
Independent Heritage Planning Consultant, Mudurnu Cultural Heritage Site Manager, ICOMOS Focal Point for the UN SDGs, Istanbul, Turkey
Parul Zaveri
Principal, Abhikram Architects, India



View full set on Flickr

All images are available for download. Please credit Salzburg Global Seminar/Herman Seidl. Unwatermarked images are available on request.

Resource List

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