Perspectives: The Series Heritage Studies

The academic book series “Heritage Studies” seeks to paradigmatically comprehend and enhance our understanding of the heritage of humanity. The series explores diverse constructions of heritage—ranging from material to immaterial to documentary, from static to dynamic, from individual to social—and presents these explorations in a way that makes heritage and its associated meaning more accessible. One of the series’ most important goals is promoting global awareness about the thematic, content-related and culturally diverse approaches to heritage protection and utilization, as outlined in the UNESCO Conventions and Declarations. The series achieves this by featuring authors and editors from different regions of the world and thus also contributes to the process of decolonizing knowledge in the field of heritage. We have taken significant steps towards this goal with our previous co-edited volumes, all of which display perspectives from across the world. The latest book, “50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility – Conflict and Reconciliation”, was written by 61 authors from 28 countries and published in open access. In only seven months, the book has achieved 135k downloads, highlighting the success of our inclusive approach. We invite you to publish your visions on the topic of the "Heritage of Humanity" in our series. more ...

Publication: World Heritage

Claiming Back Their Heritage: Indigenous Empowerment and Community De-velopment through World Heritage
  • Introduction
  • Ideas, Concepts and Uses of Heritage
  • Indigenous Empowerment and Community Development through Heritage
  • Consultation and Communication: Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
  • Collaboration and Cooperation: SGang Gwaay and Gwaii Haanas0
  • Indigenous Independence, Resilient Relations: The Tr’ondëk-Klondike
  • Conclusion: Where to from Here?

World Heritage; Indigenous heritage; heritage management; postcolonialism; heritage discourses; memory; cultural landscape; museum; Indigenous museology; Indigenous empowerment and capacity building; community development; community participa-tion and engagement; Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, SGang Gwaay and Gwaii Haanas; Tr’ondëk-Klondike; visitors’ expectations; tourism; community capacity; In-digenous agency; repatriation; reconciliation; Indigenous knowledges, worldviews and heritage.

Claiming Back Their Heritage: Indigenous Empowerment and Community Development through World Heritage

This book explores the function and use of cultural heritage in the formation of identity and the development of agency of Indigenous Nations in North America. It explores how Indigenous people have voice and visibility in the administration and representation of World Heritage sites, how they use their heritage, and how the interests of Indigenous communities can be reconciled with the interests of a broader public. Analyzing the three case studies of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, SGang Gwaay and Gwaii Haanas, and Tr’ondëk-Klondike, the book concentrates on the question of how Indigenous groups enforce recognition of their collective rights to preserve their cultural heritage and assert their right to self-determination. A comprehensive framework developed by the author helps to understand the use and significance of heritage for community development. Presenting many Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices and summarizing the complex debates concerning Indigenous heritage, the books is a benefit to professionals and students alike.


Heritage Reconstruction and People - Integrated Recovery after Trauma

Heritage Reconstruction and People - Integrated Recovery after Trauma

The book “Heritage Reconstruction and People” draws on the reconstruction of heritage, its influence on the identity of human beings and the relationship to community recovery after a cultural trauma. It is an urgently needed publication because in the current world, the destruction of heritage is a phenomenon which is marked by numerous and very diverse incidents.

50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility – Conflict & Reconciliation

50 Years World Heritage Convention:
Shared Responsibility – Conflict & Reconciliation

The authors of the book "50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility - Conflict & Reconciliation" base their work on the paradigm that heritage builds identity and that the destruction of heritage destroys identity. People and societies are therefore responsible for the sustainable protection of their heritage. As the destruction of heritage is multidimensional, so is the responsibility that people and societies must take for their heritage. The most successful convention for protecting our heritage, the World Heritage Convention, is dedicated to this responsibility and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022. This book is a reflection on its implementation.

Perspectives: Intangible Heritage – 20th Anniversary of the Convention

20 years have passed since the adoption of the UNESCO “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage" in 2003. Another UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Heritage of Humanity can therefore celebrate a success story in 2023. The Convention on "Intangible Heritage" is characterised by a concept of culture and heritage that relates directly to people and their actions. It thus fills the gaps in the World Heritage Convention's understanding of what identity is and what it gives us. A feasibility study made a fundamental contribution to the implementation of the Convention in Germany and to the Federal Republic of Germany ratifying the convention in 2013. This study was initiated by the World Heritage Coordinating Body at the Federal Foreign Office under its first director Dr. Birgitta Ringbeck and conducted by Prof. Dr. Marie-Theres Albert, then Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in Heritage Studies at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg. The IHS acknowledges and celebrates the Convention's success story through the publication of various interesting books in its Heritage Studies book series.

Publication: Intangible Heritage

Dancing Practices – Researching Practice: Access and Archival Forms to the Cultural Heritage of Dance in the Focus of the Immaterial
  • The Cultural Heritage of Dance and Research Practice
  • The Intangible in the Context of Performative Situations
  • Performative Doing as a Living Archive of Cultural Practices
  • Performative Methods as an Approach to Dance Practice
  • The Living Heritage of Dance: Dance Archives in Practice
  • Perspectives for the Living Heritage of Dance

Intangible Cultural Heritage of Dance, Living Dance Archivs, Safeguarding and Trasmission of Dance Knowledge, Value of dance heritage in the present, Case study on the intangible cultural heritage of tango, Movement as value and knowledge of the intangible, Performative dance archive, Research work in practice, Potentials of intangible heritage for research, Research in praxis, Inscription process for the German Modern Expressive Dance, Valorisation of Intangible Heritage of Dance, Approaches to dance practices, (In)tangible implications of dance moments, The intangible as implicit knowledge and performative process, Values and significations of the intangible, Perspectives on the intangible

Dance Practices as Research – Approaches to the Safeguarding and Transmission of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Dance

The UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding and Interpretation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage is receiving increasing attention after 20 years of existence. In this context, the study aims to further strengthen this important intangible cultural heritage of dance and thus reinforce its importance within the framework of the Convention. To this end, this book presents an overview of approaches and methods for researching cultural practice, with a focus on the specific concept of the (in)tangible in dance practice.

World Heritage and Intangible Heritage - What connects them and what distinguishes them?

Lecture by Marie-Theres Albert on the 20th anniversary of the Intangible Heritage Convention, 17 October 2023. Lecture currently available in German only.

Vortag (PDF)

Perspectives: 30 Years of Memory of the World

The Memory of the World Programme (MoW) focuses on documentary heritage and complements the World Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage conventions. It was established by UNESCO in 1992 out of a concern to ensure the preservation of fragile and endangered documents in public institutions. There was also a need to make valuable documents accessible and to raise awareness of their existence and significance. The preservation and accessibility of documents is the specialized realm of memory institutions such as libraries, archives and museums. The Memory of the World Programme emerged to support such institutions by promoting the idea of a global collective memory of humanity. Over three decades, MoW has mobilised the professional community around the globe, embracing a variety of stakeholders, volunteer experts, decision makers and institutions of all kinds. In heritage research, however, it is still an emerging field. The Institute Heritage Studies has done pioneering work since its establishment by including MoW as one of its research fields, and as a component of the academic series Heritage Studies.

Publication: The UNESCO Memory of the World Programme: Key Aspects and Recent Developments


  • Introduction: A New Road is Open
  • Memory of the World: Basics, Principles, and Ethics
  • Memory of the World: The Recommendation, Guidelines and the Politics of Memory
  • Memory of the World in Context: Heritage Diversity and Convergence
  • Technological Challenges
  • Education and Research
  • Editors’ Afterwords

 Authors from 20 countries 
Australia, Austria, Germany, Barbados, Cambodia, Canada, China, Romania, Denmark, France, Iran, Italy, Macau, Netherlands, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, UK and USA.

Publication: The UNESCO Memory of the World Programme: Key Aspects and Recent Developments

The volume “The UNESCO Memory of the World Programme: Key Aspects and Recent Developments”, co-edited by Ray Edmondson, Lothar Jordan and Anca Claudia Prodan, brings together 21 authors to respond to the growing interest in the scientific study of this UNESCO initiative. The aim is to encourage academic research on MoW in the context of Heritage Studies and beyond. Published in 2020, the volume is so far the only one offering reflections for study on the MoW Programme. It further surveys an important chapter in the history of MoW, during which there have been fundamental changes in its profile and operation.


The Future of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme ― Discussion Paper ―

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Memory of the World Programme, the Institute Heritage Studies organized, together with the Chair of Technoscience Studies at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, an expert think tank. A discussion paper summarising the informational content of the think tank was released as a result and it addresses some of the complex issues now surrounding MoW.

DOWNLOAD Discussion paper

Perspectives: Heritage and Sustainable Development

At the IHS, Heritage Studies is positioned as a critical discipline that derives interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research questions and topics, explicitly from the constantly changing realities of daily life for the people of the world. This includes positioning the epistemological interest in the context of the world’s diversity, reflecting the cultural diversity in the approaches and methods of heritage studies worldwide without becoming arbitrary as well as developing strategies for the future, for example, for a sustainable approach to heritage. In other words, about the goal is not to gain abstract knowledge but to explicitly conceive heritage studies paradigmatically for human development and to work on this theoretically and practically through projects.

Project: Education for Sustainable Development

Young Climate Action for World Heritage

“Young Climate Action for World Heritage” combines the topics of UNESCO World Heritage and climate change in an innovative way in an educational project. At six UNESCO World Heritage sites, students in international teams deal with climate change. Using creative and action-oriented methods, they explore the question: How can we take responsibility for the sustainable preservation of World Heritage sites and for combatting climate change locally?

Young Climate Action for World Heritage – Youth Summit | 01.-03.November 2023

Young Climate Action for World Heritage – Youth Summit

From November 01-03, 2023, all student teams of the project presented their results to the public at the Jagdschloss Glienicke. In a marketplace, they have shown their films, artworks, podcasts, infographics, quizzes and interactive games. In an associated expert forum, actors from Berlin discussed the topic of climate change and World Heritage in parallel.

Opening and welcoming speech by Prof. Dr. Marie Theres Albert
→ PDF.

More information on our Project-Website.

Project: 50 Years World Heritage


50 Years World Heritage Convention:
Shared Responsibility – Conflict & Reconciliation

The project "50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility - Conflict & Reconciliation" honoured the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention by publishing a book and presenting it at an international conference. The book reflects on the past and the future of World Heritage, taking into account the values of "responsibility", "reconciliation" and "sustainability". With 61 authors from 28 countries, it also represents the global character of the Convention. The book presentation took place on the 4th of November 2022 as a hybrid event at the Federal Foreign Office.


Impressions of the conference "50 Years World Heritage Convention: Times of Peace, Conflict and War”, which took place on the 4th of November 2022 in the Federal Foreign Office.

Photographer: Jayakrishna Bandla


Lazare Eloundou Assomo (UNESCO), Conference "50 Years World Heritage Convention"

Joseph King (ICCROM), Conference  "50 Years World Heritage Convention"

Prof. Dr. Peter Stone (Blue Shield), Conference "50 Years World Heritage Convention"

Round Table: Sharing New Visions - The Future of the World Heritage Convention, Conference  "50 Years World Heritage Convention"

Young Climate Action for World Heritage

Quiz Welterbe

World Heritage Education

Student Video of World Heritage Muskauer Park