PhD – Dr. phil and Graduates

The professional profile of PhD, Dr. phil. students and graduates is targeted at the formation of theoretical and practical competence for implementing the diverse dimensions of sustainable human development. It is inherent in our holistic approach of Heritage Studies and, at the same time, further develops the professional expertise of the institute in the 5 competence areas: 1. Tangible Heritage in the Context of Global Change, 2. Heritage, Religion, Identity, Diversity, 3. Sustainable Protection and Use of Heritage, 4. Cultural Landscapes, 5. Mediation of Heritage and New Media, Memory of the World. Based on this approach, students and graduates have developed their own research, teaching and working areas and have implemented them on a worldwide scale.

Barounga - Abdel-Kader

Abdel Kader Barounga

Abdel Kader Barounga

PhD Proposal

The Formal Primary Educational System and the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Africa: Case of the Far North Region of Cameroon

Focus Area 1: Intangible Heritage/Religion/Identity/Diversity


After colonisation, educational systems have been introduced into most African countries regardless of the African cultural knowledge, pedagogical practices, and indigenous psychology that influenced traditional education. In Cameroon for instance this led, decades later, to a discrepant society that systematically ostracizes non-scholars. Opinions differ. On the one side, the “school” is the key to the future and a great intercultural contribution to bring the multilingual and multicultural entities together. On the other side, it is considered an adroit method to extinguish the heritage, an act of depersonalization, and the result of a brain washing process, because the scholars are trained to refute the local epistemology.

In this century, where globalization blurs national borders and technology accelerates time and masks distance, what should be considered as intangible cultural heritage that survived evolution and/or resisted destruction? What inclusive educational policy, that incorporates both colonial history and African cultural heritage, could tackle underdevelopment as well as global challenges? Addressing those questions is the aim of this research.

Short biography

After five years of Bachelor and Master studies in Psychology at the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon), Abdel Kader Barounga trained further and worked in Morocco, then Denmark. He obtained a European Master in Intercultural Education at the Free University of Berlin, then a Master of Business Administration in CSR and NGO Management at the University of Applied Science of Bonn-Rhine-Sieg. Meanwhile, he has been working as a social education worker in Berlin on various migrant educational issues, focusing on African families, with regard to the prevailing German mainstream education system. Based on the systemic approach he deals with families and those who are in close relationships to foster change. In so doing every change is considered   in terms of the systems of interaction between each person in the family or relationship. This involves the interaction between the family and various other systems such as neighbors, youth welfare service or institutions of learning. In 2013 he became a PhD Student at the IGS Heritage Studies at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg

Jan Küver

Jan Küver

Jan Küver

Working title dissertation

Cultural Heritage as a Strategic Driver for Sustainable Development – from the Conceptual Link towards an Applied Heritage Management Practice


Current global development theory and policy recognizes culture as the fundamental resource to support and integrate sustainable development in the social, ecological, and economic domains of societies. Cultural heritage, understood as representing an inherited component of culture, is assigned particular importance in this context, as it links present cultural formations with the past and thus constitutes a sense of continuity in society.

Beyond this recognition of culture and heritage as development resources, it is the task of heritage studies, as an emerging academic discipline, to further elaborate the relationship between them. This research adds value to the discourse, investigating the theoretical link between culture, heritage and sustainable development and its implications for strategies guiding practical interventions. An applied heritage development project in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania serves as a case to examine practical heritage valuation efforts, in view of empowering culture-bearing individuals and communities. Based on the results of analysis, this research aims to articulate suggestions for framing an integrated, development-oriented cultural heritage management model.

Short Biography

JAN KÜVER studied Sociology and Ethnology at University of Göttingen, Germany. After graduating as M.A. in 2007 he worked as lecturer and administrator at the University of Iringa, Tanzania. Since 2013 Jan is managing an EU sponsored applied heritage development project in Southern Tanzania. The project serves as case study for his PhD research at the Graduate School in Heritage Studies at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany. The research investigates the theoretical and practical link between culture, heritage and sustainable development.

Marlen Meißner

Marlen Meissner

Marlen Meissner: “The Valorisation of Intangible Cultural Heritage” (Working Title)

Focus Area: Intangible Heritage/ Religion/ Identity/ Diversity 

The research interest and the added scientific value of her work rest on a theoretical exploration of the concept of intangible cultural heritage in order to utilise heritage in practice. Hence, she develops a theoretical foundation for the UNESCO concept of intangible cultural heritage drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s ‘Theory of Practice’. In the context of Heritage Studies this is innovative because new insights concerning a theoretically justified utilisation of intangible cultural heritage for regional development processes are gained. Therewith, she shows new possibilities of safeguarding, use and transmission of intangible cultural heritage and develops alternative concepts to its ‘musealisation’ in order to promote it in terms of human development.

Short Bio: Marlen Meissner, M.A. Cultural Studies and Anglistics, B.A. Music Pedagogy

Marlen Meissner studied Cultural Studies and Anglistics at the University of Leipzig and the University of Teesside, Middlesbrough (UK). Furthermore, she studied Music Pedagogy at Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg. From 2011 to 2014 she worked as project coordinator of the international EU-funded project “Cultural Capital Counts” at the Chair Intercultural Studies/UNESCO Chair in Heritage Studies at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg. In cooperation with nine further project partners from six nations the potentials of the valorisation of intangible cultural heritage in connection with sustainable regional development were analysed. Currently, she is working on her PhD on the topic “The Valorisation of Intangible Cultural Heritage” at the Graduate Research School “Heritage Studies” at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg.


  1. Albert, Marie-Theres and Marlen Meißner, Leitfaden zur Inwertsetzung des immateriellen Kulturerbes in der Niederlausitz [Manual for the Valorisation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Lower Lusatia], Online Publication, Chair Intercultural Studies / UNESCO Chair in Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, 2014.
  2. Albert, Marie-Theres and Marlen Meißner, “Trendsetting in Sustainable Regional Development Processes” in: Verein zur Förderung des Steirischen Vulkanlandes (Hrsg.) „Cultural Resources Strategy for Sustainable Regional Development: The CCC Method“, BVR Verlag Auersbach, 2014, pp. 23-30.
  3. Marlen Meissner, Der Jazz und die DDR. Freie Musik in der Diktatur des Proletariats [Jazz and the GDR. Free Music in the Dictatorship of the Proletariat], Saarbrücken: AV Akademikerverlag, 2014..

Dipl-Geogr. (Univ.) Matthias Ripp

Dipl-Geogr. (Univ.) Matthias Ripp

Matthias Ripp

A Meta-Model  for Heritage-based Urban Development

Focus Area: Sustainable Protection and Use of Heritage in the Context of Innovative Concepts of Heritage

Based on national and international experiences Heritage has been more and more interpreted as a resource for urban development. Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to develop a generic adaptive governance Meta-model which can be used for the scoping and design of local urban heritage development processes. Evidence collected by the World Bank, UNESCO, the European Commission and other institutions and networks is showing that heritage can be used to improve the quality of life of local communities. However, a generic Meta-Model for the scoping and design of local heritage-based on development processes is still missing. The outcome of this thesis is therefore a twofold one. On the one hand the outcome is the Meta-model itself, on the other hand it  provides concepts and capacity building measures for its implementation.

The methodology to develop this Meta-model will be literature review, field analysis, expert interviews and scientific analysis. Based on past projects and especially the methodology developed for integrated heritage management plans in the framework of the Urbact II Project HerO (Heritage as Opportunity []), and the joint Council of Europe/European Commission Project COMUS (Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns)[] a Meta-model will be developed that can be applied in a broad variety of situations. Special emphasis will be placed on the necessary competencies and skills of the main actors and the scoping phase.  As conclusions, recommendations will be drafted on how to use and implement this Meta-model, and what preconditions and parameters are beneficial.

Short Bio:
Dipl-Geogr. (Univ.) Matthias Ripp

Matthias Ripp, a senior heritage manager with a background of historical geography, is coordinating the World Heritage Site “Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof” .
He is active in numerous networks such as Heritage Europe, ICOMOS, the German Association of Cities and is also a member of the European Heritage Panel and Regional Coordinator for the Organisation of World Heritage Cities (OWHC).  Among his research interests are topics like Cultural Heritage Management, Cultural Heritage Interpretation, Sustainable Development, Resilience and Organisational Development.


  1. Urbact II Project HerO (Heritage as Opportunity [])
  2. Council of Europe/European Commission Project COMUS (Community-Led Urban Strategies in Historic Towns) []
  3. ICOMOS Germany []
  4. German Association of Cities []
  5. European Heritage Panel for the European Heritage Label []
  6. Organisation of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) [].