THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2021, 11:00-12:30 UTC
Language: English

This webinar will look at best practice in the interpretation of heritage sites with a focus on multiple narratives and dissonant history.  Over the last 30 years, the importance of acknowledging that heritage sites have multiple meanings and often dissonant and conflicting histories has become a critical issue in the cultural heritage sector. At the same time, interpretation plans are increasingly focusing on the role of memory and the contribution of communities associated with heritage sites.

This webinar draws on significant work on Sites of Memory and Sites of Conscience that has taken place over the last 20 years, not only for World Heritage sites but also for heritage in general. The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience works with heritage sites and museums in over 65 countries to harness public memory to foster new understandings of the past, build social cohesion and promote cultures of human rights. Its programs support the development of inclusive, community-centered interpretation, prioritizing multiple perspectives and traditionally marginalized voices as a catalyst for bridging difference and enhancing local engagement in the preservation and maintenance of heritage sites. Sites of Memory have also been a focus for UNESCO, with a report on interpretation of Sites of Memory delivered to UNESCO in 2019.

Questions the webinar will ask include:

  • What ‘history’ is being presented at this site? Who controls interpretation?

  • Whose narratives and perspectives are included? Whose have been excluded? Why?

  • What is the role of the expert in interpretation? What is the role of the community?

  • How is evidence used in interpretation? What is the role of archival evidence as a complement to oral history, memory and community stories?

  • How can we promote intergenerational dialogue?

  • How can we support communities to explore and share a site’s divisive and/or multiple histories?

  • What does effective inclusive, community-centered interpretation look like in practice?

  • What does it look like on site?

Elizabeth Silkes, Executive Director The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
Sue Hodges, Managing Director, Sue Hodges Productions (SHP) and the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites (ICIP).

Jihon Kim, Senior Programme Specialist, Korean National Commission for UNESCO.

Jaeheon Choi, Professor and a Chair of World Heritage program at Konkuk University, Seoul. ICOMOS World Heritage Panel member and the former Secretary General of ICOMOS Korea.


Krista McCracken, Interim Director, Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre, Canada
Christelle Dethy, Responsable pédagogique et projets, Le Bois du Cazier, Belgium. 
Callie Hawkins, Interim Director, President Lincoln’s Cottage, US.
Julio Solórzano Foppa, Director, Memorial para la Concordia, Guatemala.
Professor Paul Ashton, Parramatta Female Factory Institutions Precinct, Australia.
Bonney Djuric, Chair of the Executive Board, Parramatta Female Factory Institutions Precinct, Australia.
Jacqueline Wilson, Board Member, Parramatta Female Factory Institutions Precinct, Australia.