The conference will address how World Heritage is being contextualized in relation to Gender & Diversities and the SDGs. How can research, frameworks and working tools either theoretically or on site address marginalisation and valuation within this sector? The aim of the conference is to address various mechanisms that exclude diversity at World Heritage sites. They include: structural inequalities within World Heritage discourses that marginalise communities; domination of the majority culture over heritage policies; multiple and shifting forms of identities that can better represent official narratives on World Heritage; actions taken by stakeholders that either collectively or deliberately marginalise communities. The conference will also explore innovative ways to address issues affecting gender and diversities at World Heritage particularly relating to SDGs.

SESSION I: Monuments of Oppression
SESSION II: Oppression from Monuments
SESSION III: Acknowledging Intangible Heritage as part of future heritage past
SESSION IV: Caring for future Worlds? SDGs within Spaces and Places of Heritage


This session (March 30, 2021, 07:00-12:00 UTC) seeks to focus on the value and place of intangible heritage and sustainability. Among diverse communities across the world, tangible heritage is inseparable from intangible cultural practices. How might World Heritage adopt an approach that more thoroughly recognises the interconnectivity between these heritage forms? Furthermore, how should World Heritage confront and address the ways that certain cultural knowledge, skills and histories are deliberately attacked, invalidated, or erased? Exploring these areas is important for highlighting how particular systems marginalise identities, groups and indigenous people, eroding their heritage. It also engenders wider debate on the strategies that could be used to support and strengthen heritage practices (particularly those under threat) for future generations. This is crucial when examples of intangible heritage can serve as vehicles of resistance to types of political/economic domination.

Reflecting on why place, sites and objects are often emphasised over less tangible forms of heritage leads to conversations about the structure of World Heritage. How does race, gender, class and nationality factor into who gets to decide which forms of heritage are elevated over others in UNESCO systems? Integrating varied perspectives that recognise the links between tangible/intangible heritage enables some reflection on the role that certain cultural values, knowledge and practice play in future sustainability. Examples of this might include the safeguarding of natural heritage and wildlife, and engagement in non- exploitative/non-extractive economic/farming activities that protect the environment.

Session Moderator: Vire Komolafe (Nigeria, Interim Vice Chair Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Ireland)

Opening Remarks by Diversities& Genders Team
Opening Ancestoral Prayers by Ade Williams

Speaker 1: Henrietta Marrie (Australian Indigenous Rights Activist, Yidinji Tribe)
Speaker 2: Liisa-Ravna Finbog (Sámi scholar and duojár from Oslo/Vaapste/Skánit on the Norwegian side of Sápmi)
Speaker 3: Yewande Okuleye (Founder, The Power of Nine: Reclaiming Language to Create and Celebrate Nigerian Herstories- UK)

Keynote Speaker: Patricia O’Donnell (FASLA, AICP, F. US/ICOMOS; Founder, preservation landscape architect and urban planner, Heritage Landscapes, LLC; President, ICOMOS IFLA International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes)

Informal Discussions with Diversities & Genders Team

Fringe Event: Virtual Tours
Uganda with an introduction from Conrad Kuzooka (World Heritage Site: The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi with African Tigress)
El Salvador with Nantzin Anastasia Elder (World Heritage Site: Joya De Ceren) and with Frida Larios (The Stellas inspired/close to the WH site and commissioned by Kimberly Clark of Central America)

Civil Society Theme Showcase