Conference+Lab 2018

Making Now: Intersections of Contemporary Arts & Heritage


„Innovate Heritage: Conversations between Arts & Heritage“ is an international and interdisciplinary artistic event and conference born out of the need to see art practices, the art scene, and art discourses involved in the work carried out by UNESCO in the heritage field. If the object of heritage is the representation and making of meaning and narrative, if heritage gives or re-constructs text and context, if heritage discourse and practice informs our present, creates our cultural identity, establishes global networks and foments ‘collective mobilisation’, then by placing the foundational knowledge and definitions of UNESCO in conjunction with artistic and creative practice, Innovate Heritage aims at highlighting the role of the arts within our construction of the present, its power to give insight and knowledge, its formidable asset for inquiry and human development.

To the present day the arts and heritage are connected via the cultural industry. A strong transdisciplinary approach is thus needed in order to further examine the shared values and elements of each in imagination, innovation, material/intangible culture, processes of constructing cultural identity as well as looking at the values and meanings of each in our lived environments. The arts create and envision our Now, inform and revise contemporary societies, their aesthetics as well as material or intangible culture. So what is of the arts, in Heritage? How does the artist play with imagination, creativity and dream to construct our present world? And how does this differ from current considerations of heritage? In fact, what at all is that which we call heritage if not the practice of Making Now? The purpose of Innovate Heritage is not first and foremost to understand Heritage expressions or Creative expressions, but to understand the narratives these both tell us, and the narratives that create and sustain them. There is a modern prejudice which confers the knowledge of truth to the sciences and its method; of this, the interpretative and evaluative character of UNESCO is imbued. It’s thus a matter of experiencing art, and of inquiring in aesthetic experience, on the basis of what these really are, over and above its way of self-interpretation.

The focus of the next Innovate Heritage event is „Making Now: Intersections of Contemporary Arts & Heritage“. The aim is to explore perspectives/benefits of bringing together contemporary arts and heritage. By initiating conversations between the two sectors – be it with artists, the discourses and aesthetic sensibilities/philosophies that arise from them, the market sector or the cultural currencies of the arts – „Making Now“ aspires to establish a space to discuss and explore connections, potential collaborations and new horizons by cross-breeding interests, perspectives and practices.

The event will take place at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin. It envisions a visual art group exhibition, performances, film screening, workshops, lectures, encounters and conversations on topic focuses of: linear time/circular time, when does something become heritage, performing/embodied memory, the power of heritage, the role of contemporary arts in creating cultural memory, aesthetics of art practices and the aesthetics behind the UNESCO conventions, as well as cultural currencies of arts/heritage (the art market and heritage).

The event will see the participation of emerging and renown international artists, scientists and professionals of the cultural and heritage sectors. All events will be live-streamed via HowlRound TV (Boston, US), and will be freely accessible on our online archive at The project additionally envisions a growing network of international partners world-wide working at the intersections of Arts&Heritage. Postumous to the event, the conference proceedings will be published both in hard copy and freely accessible online.

Programme: 1/3 of the programme will be curated, the other 2/3 of participants selected via an International Call for Expression of Interest aimed at international artists (visual artists, performance artists, musicians), scholars and practitioners of the cultural (curators, gallerists, collectors, museums) and heritage sectors. Select participants will be invited to work within the IH Arts+Heritage Laboratory/Artist Residency in Berlin, April-June 2018, developing additional research and material for the event. A special inter-university course on Art & Heritage will also take place, additionally contributing to the discourses and knowledge exchange (World Heritage Studies MA, BTU Cottbus & Visual and Media Anthropology MA, Freie Uni Berlin).

Interested parties should register for the Innovate Heritage Newsletter in order to receive announcements and updates on the conference and research platform. With our aims at creating a richly diverse international discourse, Innovate Heritage also welcomes partnership proposals from organizations, artist groups and research/learning institutions, specifically based in Africa, Asia or Latin America.