17 March 2017

Call for Presentations: International conference Urban cultures, Superdiversity and Intangible Heritage

About the conference

The wording of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage states that intangible cultural heritage can give communities, groups and individuals a sense of identity and continuity. A large majority of the groups and individuals whose practice of intangible heritage has been inscribed in national or UNESCO lists are rather living in smaller or medium-sized cities as well as in rural areas. But what about the role and place of intangible heritage in the enormously diversified large conurbations of (Western) Europe?

In large conurbations, creativity and a broad variety of cultural and economic activities emanate. They serve as a strong pull factor for many people. Due to processes of migration, these cities are both “melting pot” and “salad bowl" with a great variety of cultural and social backgrounds and futures, and diverse ethnicities. These large urban agglomerations often struggle with social and economic challenges and volatilities due to high unemployment and sometimes also high crime rates. Projects for urban improvement usually focus on social welfare and on improving living conditions in general. This international conference will instead focus on the intangible heritage in contemporary urban contexts, discussing case studies with different approaches of how intangible heritage is practiced and used as a source fostering social cohesion and cherishing diversity in the city.

Session proposals

Session proposals should be submitted by 30 May 2017 and should present a specific case taking a superdiverse city in Europe as a starting point. The two-day conference will be held in Utrecht, February 2018. Interested scholars and heritage workers are invited to submit an abstract (500 words) to Albert van der Zeijden (a.t.vanderzeijden@uu.nl) before May 30, 2017. Decisions will be announced on July 1, 2017, at the latest.  


Conference organized by the Dutch Centre for Intangible Heritage, tapis plein – Expertise Center for intangible Heritage in Flanders, FARO. Flemish Interface Center for Cultural Heritage, German Commission for UNESCO, and in cooperation with the University of Utrecht and the Free University of Brussels UNESCO Chair on critical heritage studies and safeguarding  ICH, and the National Commissions for UNESCO in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Target groups: culture and heritage professionals, scholars, policy stakeholders and others interested in the topic (at least 100 attendants).


Deadline submission of papers: End of May 2017
Date of the conference: Second week of February 2018
Location: Utrecht University, the Netherlands