Online Talk: Technology and Heritage Sites promoting Climate Action

Date and time of the event: Tue, 6 October 2020 19:00 – 20:00 BST
Join us for an online event to explore how iconic heritage sites can be utilised to stress urgency about climate change and raise global ambition to respond

Recent years have seen a robust response from the cultural heritage sector to the threat of climate change. From developing sectoral adaptation plans for heritage assets to ensuring built structures are carbon efficient, the sector has a unique role to play in the climate emergency.

The complex intersections between heritage and climate change were recently explored in detail by the ICOMOS Working Group on Climate Change and Heritage. Their report – Future of Our Pasts: Engaging Cultural Heritage in Climate Action – was released by ICOMOS at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan in July 2019.

Jane Downes and Will Megarry will be presenting at this event as the lead authors of this report: this ICOMOS-UK talk will explore how iconic heritage sites can be utilised to stress urgency about climate change and raise global ambition to respond.

The event will provide an overview of the Future of our Pasts report, followed by an introduction of the Heritage on the Edge project, which was launched in January 2020 and was a collaboration between the Working Group, CyArk and Google Arts and Culture to explore the issue of climate change from the perspective of five world heritage sites. Specifically, the issues and successes of the project will be discussed in detail with relation to the Rapa Nui (Easter island) case study. The presentation will then explore the reach and impact of the project six months after its launch.

About the speakers

Jane Downes PhD, MCIfA(ICOMOS-UK and University of Highlands and Islands)

Jane Downes is Director of the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute and is based at Orkney College UHI. During her time with UHI she has established archaeology as a significant mode of sustainable development in Orkney and has founded the UHI Archaeology Institute as a centre of research excellence and a community of practice.

Jane is currently engaged in the Scottish islands, Pacific islands of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the Cook Islands, researching Polynesian archaeology and sustainability, and the current challenges for small islands communities and their archaeological heritage particularly in respect to climate change. Jane is also a member of the ICOMOS Climate Change and Heritage Working Group and co-author of ‘The Future of Our Pasts’.

William P. Megarry PhD, FSA, FHEA (ICOMOS Ireland and Queen’s University Belfast)

Will Megarry is a landscape archaeologist and geospatial specialist with a particular interest in the intersections between technology, heritage management and climate change. He is Senior Lecturer at the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast and is an expert member of The International Scientific Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM).

As part of the Working Group on Climate Change and Cultural Heritage, he coordinated the 2019 Google Arts and Culture-funded Heritage on the Edge project for ICOMOS which utilised remote sensing technologies, interviews, and expert narratives from five World Heritage Sites to stress urgency about climate change.

About attending this event

We decided to make this online event free to attend to remove financial barriers to its content. However, as many other cultural organisations, we had to cancel\postpone all of our in-venue events for 2020, which had a signficant impact on our income. Therefore, we encourage donations of any amount: your generosity contributes to our programme work and our running costs and makes more free events possible.

After you booked a ticket, we will send you joining instructions via email through Eventbrite, so please check your junk email folder if you cannot find it in your main inbox.

This free event will be hosted through the videoconferencing platform Zoom Meetings. You can join this event through web browser or using the Zoom app.

If you do use the Zoom app, to make the checking in process smoother, we encourage you to book your Eventbrite ticket using the same email address you would normally use to access your Zoom account. At the beginning of the event, you’ll be automatically checked in by clicking on the joining link and following Eventbrite instructions.

During the event, you will be able to contribute to the chat and Q&A, but your microphone and camera will not be on. There’s also going to be chance to ask questions to the speakers (anonymously) before the event: we’ll send you a link to use Slido to do that.

Links to know more

Heritage on the Edge project

“New Google Platform Blazes Trail for Using Heritage to Communicate About Climate Change”

Photo: Ahu Nau Nau Rapa Nui (Easter Island) (Photo: CyArk 2019)

Eventbrite page of the event: