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Where WhenSaadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi October 2016 Robben Island, South Africa Summer 2016 Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi May 2016
Workshops and Conferences
February 27 - March 1, 2017
This symposium brought together international members of the scientific community whose research specializes in the field of cultural heritage. Of particular importance are the topics of basic research and applied scientific methods for the investigation and conservation of various objects of cultural heritage, as well as the use of these methods in museums and fieldwork. The aim is to strengthen the collaboration between different disciplines involved in cultural heritage research, and to foster alliances between scientists, archaeologists, and art historians.
Oct 4- 5, 2016
This workshop was designed to bring scholars and practitioners involved in cultural heritage activities into conversation. Taking it a step beyond conversation, the second day of activities featured what we called a community HeritageLab, a full day of intense fieldwork, documentation, and curation of a chosen site of cultural significance. HeritageLab was designed for participants to take the conversations of the previous day and delve directly into practice and collaboration.
April 13-14, 2015
This workshop brought together both scholars and heritage professionals from multiple disciplines and various institutional backgrounds to focus on the Gulf in the context of the wider region, connected through historical, cultural, and economical relationships. The workshop contributes to the development of a sustainable network for heritage and museum studies in the region by discussing and analyzing the existing formal and informal heritage and museum studies curricula to understand the relevant themes and mechanisms of cooperation.
December 16, 2014
In three decades of conflict and unrest, Afghanistan has lost a great amount of its irreplaceable cultural heritage, highlighting how in fragmented and polarized societies heritage can often become a target. But it is also an agent that can help populations to forge a relationship with their precious history, and maintain peaceful co-existence alongside multiple ethnic groups. This talk shares the experience gained from the joint heritage and museum projects undertaken by the Centre for International Heritage Activities in partnership with the Afghan cultural sector, and reflects upon how that experience is relevant for peace-building processes in Afghanistan.
December 15-16, 2014
National museums face many challenges and transitions, but are still powerful cultural tools. This conference brings together academics and practitioners from around the world in order to debate the complex origins and natures of national museums, reflect on the changing roles of these cultural spaces, and search for new pathways to navigate the past and explore heritage more inclusively.
‘Boundedness’ renders islands myth. They are readily grasped by the mind’s eye, pictured and framed in their singularity. They can be remote places of possibility and promise, free from the limitations of the mainland, be they natural or societal. They can also be isolated forts, built by nature herself; hard to reach but also hard to escape.
As a totality however, islands can be seen as spots of fragmented geography that mirror the scattered history of those who inhabit them and traverse between them. However, they are also nodes of confluence for multiple streams of migration and exchange.
Although Saadiyat Island is presented as an ‘empty canvas’ for the development of a Global Cultural Hub, there are known archaeological heritage sites of early settlements (from stone age till 19th century settlements near the mangroves). Sites neighboring the NYUAD Campus have many links and ‘hidden histories’ connected with the foundation and development of Abu Dhabi. More recently Saadiyat Island was also the location the experimental greenhouses in the 1970s as part of Sheik Zayed’s vision to green the dessert. This exhibition explores the cultural landscape of sites, collections and stories that constitute ‘heritage’.
December 2016 – January 2017
This exhibition gathers narratives and experiences on the South African island from the apartheid and contemporary period. It explores the effect of one’s background and prior experiences on how one experiences heritage sites.
Robben Island’s history dates back to hundreds of years of colonization, of isolation and its most recent use as a maximum security prison for the dissidents of the apartheid government in South Africa. It was transformed into a museum in the 1990s as a result of deliberations among former political prisoners led by Nelson Mandela so that the human race would never again repeat the atrocities that occurred on the island. Tafakari offers a glimpse into the connections Robben Island had to the struggle against apartheid on the mainland, the different periods of Robben Island history and the residents who now occupy it.
Being a World Heritage Site is one of the most recognizable forms of acknowledging a nation’s heritage. By looking at the numerous dimensions of heritage that Dalma Island provides, this exhibition explored what it would mean to be a World Heritage Site both from a global and UAE perspective. Inhabited since prehistory, Dalma Island challenges claims of a lack of history and events in the region. It has been mentioned by chroniclers throughout time from European, Persian and Arab backgrounds, cementing Dalma’s place as a focal location in the Gulf and the greater Indian Ocean trade.