Dhakira, an applied research center based at New York University Abu Dhabi, provides the framework, tools and platform to empower civil societies to become curators of their own heritage and custodians of their cultural memory.
Dhakira works in close cooperation with scholars, heritage communities, heritage authorities, and UNESCO. Its primary objective is to address the many regional and global challenges of the relatively young discipline of heritage studies. Dhakira is distinctive in its emphasis on providing an interdisciplinary research environment linking theory and practice.
At the forefront of new developments in humanities, sciences and the arts, Dhakira promotes best practices while nurturing alternative approaches for inclusive and sustainable heritage management. It also builds on its experience with Digital Humanities to form a better understanding of heritage practices and to create connectivity.
Located in the Gulf Global Network
Because of its base in the United Arab Emirates, Dhakira is linked to heritage sites worldwide through ancient and modern trade routes. The Gulf plays an important role in the changing perspectives on heritage. Regional ambitions to develop UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Universal Museums, and the emergence of the important role of local heritage in building national identities, show the area’s striking mix of heritage elements. Dhakira aims to contribute to the new paradigms for heritage studies emerging from this important and strategic location.
Through fostering a local, regional and global network of scholars in the humanities and sciences, heritage professionals, heritage institutes and local communities, Dhakira is a part of the the multi-disciplinary structure of NYU Abu Dhabi, the NYU Global Network University and its partners.
Heritage, Identities, and New Perspectives
Heritage plays an increasingly important role in people’s identity. It has moved from its conservationist focus of preserving rare and aesthetically pleasing remains deemed valuable, into a globalized and multidisciplinary field at the heart of many cultural, social, political and economic processes.
The expert driven origin of the ‘heritage industry’ has shaped global models for heritage management. This traditional Eurocentric approach is increasingly challenged around the world. The shift in the discourse and the new heritage perspectives amongst scholars, heritage professionals and communities provides the perfect opportunity for a center for heritage studies at a strategic cultural nexus like Abu Dhabi.
Main Program Themes