Institute of Archaeology


Heritage Futures and AHRC Heritage Research at FutureFest

5 July 2018

Heritage Futures and AHRC Heritage Research at FutureFest org/">AHRC Heritage Research and the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures research programme, both based at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, have been invited to act as content partners at this year's FutureFest.

FutureFest, hosted by Nesta, is one of Europe's largest festivals exploring the future through art installations, performances, debates, and talks.

This year the theme is 'Occupy the Future' which will be imagined through a series of events set across five stages and a series of immersive experiences. Keynote speakers include Ruby Wax OBE, Sir Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon, Paul Mason, Imogen Heap, and Akala among many more.  The festival will run on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 July at London's Tobacco Dock and expects to host over 4000 visitors over the two days of the festival.

Heritage Futures research programme logo

Rodney Harrison, AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow and Principal Investigator on the Heritage Futures research programme, has worked with Nesta over the past months to develop two panels for the festival, both of which he will chair.

The first panel, Frozen Futures, takes place on Friday at midday. It will explore the role of new preservation technologies in securing our present, and how decisions about what to keep and what to lose actively shape our futures. It will feature presentations by Mafalda Costa from the Frozen Ark, Asmund Asdal who works for Nordgen as Coordinator of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and Martin Kunze from the Memory of Mankind project.

The second panel, Curated Decay, takes place on Saturday from 10:30 to 11:30. It will explore the inevitability of change and the notion of embracing decay and destruction through an alternative understanding of heritage value.  It will feature presentations by Vyki Sparkes, the curator of the London Fatberg at the Museum of London, Marcos Buser, a geologist who works with nuclear waste disposal, and Caitlin DeSilvey, a geographer and author of the book Curated Decay (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) from which the panel takes its title.

Some of the speakers will also give individual talks as part of the immersive garden experience which aims to explore the relationship between nature and the urban environment. These talks will take place across both days of the festival.

AHRC Heritage Research logo

Rodney's blog on the Nesta website explains the rationale for the sessions and their relationship to the work of the AHRC Heritage Priority Area and Heritage Futures Research Programme.

For updates on the event, follow both @AHRCHeritage and @Future_Heritage, and the hashtags #FrozenFutures or #CuratedDecay.