Cultural Heritage, Wars and Post-Conflict Recovery

I was invited to give a talk at the conference "Catastrophe and Challenge: Cultural Heritage in Post-conflict Recovery" ( My presentation focused on the topic of "Ethics and Cultural First Aid" and will be followed by a publication (upcoming). Talking about Cultural Heritage work taking place in contexts plagued by violent conflict such as in Iraq or in Yemen for example. I argued that:

  • the conditions in which Cultural Heritage work unfolds is such extreme that it makes moral questions much more acute than during peace-time; in particular, it is impossible to escape political questions;
  • some of these moral issues are similar to those that may routinely occur in Humanitarian Aid, while others are specific to the field of Cultural Heritage - and I briefly browsed through 6 of these issues; 
  • such moral challenges require the field of Cultural Heritage to (re-)think its rationale and moral compass carefully through; and I made some propositions in this regard;
  • and I ended with recommending the field to adopt an ethics of "intellectual debate" as opposed to getting bogged down into drafting technical guidelines.