About the Heritage Contact Zone project
Heritage Contact Zone (HCZ) investigates the potential of heritage spaces for creative processes and dialogue. HCZ focuses especially on contested, neglected or marginalised heritage with exhibitions, workshops and a toolkit. It discusses challenging innovative and inclusive heritage representation, using heritage as a space for dialogue and making conflict constructive. This final conference brings together the outcomes of the project.

About the Week
The Week offers workshops, a keynote presentation with discussion and a session with policy-makers. Tune in for thought-provoking reflections about the current Zeitgeist that requires institutions and individuals to think about change. HCZ proposes a tool for that change, to open up spaces for difficult conversation about our heritage and the societies we want to live in. The Week will showcase and discuss the HCZ project’s experience with artists and activists that have worked with civil society initiatives to build ‘safe spaces’ that are open for dialogue.

Who should participate?
The Week invites artists, activists, creative producers, cultural managers and curators to engage with the project’s outcomes and bring in their own experiences in order to share and empower each other.


We live in unprecedented times. Never was history and heritage so much the focus of public attention. The post-colonial discussion, revisionism over national identities, Black Lives Matter and many more strong and timely movements show how much public spaces, places of memory and the stories we tell about our histories and roots matter for the togetherness of a society and the feeling of belonging for all its members. The conference OPEN UP! – working with contested heritage’ proposes examples of working with complex histories in a participatory manner. It will discuss the outcomes of a two-year EU funded international project that has produced the Heritage Contact Zone Toolkit.

The slogan ‘all personal is political’ could apply for these initiatives and implies that all personal memories can be politicised, for better and for worse. The question remains how we can build spaces of memory dissent for the better, in which conflict is made constructive and creativity and participation can become drivers of inclusive history-making. For a strong civil society and against  exclusionary and authoritarian narratives and policies we need new tools to empower institutions and communities alike.

3 Key Moments

23 November 2020, 17:30 – 20:30 hrs (CET)
Local workshops and international panel conversation


25 November 2020, 19:00 – 21:00 hrs
Keynote lecture with Q&A


26 November 2020, 14:00 – 16:00 hrs
Launch of Toolkit and discussion with policy makers


Ongoing conversation
We invite you to visit the HCZ facebook page where we will share an inspiring practice example every day alongside reflections triggered from the HCZ Toolkit. Our partners and experts will respond and moderate the conversations. If you want to share a project or a question beforehand please write to: Cristina.zanfirescu (at) goethe.de

Online conference programme

Monday, 23 November 2020

17:30 – 19:30 (CET)
‘Live’ local workshops (on invitation)

HU – Representations of the Nation
The Living Memorial group will organise a workshop on diverse representations of the nation. Public debates around the nation, its roles in the past and in the 21st century, the visible efforts to monopolize certain representations and narratives attached to it make this heritage in the actual Hungarian public sphere contested and highly contentious. The workshop will offer a common space for activists coming from various fields of activities (young artists, community organisers, students, social and educational trainers, specialists) to discuss this contested heritage.
Language: Hungarian

NL – Pusaka as sensitive heritage objects
Pusaka’s are objects from the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia with a mystical and magical significance for the personal and collective identity of their owners, especially in today’s post-colonial societies. Some objects have also been an instrument in a diplomatic context between the Netherlands and Indonesia in order to ease tense relations between the countries. In this workshop Esther Captain, researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, will discuss how to create access to pusaka’s through co-operation across disciplines, institutional and national boundaries, how to involve communities in historic research on Pusaka’s and how to deal with contested and sensitive heritage objects, including (ethical) questions on belonging, ownership, restitution and the like. Artists, researchers, curators and practitioners are invited to reflect on the approach or method to work with owners of highly personal family objects that hold traumatic as well as hopeful memories.

RO – The Golden Flat: Last carnival – exhibition, by Alexandru Potecă (August 2010)
The exhibition ”Golden Flat” is an installation about old and worn objects from communist and post-communist Romania; objects devoured by their own functionality, unable to induce any emotional or aesthetic attachment, but which prove to be a source of aesthetic and conceptual unpredictability. The artist Alexandru Potecă joins the Heritage Contact Zone Project to help his audience create its own transformed objects from the 1970s and 80s. The goal of the workshop is to give new meaning to the objects that participants bring to the workshop, re-configuring their relationships with everyday life and a complex past.
With observers Jasper Chalcraft and Kornelia Kiss.

19:30 – 20:30 (CET) Online panel conversation with workshop facilitators (open for general public) moderated by Joachim Umlauf

Wednesday, 25 November 2020


19:00 HRS (CET)

Keynote Lecture by Andrea Peto

Shame and the memory politics of illiberal states
Followed by one question to Andrea Peto, from each project partner.

Thursday, 26 November 2020


14:00-15:00 HRS (CET)

The project, the toolkit and policy
OPEN UP! – working with contested heritage

Moderator: Lars Ebert
Discussants: Mária Heller, Anja Zückmantel, Cristina Modreanu

Online public launch of HCZ Toolkit
Presentation by Jasper Chalcraft

15:00-16:00 HRS (CET)

Rooted Participation: Heritage Contact Zone
in support of new heritage policies

Discussion with European policymakers around the policy statement “Rooted Participation: Heritage Contact Zone in support of new heritage policies

Panel participants: 

  • Niyazi Kızılyürek (Cyprus, GUE/NGL), Member of the European Parliament 
  • Pedro Velazquez (Deputy Head of Unit  Creative Europe – Culture,  DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission)
  • Erminia Sciacchitano (Officer in Minister’s Cabinet, Ministry for Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism, Italy) 

Moderated by Lars Ebert, H401

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