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Shifting Identities: how does heritage evolve?


Session 2 — 14 November — 14:00-17:00

This session is held in association with INTO, the International National Trusts Organisation.

Heritage is deeply linked to the concept of identity, providing a shared way for people to identify with the world around them, the past that has led to the present, and the future that may unfold. Heritage buildings exhibit a set of features that guarantee a particular place’s distinctiveness and continuity in time, and are endowed with meaning through their use by successive generations.

The word ‘heritage’ has its root in the Latin word for ‘heir’: traditions are designed to be inherited. Traditions are also designed to evolve, change, and adapt as contexts and people’s needs change. Opposing forces mark our particular present tense: on the one hand, the homogenising force of globalisation means that local traditions and place identity assume an even more vital importance; on the other hand, the increased movement of people coupled with political and economic pressure for development can weaken connections to heritage and identity.

Continuing the discussion of rapid urbanisation, this session will examine how identities shift as heritage evolves in urban contexts, looking at the formation of community, memory in architecture, the economic potential of built heritage, and the need for both construction and destruction to allow traditions to continue to adapt to retain their relevance.



  • Catrini Pratihari Kubontubuh

    Indonesian Heritage Trust

  • Dr. Julia Wedel

    Oxford Brookes University School of Architecture

  • Jonathan Schifferes

    Royal Society of Arts

  • Keith Harrison-Broninski

    RSA & Town Digital Hub

  • Nicholas Boys Smith

    Create Streets

  • Rau Hoskins

    Design Tribe Architects

  • Shoshana Stewart

    Turquoise Mountain

  • Simon Murray

    National Trust

  • Will Hunter

    London School of Architecture