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Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage

UNESCO Chair on Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage

Cultural heritage and archaeology are drivers for Creative Economies and UNESCO’s 1972 Convention Guidelines recognises that their protection contributes to sustainable development. There is awareness that they play a unifying role in Post-Conflict responses but also that unethical or unbalanced promotion may alienate communities, generate conflict and the destruction of heritage.

The Durham UNESCO Chair addresses this challenge by shaping debates on professional standards and responsibilities; legal and ethical codes and values; concepts of stewardship and custodianship; research ethics and illicit antiquities; and the social, ethical and economic impacts of the promotion of heritage, particularly at religious and pilgrimage sites.

The Chair is held by Professor Robin Coningham, and is supported by Dr Mark Manuel and Dr Christopher Davis in the Department of Archaeology. In addition, the Chair brings together academics from various departments and centres at Durham including Philosophy, Museums and the Business School. Anouk Lafortune-Bernard is a PhD student in Archaeology working on the protection and promotion of heritage sites in Nepal.

The UNESCO Chair aims to develop new guidelines and exemplar material for postgraduate education; devise benchmarks for the measuring social, ethical and economic impacts of Cultural Heritage; provide capacity building to heritage professionals and managers in South Asia and the UK through workshops and on-site training; create opportunities for postgraduate research and education in the UK; and generate networks of heritage professionals, academics and stakeholders.