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Community Archives Conference 2021: Communities, sustainable environments and heritage

This online Zoom conference featured different presentations on how community archives and heritage work can engage with critical questions of the environment and sustainability. Even in the context of the current pandemic, the local and global challenges facing the environment and a sustainable future, including the impact of climate change, changes in the use of land and city spaces, rising sea levels and changing climate patterns, displacement of people, and the scarcity of resources are ones which face all communities. Lives of communities are bound up absolutely and indivisibly with the environment in which those lives are led and heritage can play an important role in understanding these changes, engaging with the past to inform the present and the future and supporting communities to find solutions to these challenges.

Taking the environment and heritage in the broadest sense as pertaining to all the places and spaces in which communities live, work and play, this includes urban and rural, contemporary and historical and the built as well as the natural environment. We would like to hear from groups whose work reflects on their environment in past and present and offers possibilities for sustainable futures.

Speakers included:

  • (Keynote address) – Hannah Fluck, Head of Environmental Strategy at Historic England, “Heritage, community and climate: why the past is essential for the sustainable future of our places”
  • Tim Powell, Sector Development Manager for the South West, Religion, and Science and Technology & Georgie Salzedo, Sector Development Manager for London and Business archives, The National Archives, “All is hazard. Is there no plan? A risk assessment approach to archives and climate change”
  • Dr Vlatka Lemić, University of Zagreb, “Topotheque – collaborative portal for archives and communities”
  • David Barnes, local community archivist and activist, “Am I an archive activist? Using connectedness to record our ‘present past'”
  • Alice Harvey-Fishenden, AHRC/ UK Climate Resilience funded project CLANDAGE: Building Climate Resilience through Community, Landscapes and Cultural Heritage, University of Liverpool, “Archives and communities as repositories of climate change knowledge”


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