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Call For Papers and Save the Date: Destruction by Design: The Legacies of Damage to Cultural Heritage

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Culture in Crisis Programme, in partnership with University of Stirling and V&A Dundee, are pleased to announce an international conference Destruction by Design: The Legacies of Damage to Cultural Heritage, taking place on 20 September at V&A Dundee, Scotland.

The aim of this conference is to critically examine politically motivated, intentional damage and destruction of cultural heritage. Such acts become part of the ongoing biographies of heritage objects, monuments and places, creating difficult and contentious dilemmas about their future lives for those involved in caring for them. Should politically targeted heritage objects be restored to their original condition? Or should the damage be preserved as part of an object’s ongoing biography to some degree? How should damage be recorded, and should documentation practices extend to the wider social and political contexts in which an object, and decision-making about its future, is situated? What is the role of replicas and reconstructions? Above all, who gets to decide, how and with what consequences? The conference will provide an important forum for comparing historical and contemporary examples and reflecting on the consequences of different conservation, restoration and documentation policies and practices with a view to shaping future directions.

We invite submissions from speakers that explore the themes of the conference and encourage vibrant debate and thoughtful dialogue. We welcome papers from a diverse range of geographical settings and regions, cultures, languages, and research areas. The sessions aim to be thought provoking, informative and relevant to the work of museums and heritage organisations. Speakers could come from museum, heritage management, conservation, media, or academic backgrounds and be at any stage of their career.

Speakers are invited to deliver a presentation of 20-30 minutes and participate in a moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A.

If you are interested in presenting at this year’s conference, please submit an expression of interest including a short biography (100 words) and an abstract (150-200 words) to The conference will provide each speaker with a set speaker’s fee in addition to a grant for travel and accommodation.

Deadline for submissions: Midnight, Sunday 21 July

Successful submissions will be contacted by Friday 26 July.

We are committed to providing an inclusive and accessible conference experience. If there is anything we can do to support with your application, please don't hesitate to contact us on using the subject line 'Application Support'.

To register an interest in attending the conference in-person at V&A Dundee on Friday 20 September, please complete the following form:

For V&A Dundee's data retention policy, please see here.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Skeiron. (L-R) Church of St Nicholas in Kamianets-Podilskyi, Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Kamianets-Podilskyi. Featured in Photo City: How Images Shape the Urban World.

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