Top 5 talks at 11th International Conference on Sustainability – from a cultural sustainability perspective

The 11th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark January  21-23rd 2015. For three days the conference center of Scandic Hotel will be abundant with scholars from all over the world giving sessions about numerous topics.

As a participant I have been working my way through the enormous program, scanning it for sessions that are relevant for those who are interested in cultural sustainability.

These are my top 5:

1) Belonging, Identity, and Sustainable Heritage Development of a Danish Diaspora Community in the American Midwest

The global electronic environment has allowed a network of communities linked to Denmark, each other, and the shared past. Various artifacts that display these linkages will be presented at this poster. Societies that have faced a diaspora can now follow this model of continuous electronic involvement, communication, and re-discovery to maintain identity and heritage.

Time: Thursday January 22nd, 14.10 – 14.55, Plenary

I am curious to go to this session because 1)  it is about a Danish cultural diaspora, seen from a non-Danish perspective. This is relevant for the Danish society, where immigrants are expected to abandon their cultural heritage in order to fit in – ie being “integrated”. 2) It deals with how we can sustain our cultural heritage via new technologies.

Also read: Can social media help us build our collectives?

2) Ontological Pluralism and Education for Sustainability: Indigenizing Higher Education Curriculum

Our aim has been to act on the outcome of our previous research and maintain a Community of Practice approach to challenge academics within the School to embrace ontological pluralism to inform new and innovative approaches to the teaching of sustainability.

Time: Thursday January 23rd, 10.00 – 11.40, Room 2

This session is relevant because it deals with a distributed understanding of knowledge, as something embedded in cultural practice, as something that is negotiable across cultural differences.

 3) Historical Representation and the Crafting of Attitudes toward the Environment: Understanding the Role of History to Affect Sustainability

The promotional literature, actual design, and subsequent histories of suburban subdivisions in Sacramento reveal the striking extent to which suburban developers, real-estate firms, and later suburbanites constructing local histories have employed the language of Sacramento’s early urban boosters, and, ultimately, became a contributing part of the overall booster packaging of a metropolis that has helped shape how many in Sacramento view the environment and, likewise, themselves.

Time: Wednesday January 21st, 14.00 – 15.15, Room 5

This is interesting to me, because it gives us an insight into how cultural patterns ie local narratives of self and belonging are linked with socially constructed, dynamic processes.

4) Creative Aging City: Place-making in Old Neighborhoods by Elderly Communities in Asia

This paper therefore aims to study the place-making efforts by the elderly community, taking cases in Asia [..] to understand how the elderly residents cope with various environmental and artificial constraints in old neighbourhoods, [..] by appropriating them into socially sustainable places for ageing community, collaboratively and creatively.

Time: Wednesday January 21st, 12.30 – 13.45, Room 3

This is interesting because it establishes a link between space, health and community, –  and this is an important connection to make when it comes to creating cultural sustainability.

5)  Weaving: The Mixtec Palm Hat from Anthropology and Design

Some of the implications of this project are the study of cultural and social sustainability, a combination that in the future can contribute to the improvement of artisan economic conditions, and as a consequence, a better relationship between humans and their natural environment, as well as a reduction in cultural heritage loss.

Time: Thursday January 23rd, 12.40 – 13.55, Room 3

This session is relevant because it provides us with insight in the processes at work when it comes to collective production and it’s relation to cultural heritage ie. cultural sustainability ‘classic’.

Luckily none of the sessions above are at the same time!! Are you joining me? Give a comment below


PS: Of course there are many more really interesting presentations. Check out and comment upon my top 19 here.