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Annual Heritage Lectures

Annual Lecture Label

The Annual Heritage Lecture, held in Easter Term each year, invites speakers of international reputation to give a public lecture on an aspect of heritage research. Coinciding with the United Nations declaring 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages we are delighted to announce that our speak for the 2nd Annual Heritage Lecture will be Prof Mark Turin (University of British Columbia), who will give his lecture on Language as Heritage: Indigenous Language Resurgence in the 21st Century.


2nd Annual Heritage Lecture

The second Annual Heritage Lecture will be given by Prof Mark Turin (University of British Columbia) on 7 May 2019 from 5:00-6:00pm in the Frankopan Hall, Jesus College, Cambridge.  


Language as Heritage: Indigenous Language Resurgence in the 21st Century


 2019 Annual Lecture Poster


The linguistic diversity of our species is under extreme stress, as are the communities who speak these increasingly endangered languages. While some Indigenous mother tongues and narrative traditions have been in inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, many more have received no official recognition and continue to be oppressed by colonial-era legislation in the nation-states in which they are spoken.

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages to help promote and protect indigenous languages. This celebration of Indigenous linguistic vitality and resilience is welcome, but is it enough? Does official recognition ‘work’, and if so, how? Does ‘heritaging’ language help communities to reclaim their narrative and speech traditions? And do the goals of historically marginalized communities who speak under-resourced languages align with those of immigrants who advocate for resources to have their ‘heritage’ languages taught in schools and spoken in their homes.

Engaging with critical heritage studies and an emerging body of decolonial theory on language, this richly illustrated lecture draws on contemporary and historical examples from North America and Asia to ask whether we need a new language for talking about linguistic heritage and heritage languages.

Admission is free.

To book visit:


Mark Turin

Mark Turin is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and First Nations Languages at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Trained in anthropology and linguistics, he has worked in collaborative partnership with Indigenous peoples in the Himalayas for over 20 years and more recently with First Nations communities in the Pacific Northwest. He is a committed advocate for the enduring role of Indigenous languages, online, in print and on air.


1st Annual Heritage Lecture

The inaugural lecture was given by Dr Helaine Silverman (CHAMP/University of Illinois) on 8 May 2018 and the full lecture is available to view below.


The Inca in the Plaza: Contesting Change in the World Heritage Historic Center of Cuzco, Peru


Inca header

Historic urban centers constitute approximately one-third of the cultural properties on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The expectation of UNESCO is that the architectural integrity, authenticity and physical form of an inscribed historic urban center will not change for these qualities convey the site’s Outstanding Universal Value. Yet these are inhabited places and thus subject to change.

Whereas this is recognized by ICOMOS’ new “tolerance for change” paradigm, change in heritage properties is not everywhere embraced by the official management sector. A case in point is Cuzco, Peru where the recent installation of an Inca king atop a Belle Époque fountain in the middle of the premier public space of the city has prompted a major dispute between the Municipality (which erected the statue) and the Ministry of Culture (which seeks its removal).

Beyond local political antagonisms and ambiguity in the national legal code for heritage management are intertwined issues of place, authenticity, identity, memory, visual integrity, community stakeholdership, colonial legacies and different value systems. This talk uses the controversy over “the Inca in the plaza” as a platform to discuss management of the present past in living historic urban landscapes. 

Watch the whole lecture here