Engaging Cultural Heritage. German-British Perspectives on Regional Memorial Cultures

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Prince Albert Society / University of Bayreuth, Germany

International Conference (6–8 June 2019) in Bayreuth

Engaging Cultural Heritage. German-British Perspectives on Regional Memorial Cultures 

Who decides what remains? What regulates the social discourse about the cultural value of historical objects and practices? What is considered worth remembering and protecting? How are cultural assets relevant to a modern society, and what are their effects on their immediate regional contexts? How did the public perception and treatment of these cultural assets, as well as their social acceptance and institutionalisation, change over time? How and in what medial forms are questions of cultural heritage negotiated?

To address some of these aspects, the Prince Albert Society, in cooperation with the Verein Kulturerbe Bayern and the University of Bayreuth, is hosting an interdisciplinary conference in June 2019 in Bayreuth, Germany. From a comparative German-British perspective, speakers are invited to focus on the topics of cultural heritage and regional memorial culture. The conference intends to promote a dialogue between academic debates about memorial culture(s) and key actors in the areas of historical preservation and cultural policies.

The conference programme includes trips to selected historical sites in Upper Franconia from different periods. Each of them represents a social process of socio-historical negotiation and illustrates different forms of local or regional memorial culture. Among the destinations will be the city of Coburg, seat of the Prince Albert Society.

One central aspect of the conference will be the examination of different concepts of memory and memorial culture(s) as encountered in material and medial practices. Furthermore, special emphasis is laid on the task of making heritage – material or otherwise – perceptible and accessible for the public. In what ways is information about historical objects and practices made available to the public? Which methods are used to present relevant topics to a broader audience? How are memorial culture and its objects represented and negotiated in media such as literature and film?

In a second session, the conference takes actor-centred perspectives on those working immediately with cultural assets. Besides exploring specific practices in the field of cultural heritage, this session sheds light on work and achievements in the field in historical perspective. An additional core theme will be the public reception of cultural heritage.

This British-German conference takes a comparative approach, but contributors are also welcome to focus on individual aspects of the broader topic. Proposals for thirty-minute papers should include an abstract (300 words) and a short cv. Please submit your proposal by 31 March 2019 to verena.spicker@uni-bayreuth.de. Conference languages will be German and English. Travel and accommodation expenses of contributors will be covered.


Coordinating institutions:

Prince Albert Society

Founded by the city of Coburg and the University of Bayreuth in 1981, the Prince Albert Society is dedicated to the study of German-British relations in research, culture and politics. Under the patronage of the Duke of Edinburgh, the society’s home is Coburg, the former seat of the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

Kulturerbe Bayern

Founded as an association in 2015, Kulturerbe Bayern is actively engaged in preserving the historic and cultural heritage of Bavaria. On November 2018, the foundation Kulturerbe Bayern was instituted as second mainstay of the initiative. It takes endangered cultural assets under its wing and develops appropriate concepts for the re-use of the monument. Following the example of the British National Trust, Kulturerbe Bayern restores its properties with the competent and enthusiastic help of local volunteers, donors and benefactors as well as experienced regional architects, engineers, craftsmen and partners. Currently, over 800 members are the foundation of the initiative’s activities, 200 volunteers have promised their support.

University of Bayreuth

As one of the founding institutions of the Prince Albert Society, the University of Bayreuth promotes the academic exchange of ideas and the interdisciplinary communication in research and teaching on an international level by organising and participating in numerous projects, workshops and conferences. Represented by the Institut für Fränkische Landesgeschichte seated in Thurnau, the University provides the organisation and coordination of the British-German conference.



Prof. Dr. Martin Ott 

Institut für Fränkische Landesgeschichte der Universitäten Bamberg und Bayreuth
Marktplatz 1

95349 Thurnau 



Verena Christina Spicker, M.A. (conference coordinator) 

Institut für Fränkische Landesgeschichte der Universitäten Bamberg und Bayreuth 
Marktplatz 1 

95349 Thurnau