Undergraduate Degree




DD9006 Seminar in Theories and Practices of Heritage Activism

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites:Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

Through lectures and exercises this course provides students with an appreciation of the dilemmas and challenges which art and architectural heritage face today. It seeks to study and understand how these problems can be addressed legally, peacefully and effectively in the future. It also encourages students to draw on their own experiences, to develop an enhanced awareness of cultural heritage within a globalized world.


This course examines the threat to cultural heritage from rapid modernization, urbanization, and other manmade and natural phenomena, and the social and cultural consequences of these.  Focus will be on exploring efforts and strategies to protect, and keep relevant, these fragile remains and to allow for students to explore solutions thorigh their personal interests. The first half of this course will examine the origins of the international ‘heritage industry’ in tandem with the emergence of archaeology and museum collections. Using the Eastern Mediterranean port city of Famagusta as a leitmotif, art history, architectural history, theories of nationalism, aspects of  international law and cultural heritage policy, will all be drawn together. Through that aperture too the contemporary importance of diplomacy, international politics, and NGOs will be evaluated in terms of ‘crisis management’. The second part of this course will see students, working in small groups, identify and adopt a case study of their own, researching into current debates / difficulties in Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Cambodia etc., as well as in Singapore.

Course Outline




An introduction to archaeology, museology and the heritage industry.

2 - 4

Case study 1: [Whose Aphrodite is it anyway? Cyprus, its heritage, and the impact of the current political impasse].

Cultural ownership and contested heritages: Theories on identity and nationalisms. Cultures on display / Cultures erased. Selective histories.

Treasure Hunting or Marine Archaeology? The seabed and the importance of / threat to an unguarded museum.

5 - 8

Workshop: Planning student projects, establishing groups, creating timetables, brain storming.

Utilizing mass media to bring international attention to regional concerns.

Diplomacy, politics and the role of NGOs: What do The World Monuments Fund, the Global Heritage Fund and Europa Nostra do, and where do they do it? 

Abstracts submission & Project Consultation

9 - 11

Case Study 2: [Famagusta – A template for conservation efforts in the absence of UNESCO]

Case Study 3: [Utilizing Technology: Creating alternative routes via virtual museums and other 3D reconstructions]

Final project consultation.

12 - 13

Final project preparation and presentation.

Learning Outcome

On successful completion of this course students will have developed knowledge and understanding of :  The policies and politics of heritage; The relationship between culture, diplomacy and social conscience; Problems of nationalism, identity and the excluded ‘other’; Basic conservation / stabilization methodologies and strategies to keep heritage a living, vibrant part of contemporary life. They should also have developed their skills in: Analysis and interpretation of works of art / architecture and the dangers they face; Cross-curricular appreciation of art in relation to other disciplines; The development of intellectual critique, and their ability to create awareness and then effect change, with dignity.

Student Assessment

  1. Mid Term Evaluation : 40%

  2. Final Assessment: 60% (of which at least 15% is participation)


  1. Cuneo, J. Who Owns Antiquity? (Princeton University Press, 2008)

  2. Kohl, P. Selective Remembrances: Archaeology in the Construction, Commermoration, and Consecration of National Pasts(University of Chicago Press, 2008)

  3. Meskell, L. Archaeology Under Fire: Nationalism, Politics and Heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, (Routledge, 1998)

  4. Powell, R. Living legacy: Singapore's architectural hertiage renewed, (Select Books, 1994)

  5. Wang Meng Hao. Heritage Places of Singapore, (Marshall Cavendish, 2009)

  6. Yorke, R. Marketing Heritage: Archaeology and the Consumption of the Past, (Altimira Press, 2004)