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Call for papers Religious Heritage in a Diverse Europe


Religious Heritage in a Diverse Europe
New Directions in Practice, Policy & Scholarship

University of Groningen, Stichting Oude Groninger Kerken (Groningen Historic Churches Foundation), Museum Catharijneconvent, Future for Religious Heritage, Jewish Cultural Quarter

Groningen, Netherlands
June 19-21, 2019

Secularization and immigration are changing the religious makeup of European societies. While more people identify as non-religious, new arrivals and conversion mean that the religious landscape is becoming increasingly more complex. This presents challenges and opportunities to organizations, government agencies and scholars engaged with maintaining and promoting cultural heritage. How should Europe’s plural religious pasts be represented? How can heritage be translated for audiences that do not identify with local religious traditions? What challenges and chances lie in the process of secularization? Can or should heritage organizations foster dialogue between groups in multi-religious societies? These pressing questions are at the heart of the conference “Religious Heritage in a Diverse Europe.”

In order to explore answers to these questions, the conference will bring into conversation scholars, museum curators, heritage professionals, visual artists, as well as leaders of religious and secular organizations.

The conference will be held in Groningen, the capital of a Northern Dutch province that plays a leading role in European heritage work, precisely because secularization has transformed the use of built religious heritage. Its medieval churches and modern synagogues are increasingly cared for by a secular heritage organization, the Stichting Oude Groninger Kerken (Groningen Historic Churches Foundation). The Centre for Religion and Heritage at the University of Groningen has long provided expertise and training in heritage studies. They have teamed up with two of the most important national heritage organizations: the Museum Catharijneconvent, which is the national Dutch museum for Christian heritage and history, and the Jewish Cultural Quarter, which runs the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Our partner on the European level is Future of Religious Heritage, the Brussels-based network for historic places of worship.

The conference will have a dynamic format with a variety of activities planned for participants. In addition to paper and discussion sessions, there will be excursions to local heritage sites, a children’s university conference, and art projects in the city center.

International academic support is provided by the International Network for Interreligious Research and Education (INIRE), which together with the RUG Centre for Religion and Heritage and the Faculty of Theology at the University of Uppsala will host an International Summer School for undergraduate and postgraduate students to coincide with the conference.

Submit your proposals:

We invite panel and paper proposals on themes, including - but not limited to - the topics of:

  • contested heritage, disputes over ownership and meanings
  • preserving and presenting diverse religious heritage in museums
  • the postsecular and heritage
  • multi-cultural use of religious sites
  • artistic practices in relation to religious heritage
  • emotions and values embedded in changing use of religious heritage
  • the impact of migrants on religious heritage practices
  • loss of religious literacy and heritage practices
  • dynamics between professionals and volunteers in heritage practices
  • educational challenges in discussing religious heritage

Proposal formats:

We invite you to contribute your expertise to the conference program. We welcome proposals for panels or an alternative form of presentation, such as a roundtable or a discussion with the audience.

To propose a panel, please include a title, an introduction to the panel theme (max. 250 words), followed by abstracts of the individual papers (max. 300 words each) and a short biography of the speakers (each max. 150 words).

We also accept individual proposals consisting of an abstract (max. 300 words) and a short biography of the speaker (max. 150 words).

From the contributions of the conference we plan to publish a book on “Religious Heritage in a Diverse Europe: Challenges and Promises”. This publication is aimed at heritage organizations and policy makers, as well as at university-based scholars and students.

Please submit your abstracts at the latest by 9 January 2019

Abstracts can be submitted to conference organizer Dr. Lieke Wijnia via: l.wijnia

Questions and concerns can also be sent to this email address.


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Last modified:03 December 2018 11.02 a.m.