Fashion heritage - past, present & future

Future Heritage: EFHA Conference 2023

Date: 27-28 November 2023
Venue: Centraal Museum Utrecht, NL
Participation: standard ticket 50€, student ticket 25€, register here

The semantic fields of the words ‘Heritage’ and ‘Future’ are often at the antipodes: one deals with the past and its resilience, at times its immobility, and the necessity to crystallise it into material and immaterial memories that fight time passing; the other entails projections and possibilities, something we might imagine and shape, and progress. The first evokes stillness, the other stands for constant movement. But what happens when we bring them together and reflect on how these two words – and the concepts, actions and objects they represent – can be connected in the different practices related to culture?

Organised in collaboration with Centraal Museum Utrecht (CMU), the annual conference of the European Fashion Heritage Association (EFHA) “Future Heritage” wants to look at new technologies and how these are being used to make fashion heritage future-proof. Both institutions are partners within the EU-funded project “5Dculture” and the conference will feature a dedicated presentation by EFHA’s Marta Franceschini about the project’s re-use scenario working with 3D in fashion heritage.

Many virtual techniques and digital crafts are being developed in the cultural heritage sector, to transition from a hierarchical model – the traditional way of managing and interpreting collections – to more inclusive, enjoyable and shared experiences. But these techniques also raise institutional and ethical issues when applied to historical artefacts and stories. The encounter of new museological and curatorial stances with digital humanities is reshaping the fashion heritage sector and institutions that are different in size, typology of objects, agendas are coming to terms with the necessity to innovate not only to remain relevant, but also to expand their reach and tune their voice to the present and to the future.

Future Heritage will explore these dynamics, looking at both reflections on the criteria of acquisition and conceptualising of a futurable past and the imminent discourse on new technologies in heritage practices and activation.

Header caption: From Pattern to Polygon (c) Studio PMS, Centraal Museum Utrecht. Photo: Adriaan van Dam/CMU