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The symposium will address issues of cultural dynamics and consequences of migration and globalization in the online world of 2018. Using examples from the past and present the participants will discuss cultural adaptation, change and the role of culture in a rapidly changing world through two focused sessions: one focused on archaeology and heritage in the context of rock art and the importance of maritime history, and the second focused on the issues of migration.

The forced migration of millions poses a serious global challenge to current world society. However, migration and its consequences is multi-faceted: it defines a modern global society; has contributed significantly to all societies, current and historic; is crucial for economic development; and is fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set under Agenda 2030. Many of the SDGs require that migration of people, their culture, ideas and economy contribute in a positive manner to development and a sustainable future. Culture has, for the first time, been recognized in the international development agenda as an important contributor to the SDGs and to a sustainable equitable future. To achieve this, the universities must be involved and academicians must explore new partners and new cross-disciplinary perspectives on current global challenges. Currently in Western society, immigration from the global South is highly debated. We see tragic outcomes of recent unrest in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa, with millions of people fleeing their homes and ancestral lands. And we see many refugees trying to settle in foreign countries, with hostile media coverage and restrictive immigration policies often fueling heated public and political debates. Scenarios of future changing climate, water scarcity and/or environmental degradation will have grave impacts on communities, and will potentially force more millions of people to flee their homelands.

Dynamic cultural dialogue and the changing role and significance of symbols of identity will be discussed in the workshop. Drawing on different fields of knowledge, from archaeology, heritage studies, indigenous knowledge, social sciences and migration specialists among others, the symposium will discuss how cultural and ethnic boundaries dynamically change, adapt and merge. But also what aspects of culture are resilient to change, and upon which aspects of culture do we draw when faced with danger and forced and unsafe migration? What can be learned about migration from the archaeological and historical record? We know that large-scale migrations carrying new ideas, economic systems, technologies, food and languages have taken place many times various places in the world throughout human history. However, we also know that there are many examples of the resilience of culture. How indigenous culture, or aspects of it, may survive even though political systems, power and economy may change.

Culture has for the first time been given a prominent role in the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. There can be no Inclusive Cities, end to Poverty, fair working conditions and acknowledgement of differences in values without the rubric of culture.

Archaeology/heritage session:

This session of the symposium will have two distinct foci: the heritage of rock art around the world, and the importance of maritime history.

Australia is particularly rich in rock art, painted and pecked images in caves and on stone surfaces. The sites often hold special significance for indigenous societies, both in Australia and elsewhere, and are incorporated into traditional practices and ancestral beliefs. Such art is found on all continents, in almost every country in the world. Often the art may tell us about cultural encounters, migrations and how strangers are perceived by the indigenous populations, often the authors of the art. Few other sources of archaeological heritage speak so directly about how cultural encounters were perceived by ancient societies. Through cultural symbols and even very graphic depictions such encounters are recorded and often preserved to this day. The session will discuss the rock art, its significance past and present, as well as issues of indigenous knowledge, current use and effective management strategies.

We see an emerging body of work concerned with history as seen from the colonized societies rather than the colonizers, both in Australia but also in Africa, the Americas and in the North. What does indigenous knowledge teach us about migrations and colonization of the "new world"? A revival of indigenous knowledge and culture is seen on all continents. A renewed pride in own culture and heritage and a re-negotiation of practices and cultural content is taking place in many societies. This revival is invariably linked to tangible and in-tangible cultural heritage.

Australia is also particularly rich in maritime history giving testimony to the European colonization of Australia and New Zealand. We will invite colleagues working on maritime heritage to share their insights into both recent and ancient maritime history, and population movements, of the continent.

Migration session:

The migration session will address the need for international and interdisciplinary academic collaboration by means of "joining up" migration research with the arts and humanities. It will bring an international policy focus, to engage with the insights from heritage scholarship.

Migration as a current global challenge will be debated by a panel of 3 or 4 participating specialists. We will engage policy makers and the media in this debate, building on the strong link already established under the aegis of the WUN-IOM Strategic Alliance.

This discussion is important in relation to development and migration, poverty and inequality, in the context of (although not defined by) the SDGs. A particular focus will build on discussions in around the importance of heritage in addressing trauma during and after migration, begun by this group in the workshop in Amherst, Massachusetts in April 2017. Insights from these discussions have much to contribute to policy and practice in relation to forced displacement, refugee movements and the protection of vulnerable migrants. The deaths of migrants and refugees in all global regions, as documented in the IOM's Fatal Journeys reports represent the most challenging human and policy priority for migration researchers. This session will consider research initiatives which address these imperatives around the world, but with particular foci in the Middle East; North and Sub-Saharan Africa; the Asian Pacific; Central and South America; and Europe and the Mediterranean. The insights of marine archaeologists, heritage specialists, historians and linguists will engage with those from social medicine, critical anthropology, the design and planning fields, sociology and social policy, to develop a programme of collaboration aimed at developing better understanding of both the research directions and the societal challenges ahead.

To submit an abstract, please click here for the WUN abstracts submission page.