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Thematic LINES

IN2PAST develops its activity around 5 thematic lines:

The preservation and valorization of cultural heritage are fundamental matters that require the implementation of integrated strategies concerning the production of new knowledge, the transfer of this knowledge to make it socially useful and relevant, and its dissemination to raise awareness and appreciation.

The revitalization of craft heritage and traditional methods of manufacture using local natural resources, through the introduction of innovative processes, novel improved materials, or new uses, is of fundamental importance for low-density territories. Similarly, the preservation of immaterial cultural heritage is urgent, especially when stored on fragile physical supports that depend on specific technologies and/or formats that are quickly becoming obsolete.


© Lab2PT

This line of research, which promotes fundamental and applied, and transversal research, draws on the interdisciplinary composition of the different R&D units brought together in IN2PAST. The skills of the researchers and the capacity of the laboratories will be used to analyse, understand, interpret and enhance the urban, natural and rural territories and their ecological and cultural landmarks as heritage resources that can foster economic and social development.

This diverse disciplinary experience generates an internal network of human resources that constitutes a valuable tool to promote the scientific quality of the projects and results around the thematic axes of this line: Environment and land use; Urban forms and societies; Cultures and constructive practices; Imagery, representation and communities. These four axes converge in the strategy of heritage enhancement, particularly of cultural landscapes and territory, and innovation for sustainable development.

Experimentação sensorial em grupo e movimento na paisagem urbana, Festival Pedras, 2017, pelo coletivo artístico Centro em Movimento, Mouraria, Lisboa.

Being with the body in space, sensory group experimentation and movement in the urban landscape. ‘Pedras Festival’, by the artistic collective c.e.m (Centro em Movimento), Mouraria, Lisbon, 2017.

© Ana Moya

Research developed by IN2PAST’s researchers has contributed to knowledge, policies, governance, conservation, care, and curatorship of material and intangible heritage displayed in museums and monuments and by their collections. IN2PAST’s engagement with the concerns and needs of decision-makers and civil society has been further strengthened by applied and co-produced initiatives involving different academic and institutional stakeholders.

In recent years, collections reassessments and new challenges to the display of culture have emerged from digital transformation, touristification processes, and international crises such as the pandemic and war conflicts. IN2PAST’s researchers hold the scientific capital and experience in citizen science to address these challenges through collaborative and interdisciplinary initiatives with respect to issues of cultural diversity, artistic practice, ethics, sustainability, and intellectual property, while countering territorial and social asymmetries, and promoting a more democratized access to heritage and cultural representation.

"Jogo de Sombras", de Hans-Peter Feldmann

‘Shadow Play’, by Hans-Peter Feldmann.

© Julian Stallabrass

An archive, as a collection of materials of historical relevance, or the place or site where those materials are kept, is a memory institution. Textual, graphical, visual, audio, and mixed materials – which are the traditional categories in physical archives – together with other cultural artefacts are massively being transferred into digital objects.

Digital presentation facilitates access and understanding of single objects in a contextual way. However, digitalization faces critical issues of technological obsolescence, requiring the creation of sustainability strategies.

Memory institutions and the objects, physical or digital, they collect and itemise, broadly understood as archives, are, therefore, the focus of this thematic line.

Research will address pressing concerns about memory institutions, stemming from transverse problems raised by preservation (including the crucial selection of memory objects, digitization, conservation – especially preventive conservation – and restoration of materials), sustainability, funding, trusteeship, and access, to advise on criteria for public policies and ethics in this area.

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© Autor

The global increase in cultural circulation raises new issues concerning the making of social identities and memories. Encompassing cultural, political and scientific threads of research, this thematic line aims to discuss and critically promote: a) inclusive societies, including Portugal’s colonial and anti-colonial legacies, as well as its current forms of exchange with the Global South; b) the development of policies leading to a renewed global positioning of Portugal.

TL5 will focus in three major areas of research: 1) Promoting critical forms of historical commemoration, including the role of inclusive citizenship in the memorialization of violent pasts; 2) Translating this inclusive citizenship into the making of diasporic archives developing more pluralistic transnational memories; 3) Inserting Portuguese state policies in international debates on difficult memories, ranging from ongoing work on the memory of fascism to the memories of colonial violence and anti-colonial struggles.

Casa de Reclusão Militar em Luanda, em obras para ser transformada em Museu da Luta de Libertação de Angola, outubro de 2023.

Photo of the ‘archive’ of the former Companhia do Búzi in Beira, Mozambique.

© Ruy Blanes