Cultural Heritage, Digitalisation and Urban Diversity in Asia

Valerie Yeo Announcement
Subject Fields
Digital Humanities, Cultural History / Studies, Educational Technology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Archival Science




Cultural Heritage, Digitalisation and Urban Diversity in Asia
23-24 September 2021, Singapore
online via Zoom


In recent years, many Asian cities have invested in the digitalisation of cultural heritage, by developing virtual museum galleries, digitally enhanced experiences such as augmented reality or virtual reality, as well as participatory digital archiving platforms. In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, new kinds of digital experiences such as live-streamed performances and virtual city tours have become more widely available and gained enhanced popularity. These innovations are widely lauded for their potential to rejuvenate heritage, reach out to young publics, foster participation and interaction. But the implications of digitally enhanced heritage for urban diversity have been little explored. Does the digitalisation of cultural heritage enable broader participation, intercultural exchange, and the preservation urban diversity? Or does it generate new patterns of cultural fragmentation and contribute to the homogenization of culture?


The rise of new technologies have created new opportunities for cultural producers and heritage professionals to involve citizens in the co-construction of heritage and combine a variety of channels to engage with new audiences (Borowiecki and Forbes 2016). The combination of traditional and contemporary media contributes to a dynamic preservation of intangible heritage, adjusting to contemporary uses (Cominelli and Greffe 2012). Cultural heritage institutions have set up platforms of knowledge co-production and experimentations to foster the contribution of diverse communities (Jenkins et al. 2006). But there has also been a recurrent concern that digital technologies and social media accentuate cultural and social fragmentations (Colley 2015). Not only does the uneven access to technology exclude certain populations from digital services, digital spaces can be segmented along cultural lines, in contrast to the serendipitous encounters that happen in diverse urban spaces.


This conference wishes to advance the reflection on the opportunities and challenges that new technologies represent for heritage in diverse Asian cities. Proposals exploring one or more of the following questions are particularly welcome:

  • How can the digitalization of heritage help expand access to culture to diverse urban populations?
  • Which logics of cultural exclusion and fragmentation are generated or accentuated as a result of the digitalization of heritage?
  • What are the conditions to leverage the power of digital technology to enhance urban diversity?
  • Which risks does the rise of digital media represent for the preservation of diverse intangible heritage?
  • To what extent does digital heritage allow for more audience interaction and participation?
  • What is the respective role of public policies, private and civil society actors to foster digital heritage in highly diverse urban contexts?




Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (300 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission. Please use the paper proposal form and send it to Ms Valerie Yeo at by 15 May 2021.


Please also include a statement confirming that your paper has not been published previously, it is not committed elsewhere, and that you are willing to revise your paper for potential inclusion in a special issue submission (in collaboration with the workshop organizers and other participants).


Successful applicants will be notified by the end of May. Panel presenters will be required to submit drafts of papers (4,000-7,000) words by 15 August 2021. These drafts will be circulated to fellow panelists and discussants in advance. Drafts need not be fully polished. Indeed, we expect that presenters will be open to feedback from fellow participants.




Dr Jeremie Molho | Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Dr Dan Zhang | Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


Contact Information

Valerie Yeo
Asia Research Institute
National University of Singapore


Contact Email