Conferences and Workshops

The HeritageLab/Dhakira Center have hosted several workshops and conferences, as well as taken part in international and regional gatherings of scholars, museum and heritage professionals and artists.


One Ocean|One Heritage 28 April to 1 May, 2024 Abu Dhabi (Convener)

At NYUAD Institute, in collaboration with UNESCO, National University of Singapore, CIE­-Centre for International Heritage Activities. Heritage and the ocean are deeply intwined in coastal communities across the globe. The way our ancestors were affected and adapted to changes in climate is documented in both the cultural memory and the material traces of the past. Looking to the past for guidance and reflecting on the outcomes of COP 28, the Ocean Decade Conference, and the passing of the High Seas Treaty last March, we bring together ocean heritage scholars, policymakers, artists, and practitioners with the goal of fostering interdisciplinary “heritage future” projects that support and empower local communities.


Digital Common Ground: Community, Inclusivity and New Heritage Paradigms, July 2023  (Session Convener)at the 11th International Conference on Culture and Computing (C&C 2023), HCII2023. Copenhagen, Denmark.

Digital Mapping as Community Archives, May 2023, Eye Conference, Amsterdam, NDL. 

Roundtable & Press Conference: The Ocean’s Past Shapes Our Future: Cultural Heritage in Climate Change, COP 28, Dubai, December 2023.

This event focused on leveraging insights from underwater cultural heritage to understand past environmental conditions and devising ways to shield humanity’s treasures from the perils of climate change. It was a collaborative effort with UNESCO Paris and Cairo, Scripps Institute, and the Ocean Decade Heritage Network (ODHN), aligning with COP 28 goals and Sustainable Development Goals 6, 11.4, 13, and 14.

The panel included Robert, Parthesius (CIE) Nuria Sanz (UNESCO Cairo Office), Athena Trakadas (Ocean Decade Heritage Network) and Ulrike Guerin (UNESCO).

UNESCO Meeting on Mobilising Civil Society and the Community for the Cultural Heritage of the Oceans and UN SDG 14 Turkey, May 2022

CIE participated in the UNESCO/ICOMOS meeting in Kemer. Proposed a to organize a conference on the role of Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage in the UN–Ocean Decade Program. We agreed on the following theme and principal for both a roundtable at the COP 28 meeting in Dubai and a conference at New York University Abu Dhabi:

United Nations SDG 14, focused on conservation and the sustainable use of oceans seas and marine resources, is a key element in the Decade of Ocean Science.  Cultural Heritage plays a significant role in achieving this goal. As the process by which society interprets its past in the present and as an agent for community and identity formation, cultural heritage is, by definition, both forward facing and future-making.

Cultural heritage programs by UNESCO accredited universities and NGOs have access to a unique set of inter- and intra-disciplinary scientific and humanistic data that provides extraordinary insights into past solutions applied to changing environments, the impacts of sea level change and the sustainable management of marine resources and ecosystems.  A collaborative institutional interdisciplinary heritage studies methodology gives scientists and social and humanities scholars access to exceptional resources that allows them to tap from traditional knowledge systems and know-how solutions embedded in the world’s collective memory.”

The organisational partners agreed to invite representatives from the various stakeholders, State parties participating in COP 28 and UN Ocean related agencies (UNESCO, UNESCO IOC).

This roundtable is a prelude for a broader conference on the same theme in April 2024 hosted by NYUAD Institute, organised by multiple collaborative partners.

Global Oceans: Mapping Maritime Connections, (November 2021), Online

In collaboration with Dhakira–Center for Heritage Studies, NYUAD Institute. Ocean spaces and maritime pasts are increasingly relevant as a form of “shared heritage” and are emerging into the mainstream heritage discourse. The development of maritime archaeology around ships and shipwreck sites has driven both disciplinary research and heritage management decision-making. In recent years, however, this focus has shifted towards a broader perspective on maritime landscapes in which shipwrecks are often perceived as a colonial, dissonant features. Despite this, they remained a dominant element in understanding maritime heritage, maritime connections, and the maritime past. This workshop brought together archaeologists, heritage managers and designers from Africa, Europe and Asia to open discussions for establishing a foundation for a web-based mapping platform for understanding and analysing maritime connections through mapping long duree elements of historical, archaeological and social data associated with wrecks.

Regional Workshop on MUCH Abu Dhabi/Sharjah UAE, 2018/Jan 2019

CIE has developed collaboration with stakeholders in the Gulf Region in connection with the Western Indian Ocean and existing legality sites. In 2018 CIE worked with local partners on organizing a Regional Workshop on the Protection and Management of Maritime, Coastal and Underwater Cultural Heritage. The NYUAD Institute and Dhakira Center for Heritage Studies in partnership with CIE and in conjunction with UNESCO and ICCROM-ATHAR in Sharjah organized and hosted a 4-day workshop in January 2019 in Abu Dhabi. Experts from the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, UK, Tunisia, Spain, Lebanon and Italy, and national representatives of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Qatar. Experts and academics from NYUAD and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism were present. NYUAD students, faculty and staff attended the conference. The conference established a framework for regional cooperation in research and training and established a platform for data and resource sharing.

UNESCO: Inauguration Meetings of the Accredited NGOs to the 2001 Convention (May 2018 / Dec 2018), Paris

Initiated by CIE in collaboration with ICOMOS-ICUCH and The Maritime Archaeological Trust.

CIE Director Robert Parthesius chaired a session, “Adoption of Recommendations,” at the First Meeting of the Accredited NGOs to the 2001 Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Recommendations included the mechanisms for cooperation between international NGOs to further UNESCO’s goals for the protection of underwater cultural heritage, to build capacity in underwater archaeology and underwater cultural heritage management and promote the 2001 Convention best standards through NGO programmes, and to support initiatives of the International Decade of Ocean Science and Ocean.

Follow up meeting was held in December.

Unarchived Stories And Alternative Perceptions of Sultanahmet Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Changing Political Perceptions of the Sultanahmet Archaeological Park, a UNESCO WHS, August/September, 2022 – Nurcan Yalman & Sinan Cana, 28th EAA Annual Meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

Palestine is not a Checkpoint, August 2022 – Visual Evidence Conference, Gdansk Poland, by Alia Yunis.

Cultural Heritage Landscapes of the UAE, November 2018 – NYUAD Research Conference.

Memory of the UAE, Culture as a Basic Need, GCC Heritage and Oral History, October 2018 – Conference, Abu Dhabi, Department of Culture and Tourism.

The Role of Haptics in Digital Archaeology and Heritage Recording Processes, 2018 –2018 IEEE International Symposium on Haptic, Audio and Visual Environments and Games.



UNESCO/Dhakira RoundTable, 2023 – COP28, Dubai, UAE.

 Conferences, seminars and workshops (organization)


Abu Dhabi: Regional Workshop for the Protection of Maritime, Coastal and Underwater Cultural Heritage. NYUAD Institute/ Dhakira in collaboration with UNESCO, ICCROM and CIE-Centre for International Heritage Activities., UAE 28-31 January

Session: Sail/Canvas/Screen: Heritage Preservation and Recovery Across Geographies and Media at the 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS 11), Leiden 16-19 July 


Our world heritage?


Session: Digital Common Ground: Community, Inclusivity and New Heritage Paradigms. 11th Culture and Computing, HCII 2023 conference, Copenhagen, Denmark. 25-28 July

Roundtable: The Ocean’s Past Shapes Our Future: Cultural Heritage in Climate Change. Ocean Pavilion at COP 28. NYUAD/Dhakira in collaboration with UNESCO, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and CIE–Centre for International Heritage Activities, The Netherlands Dubai 5 December




Conference co-organiser.  Decolonisation, Legacies of Empire, and Contested Histories. Association for Art History, London, UK. Forthcoming, November 2024. (Alia Soliman)

Visual Scenes of Motherhood and Childhood in Orientalist Depictions: Narratives and Counter-narratives. On Motherhood and Its Shadows II. NYUAD. 20 February, 2024.  (Alia Soliman)

• “Abandoning Mothers in Contemporary Cinema: On the Complexities of Early Motherhood”. PechaKucha Presentation. On Motherhood and Its Shadows I. NYUAD. 12 May, 2023.  (Alia Soliman)

Conference co-organizer. On Motherhood and Its Shadows I. NYUAD. 10-12 May, 2023.  (Alia Soliman)

• Invited Speaker, “Digital Innovation and Cultural Heritage in Emirati Culture”. UAEU Symposium Series on Arts, Culture, and Innovation. United Arab Emirates University, UAE. 15 February, 2023.  (Alia Soliman)

  • Workshop speaker. Ekphrasis Reading and Writing Group: Workshop Ekphrasis: The Scene of Writing the Seen. The Limits of Alterity: Compulsive Visuality in Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station. University of Toronto 17-18 December 2021. (Alia Soliman)

• “Fetishisation and the Uncanny in Oskar Kokoshka’s Doll”. PechaKucha Presentation. Global New Voices Conference. UK Art History Association. 17 November, 2022.  (Alia Soliman)

• “Memories of the Migrant: Visual Expressions of Nostalgia in Sadik al Alfraji’s Art”. 4th International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Human Mobility and Cultural Identities Conference, Italy, International Centre for Studies of Arts and Humanities (ICSAH), Luis University, Rome, Italy 19-20 May, 2022.  (Alia Soliman)

• “The Pregnant Body in Louise Bourgeois’ Oeuvre.” Pockets, Pouches & Secret Drawers Conference. Institute of Modern Languages and Research. Virtual. December, 2021.  (Alia Soliman)

• “Domestic Claustrophobia and Hidden Trauma in Louise Bourgeois’ Art”. Counter Narratives and Hidden Histories Conference. Irish Association of American Studies (IAAS). Virtual. April 2021.  (Alia Soliman)

• “Conservation of Street Art: An Act of Cultural Heritage or Art Sabotage?”. 21st Modern and Contemporary Art Conservation Conference. Museum Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain, February 2020. (Alia Soliman)

Panel Chair: Simone de Beauvoir on Old Age. Simone de Beauvoir International Society Conference. Université Paris-Diderot, Paris, France, October 2019. (Alia Soliman)