Museums, Immigrants, and Social Justice, Routledge, 2017

The interdisciplinary book, Museums, Immigrants, and Social Justice assesses how museums can offer a powerful, and often overlooked, arena for both exploring and acting upon the interrelated issues of immigration and social justice. Based on three in-depth European case studies, spanning France, Denmark, and the UK, the research examines programs developed by  leading museums to address cultural, economic, social and political inequalities. Where previous studies on museums and immigration have focused primarily on issues of cultural inequalities in collection and interpretation, Museums, Immigrants, and Social Justice adopts a more comprehensive focus that extends beyond the exhibition hall to examine the full range of programs developed by museums to address the cultural, economic, social and political inequalities facing immigrants.

Museums, Immigrants, and Social Justice offers compelling insights on the ability of museums to offer positive contributions to the issues surrounding immigration and social justice at a time when both are pressing issues in Europe. It will be of interest to scholars and students of museum studies, migration studies, sociology, human geography and politics.


L’Impact de la Culture en Europe, l’Harmattan, 2016

9782343102849rL’Impact de la Culture and Europe considers a new orthodoxy: culture–led development or regeneration engenders significantly contribute to people’s economic and social situations, notably through employment and the strengthening of social cohesion and collective identity. But what data supports these overtly positive conclusions? This book critically analyses how the new orthodoxy is sustained and which aspects are perceived as problematic. It focuses on four case studies in Europe: Salford and Liverpool in the UK, Krakow in Poland and Lille in France. Key recommendations are detailed in the conclusion, to improve models of regeneration and evaluation.


Labadi, S. and Logan, W. (eds) 2015. Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability. Routledge

9781138845756More than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas, and cities provide the setting for contemporary challenges such as population growth, mass tourism and unequal access to socio-economic opportunities. Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability examines the impact of these issues on urban heritage, considering innovative approaches to managing developmental pressures and focusing on how taking an ethical, inclusive and holistic approach to urban planning and heritage conservation may create a stronger basis for the sustainable growth of cities in the future.


Academic Areas: Museums, Migrants and Social Justice; Heritage and Development; International Heritage; 

Museums, Immigrants and Social Justice is the topic of my latest research. Museums are possibly some of the most overlooked resources that have the potential to reduce inequalities within and outside of the cultural domains for disfranchised individuals. Little comprehensive and interdisciplinary research has been carried out on recent programs by museums that offer language learning courses as well as employment and volunteering opportunities. Indeed, most existing research focuses on programmes offered by museums that represent and interpret immigrants’ histories, heritage and identities.  For the first time, this research now considers, in a holistic and comprehensive manner, the programmes developed by museums to address cultural, economic, social and political inequalities that immigrants face. This research is based on in-depth case studies in three European countries (Denmark, England and France), to identify how these programmes contribute to   social justice, their shortcomings, and their patterns of immigrants’ exclusion.

Heritage and Development is a topic I became involved in after winning the 2008 Cultural Policy Research Award. This award financed my research on evaluating the socio-economic impacts of selected regenerated heritage sites in Europe. An update and revised French version of this book has been published under the title ‘L’impact de la culture. Évaluation des impacts socio-économiques de projets de régénération culturelle en Europe’ in 2016 by L’Harmattan.

I have also co-edited (with Professor Logan) a Routledge volume on Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability. This volume, released at the end of 2015, contain some of the papers presented at the conferences on Historic Urban Landscapes, organised in collaboration with the Centre for Heritage at the University of Kent, Stanford University and Cergy-Pontoise University.  In addition, I have worked on this topic for both UNESCO and the World Bank.

International heritage was the subject of my 2013 book. Entitled UNESCO, Cultural Heritage, and Outstanding Universal Value (AltaMira, 2013; released in paperback in 2015), this book analyses the implementation of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention, as well as how these conventions relate to the representation of the nation, diversity, tourism and conservation theories. This volume benefited from active involvement in the work of the secretariat of the World Heritage Convention, of the Intangible Heritage Convention and in major UNESCO publications for over past ten years.



September: Invited to give a Keynote Speech at the Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Spain).

July: Invited to take part in the sandpit session on Digital Humanities and Natural Disasters at the University of Essex

July: Invited to give a talk on my research on Heritage and Development at Kaleidoscopio (Maputo, Mozambique).

January: Invited by FARO (Brussels, Belgium) to present my books on ‘UNESCO, Cultural Heritage, and Outstanding Universal Value’ and on ‘Museums, Immigrants and Social Justice’

January: Invited to present my work on Museums and Immigration at the workshop ‘Dealing with Islam in Berlin’s Museum Context’ – Humboldt Universität, Berlin.

 photo sophia2017

December: Invited to give a talk on World Heritage values for the 20th anniversary of the inscription of Carcassonne (France) on the World Heritage List.

December: Invited to give the Opening Lecture of the MA in Management of Cultural Heritage Institutions and Sites (Politecnico di Milano)

September: Invited to give a Keynote Speech at the ‘Communicating World Heritage’ Conference – Birmingham University

June: Invited to give a talk on Cultural Heritage for Development Indicators at the conference: ‘Cultural Heritage Counts for South East Europe’ (Belgrade)

May: Invited to give a Keynote on Museums, Immigrants and Social Justice at the ‘4th Heritage Forum of Central Europe’ (Poland)

May: Invited to participate in a Conversation on my book on UNESCO, with Prof. Nic Craith, Heriot-Watt University (Edinburgh)

May: Invited to give a talk on UNESCO and local community participation at the ‘Sharing Heritage, Sharing Experience Workshop’, Edinburgh University

March: Invited to take part in the Brexit and Heritage workshop- Newcastle University (declined- on maternity leave)

February: Invited to give a talk on heritage tourism at the research seminar of the Équipe interdisciplinaire de Recherches en Tourisme at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


November: Invited to take give a talk on intangible heritage at ‘PastForward, the annual national preservation conference’ (USA)

July: Invited to give a paper on World Heritage management at the ‘Evidence on Trial’ conference at Durham University

June: Invited to give a provocation on sustainable development at the conference of the Association for Critical Heritage Studies (Montreal)

March: Debate on Museums and Social Justice, organised at the Beaney Museum in Canterbury.



November: Invited to present my research on World Heritage at the Ethnology seminar, Lucerne University

October: Invited to give a talk on my research at the 23rd ENCATC Annual Conference, Italy

April: invited to present my research on Museums, Migrants, and Social Justice at the ‘Limits of Heritage symposium’, Deakin University

February: Invited to present my research on Gender and World Heritage at Manchester University

January: Invited by UNESCO to take part in the international workshop on ‘Policy on sustainable development in the processes of the World Heritage Convention (WHC)’ (Vietnam)


October: Invited by UNESCO to take part in the international workshop on ‘Policy on sustainable development in the processes of the WHC’ (University of Cottbus – Germany)

September: Invited by the National Gallery of Denmark to present the preliminary results of my research on Museums, Migrants and Social Justice

September: Invited by the Swedish National Heritage Board to present ‘The socio-economic impacts of heritage sites’ (results of my 2011 book) at the international workshop: “The Impact of Cultural Heritage – strategies for historic and innovative urban development” (Sweden)

July: Invited to take part in the workshop on ‘Understanding Heritage Values’; Eindhoven University of Technology

July: Invited to take part in the conference ‘Economic Crisis, Heritage and Identity’, UCL

March: Invited by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to present UNESCO’s work on intangible heritage at a HLF workshop

March: Invited by ICOMOS Norway to take part in a workshop on World Heritage and Human Rights

February: Invited to present a paper on ‘UNESCO, Outstanding Universal Value, and Beyond’ at the World Heritage Site lecture series, Durham Universityimages (2)


December: Invited to present my research on the National Museum on Immigration History at the seminar on ‘Conflict and Migration in Museum’, Victoria and Albert Museum

November: Invited to deliver a Keynote Speech on ‘Identifying the socio-economic impacts of World Heritage: an impossible mission?’ International conference: ‘Between dream and reality: Debating the impact of World Heritage Listing’, University of Oslo, Norway

November: Invited to take part in the meeting on Heritage and Youth organised by the Conseil régional de Bretagne, France

October: Invited to present a paper on ‘UNESCO, Outstanding Universal Value, and Beyond’ at Cambridge University research seminar

October:  Invited to present a paper on ‘ UNESCO, Cultural Heritage and Outstanding DU24zq8XkAIfGceUniversal Value’  – AHRC funded workshop on ‘the identification and appropriation of cultural world heritage sites’ (University of Kent)

July: Invited to deliver a Keynote Speech on ‘The Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainability in Heritage Studies’, Cottbus University International Summer Academy

July: Invited to present my research on the National Museum on Immigration History at the ‘Memory Matters’ conference, held at the University of East London

January: Invited to deliver a Keynote Speech on impacts of heritage regeneration (2011 book) at the closing conference of the EU funded Euromed Heritage programme (Fez, Morocco)


November: Invited to take part in the reflection on the future of Heritage in the Mediterranean region, as part of the reflection for the closure of the EU funded Euromed Heritage Programme

July: Invited to present a paper on Heritage spaces and development policies’ at the Global heritage — worlds apart’ conference, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

April: Invited to present my research on the National Museum on Immigration History at Stanford University

January: Invited to present a paper on ‘World Heritage as debatable lands?’ at the workshop on ‘Debatable Lands’, Durham University

January: Invited to give two Architectural conservation Masterclasses at the University of Edinburgh


December: Invited to give a presentation on Heritage in Times of Crises at the International conference on ‘The Arts in Times of Crises’. Université Cergy-Pontoise

November: Invited to present the results of the book on the socio-economic impacts of heritage regeneration in Europe. Université de La Rochelle

October: Invited to present the results of the book on the socio-economic impacts of heritage regeneration in Europe at the 5th Young Cultural Policy Researchers Forum (Helsinki, Finland)

July: Invited to take part in a brainstorming session at the European Commission on Culture and Regional Development (Bruxelles)

January: Invited to present my research on Intangible Heritage at Stanford University


November: Invited to present my research on Museums, Migrants and Social Justice at Stanford University

March: Invited to present my research at the Center for Heritage and Society -UMass Amherst


 Sophia teaches me in one of my modules and is also my academic advisor and is exceptional at both ( 2014 Teaching Award nomination under the categories ‘Best Teacher’, ‘Fantastic Feedback’, ‘Best Supervision’, ‘Teaching Employability’)

I teach modules in Heritage Studies, Museum Studies, Archaeological Theory, Heritagempl_1733_170604

and Development and  Heritage and Human Rights. For the University of Kent, I have developed a Master’s programme in International Heritage and LawI created this programme to fill a gap in the formation of heritage specialists and legal experts. This MA aims to engage students with heritage, human rights, law and development, arguably the most central issues in the field of heritage studies today. Students can take a core module on heritage and development, and choose optional modules that cover Heritage and Human Rights, Archaeological Theory, Cultural Heritage Law, Intellectual Property Rights or Law and Development, before undertaking an extended dissertation over the summer.

I am currently supervising PhD students on topics relating to urban heritage and development; virtual reconstruction of heritage; the Council of Europe’s policies on culture and heitage; slavery in the Caribbean.

International Impacts

Since 2015

I took part in drafting the UNESCO Policy on the Integration of a Sustainable DZcKsJiWAAANO_BDevelopment Perspective into the Processes of the World Heritage Convention. This policy was adopted in November 2015 by UNESCO. I am currently working on the implementation of this policy.


At the request of UNESCO, I drafted the first policy on Gender Equality and World Heritage, presented in October 2014. This is part of a wider project on the Proposal for a Polic1d3bc44a89y on the Integration of Sustainable Development into the processes of the World Heritage Convention .

To prepare this policy, I used the data analysed in my 2013 book  (Chapter 4).  UNESCO has published a report on Gender Equality, Heritage and Creativity, which cites this book (2014, 38).


I was one of 5 external experts invited to provide background notes for discussion at the UNESCO International Congress « Culture: Key to Sustainable Development » (Hangzhou, China, 15-17 May). I wrote a contribution on ‘Culture, A Driver and an Enable of Social Cohesion’ to guide participants’ discussions and made proposals for the wording of ‘The Hangzhou Declaration: Placing Culture at the Heart of Sustainable Development Policies’:


From November 2012 to January 2013, I was invited by the EU to take part in the reflections, events and the international conference: ‘Towards a New Strategy for Cultural Heritage in the Mediterranean’, organised for the closure of the EUROMED Heritage programme.

 I was one of 6 experts invited to give a keynote speech at this conference and presented the results and case studies on heritage regeneration from my 2011 book Evaluating the socio-economic Impacts of Selected Regenerated Heritage Sites in Europe:

 The World Bank also invited me, in 2012, to use my 2011 book to assist the governments of India and Bhutan in protecting better their heritage and use it for regeneration. The output of this project was a World Bank Guidance Note (unpublished) I co-wrote with Eduardo Rojas, entitled ‘Heritage Management and Development for Social Inclusion and Economic Development’.


From 2004 to 2012, I occupied different functions at UNESCO, in the Secretariat of the 1972 World Heritage Convention and the 2003 Intangible Cultural Heritage Convention. I also participated in the strategic planning and drafting of the 2009 UNESCO World Report on Cultural Diversity. In addition, I was the Associate Editor of the International Social Science Journal, published by UNESCO, from 2008 to 2012.


UNESCO, Cultural Heritage, and Outstanding Universal Value, AltaMira Press, 2013

This book explor0759122563es the international legal framework developed by UNESCO to identify and protect world heritage and its implementation at the national level. Drawing on close policy analysis of UNESCO’s major documents, extensive professional experience at UNESCO, as well as in-depth analyses of case studies from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, Sophia Labadi offers a nuanced discussion of the constitutive role of national understandings of a universalist framework. The discussion departs from considerations of the World Heritage Convention as Eurocentric and offers a more complex analysis of how official narratives relating to non-European and non-traditional heritage mark a subversion of a dominant and canonical European representation of heritage. It engages simultaneously with a diversity of discourses across the humanities and social sciences and with related theories pertaining not only to tangible and intangible heritage, conservation, and archaeology but also political science, social theory, tourism and development studies, economics, cultural, and gender studies. In doing so, it provides a critical review of many key concepts, including tourism, development, sustainability, intangible heritage, and authenticity.


Labadi, S. and Long, C. (eds) 2010. Heritage and Globalisation. Routledge


This volume analyzes the politics, policy and practice of cultural heritage at the global level, identifying the major directions in which international heritage practice is moving, and exploring the key issues likely to shape the cultural heritage field well into the twenty-first century. It examines the tensions between the universal claims of much heritage practice, particularly that associated with the World Heritage system, and national and local perspectives. It explores the international legal framework developed since World War Two to protect heritage, particularly at times of war, and from theft, showing how contemporary global problems of conflict and illicit trade continue to challenge the international legal system.

Heritage and Globalisation critiques the incorporation of heritage in the world economy through the policies of international development organisations and the global tourism trade. It also approaches heritage from seldom-considered perspectives, as a form of aid, as a development paradigm, and as a form of sustainable practice.

The book identifies some of the most pressing issues likely to face the heritage industry at a global level in coming decades, including the threat posed by climate change and the need for poverty reduction. Providing a historically and theoretically rigorous approach to heritage as a form of and manifestation of globalisation, the volume’s emphasis is on contemporary issues and new fields for heritage practice.


Evaluating the socio-economic impacts of selected regenerated heritage sites in Europe. European Cultural Foundation. 2011.

‘Culture is a source of prosperity and cosmopolitanism ‘(Comedia, 2003).

téléchargement This quote by Comedia summarises a new orthodoxy: that culture-led development or regeneration engenders significant positive outcomes. It leads to economic growth, by attracting international events and creative businesses, and the benefits of that growth are shared by all citizens. What’s more, citizens are empowered through the creation or strengthening of individual and shared identity and social cohesion. However, this new orthodoxy has been heavily criticised. At a time of crisis and credit crunch, it becomes urgent to reassess this new orthodoxy.

This research critically analyses this new orthodoxy by studying existing regeneration models and methods for the evaluation of the socio-economic impacts of the regeneration of historic urban areas or cities. This research also aims to analyse critically the impacts identified through these analyses. The final goal of this research is to propose recommendations for improving impact evaluations and regeneration models. To address these aims, different cases in England, France and Poland have been compared and contrasted.