A Critical Analysis of Heritage Preservation in Libya

Episode 150

A Critical Analysis of Heritage Preservation in Libya

In this podcast, AIMS Cultural Heritage Fellow Reem Furjani discusses her research in the Old City of Tripoli, the field of critical heritage studies and her work bridging scholarly research and practice. Cultural heritage studies is a burgeoning academic field that seeks to contribute and expand classic work on heritage practices by introducing bottom-up approaches to preservation theory and practice. Reem’s work specifically integrates the involvement, thoughts and practices of inhabitants in preserving sites and spaces. In this approach, heritage moves beyond a static condition and instead becomes a living, and dynamic area of focus. Furjani eloquently condenses this academic field into approachable terms, thereby putting her own work in critical heritage studies into practice. The debate on heritage is not and should not be approached as something exclusive and limited to a field of technical experts, but as an inclusive movement that takes into consideration those living and experiencing heritage every day. Furjani integrates examples and experiences from her own work, specifically her various projects in the Old city of Tripoli, throughout this talk.


Reem Furjani is a cultural activist and researcher focused on critical heritage studies and cultural democracy. She is the founder and director of Scene, a non-profit that protects cultural heritage in Tripoli. She is completing her PhD and holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from Cardiff University. Furjani was the AIMS Libya Cultural Heritage Fellow and is currently a fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies.


This podcast is part of "Libya Studies" series and was recorded at Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT) on April 26, 2022 with Neely Egan, the CEMAT Cultural History of Tourism Researcher. 

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We thank Dr. Jonathan Glasser, Cultural Anthropologist at au College of William & Mary, for his istikhbar in sika on viola for the introduction and conclusion of this podcast.

Edited & Posted by: Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).

Suggested Bibliography

Furjani, Reem. “Authentic Orchestrations & Orchestrated Authenticity.” Presentation at the ASOR 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, November 12-15 & 19-22, 2020.


Ripp, Matthias. 2018. “Heritage as a System and Process That Belongs to Local Communities.” Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. Council of Europe.


Ripp, Matthias. Dennis, Rodwell. 2018. “Governance in UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Reframing the Role of Management Plans as a Tool to Improve Community Engagement.” In Aspects of Management Planning for Cultural World Heritage Sites, 241–53. Springer.

Meyers, Rachel. 2017. “A New Examination of the Arch of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus at Oea.” Journal of Ancient History 5(1): 1-41 doi:10.1515/jah-2016-0021.



Staiff, Russell. Re-Imagining Heritage Interpretation: Enchanting the Past-Future. London: Routledge, 2014.


Waterton, E, and S Watson. 2013. Heritage and Community Engagement: Collaboration Or Contestation? London: Routledge, 2010.