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April 2, 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS – AHI Conference, 9th to 11th October 2019, Bedford

The conference theme is ‘Truth and Interpretation’.

In a time when the phrases ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ dominate news headlines and colour our views of social media, the media and politicians, it is time for interpreters to discuss ‘what is truth?’

How do we deal with issues of truth in our work – how do we define truth – by whom is the idea of truth created – can there even be such a thing as truth?

How do we as interpreters approach hidden and covered up stories, how do we decide to balance untold and accepted narratives?

With a conference site visit to Bletchley Park, there could be fertile inspiration for this theme.

Freeman Tilden wrote:

So, for the consideration of the interpreter, I offer two brief concepts
of Interpretation, one for his private contemplation, and the
other for his contact with the public. First, for himself: Interpretation
is the revelation of a larger truth that lies behind any statement
of fact. The other is more correctly described as an admonition, perhaps:
Interpretation should capitalize mere curiosity for the enrichment
of the human mind and spirit.

(Interpreting Our Heritage, 1957)

AHI are calling for abstracts of papers which address the following:

  • How can interpretation speak truth to power in the current political and cultural climate?
  • What is the role of heritage interpretation in addressing issues concerning truth, propaganda, secrets and the untold?
  • Where is Tilden’s ‘revelation of a larger truth’ in today’s interpretive practice and what demonstrates this?
  • We welcome critical examination of case studies which address the conference theme.

The subject areas can cover all contexts of heritage – natural, built, intangible and AHI will aim to have all contexts represented throughout the conference.

Presentations can be 25 minutes long. Workshops can be 55 minutes long and will always be characterised by the active involvement of participants.

Presenters should be prepared to take questions on their presentations – this may be at the end of their presentation or as part of a plenary Q&A session.

There may be the opportunity for presentations followed by facilitated discussion. If you wish to present in this form please indicate a time requirement.

Please note: no more than two presenters per presentation please.

Abstracts, 500 word maximum, should be submitted to We look forward to receiving your abstracts of papers by 29 April 2019.

Any queries regarding abstracts or submissions please contacts Sheena Irving ( or Kev Theaker (