The Youth Forum Program

About The Youth Forum

The Youth Forum will be held over three days from Friday 2 to Sunday 4 October 2020 on Cockatoo Island, situated in the famous Sydney Harbour, parts of which are inscribed as part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.

This event will welcome emerging heritage professionals from across the world to share skills and experiences, debate contemporary heritage issues, discuss innovative practices and pose outcomes for the future of heritage.

Designed as a combination of interactive, energetic and explorative workshops, plenary sessions, group and site-wide exercises, the Youth Forum won’t be the usual formal lecture style experience delegates may be used to.

This event is proudly supported by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the Major Partner of the GA2020 Youth Forum.

Youth Forum Themes

The Youth Forum will to equip emerging professionals with enhanced skills in knowledge sharing and engagement, positioning them as creators and champions for innovative approaches to heritage best practice within their local communities.

Through social connectivity, global professional networking and future focus, the Youth Forum will deliver contemporary and innovative approaches to the conservation and celebration of significant monuments, sites and cultural landscapes, around the world.

The themes of the Youth Forum 2020 are: Stain, Grain and Re-Frame. These themes have been devised deliberately to be abstract and adaptable, with past, present and future focuses.

This will allow our collaborators and delegates to engage with the themes through a wide variety of interpretations, and for program content and learnings to be diverse and inclusive.


How are places stained by the past, and shaped by contemporary heritage practice?

  • Stain is defined as “marking something that is not easily removed” and often viewed as a negative. We will refocus the word to embody all historical evidence and events.
  • Whether intangible or physical, stains add texture, layers of meaning and depth to connection/engagement with heritage places. They shape how we perceive, experience and feel about the world around us.
  • As young heritage practitioners, we have opportunity to imprint significant sites with new textures through intervention, and responsibility to impart new experiences through interpretation.
  • Stain encourages delegates to reflect on the practice and places known as heritage in all its guises – Indigenous/post-colonial, built/natural, tangible/intangible – and recognise these stains are integral to human experience and evolution.


How can we ‘move against the grain’ of major global trends in the context of a changing world?

  • The elemental materials of stone, soil, sand, salt, seed, timber and fibre have shaped human history, development, and sustained societies.
  • In the 21st century, human settlements are transitioning from coarse grain pattern of the industrial age, to fine grained cities, grappling with issues of density, diversity, inequity, sustainability and scarcity of resources.
  • A cultural landscape approach offers one framework for addressing these complexities, however the nature-culture divide persists.
  • Grain encourages delegates to think from the highly localised to the globalised, to investigate how material culture, cuisine, fabric and the drastically altered natural environment, is shaping and making new demands on heritage practice and discourse, and a globalised culture.


What is the future of heritage, and where and how do we as emerging professionals fit in?

  • Re-frame asks us to imagine the future of heritage practice – locally and globally, and its influence on economics, experiences and evolution.
  • What are the possibilities for the redesign of heritage, including new technologies, new thought paradigms and new structures?
  • Heritage practice has the opportunity to leverage the benefits offered by the digital age. Technological advances have the potential to transform the process around recording, reusing and interpreting heritage places.
  • Re-frame invites new and diverse voices into the discourse and considers how best to integrate new technologies and techniques into conservation practice and how to incorporate expanded definitions of heritage into strong and robust protections and management frameworks.


The working language of the Youth Forum is English. A good knowledge of English is essential, for the benefit of the individual participants and effective communication during the Youth Forum.


14:00 – 18:30 Delegate arrive on Cockatoo Island by Sydney Ferry
Registration and accommodation check-in
Familiarisation and tours by SHFT
Welcome to Country by Metro Local Aboriginal Land Council
18:30 – 21:00

Introduction to Youth Forum
“G’day Mate” Aussie BBQ Dinner

  Stain Grain Re-Frame
06:00 – 07:00 Session 1 (optional) Session 1(optional) Session 1(optional)
07:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:00 – 11:00 Session 2 Session 2 Session 2
11:30 – 11:30 Morning Tea
11:30 – 13:00 Session 3 Session 3 Session 3
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 Session 4 Session 4 Session 4
15:30 – 16:00  Afternoon Tea
16:00 – 17:00 Session 5 Session 5 Session 5
17:00 – 18:30 Free time
18:30 – 21:00

Keynote Address
Youth Forum Networking Reception 

  Stain Grain Re-Frame
06:00 – 07:00 Session 6 (optional) Session 6 (optional) Session 6 (optional)
07:00 – 09:00 Breakfast
09:00 – 11:00 Session 7 Session 8 Session 9
11:30 – 11:30 Morning Tea
11:30 – 13:00 Session 8 Session 8 Session 8
13:00 – 14:00 Concluding address and Youth Forum wrap up
“Cyas Laters” Lunch
14:00  Delegates Depart Cockatoo Island by Sydney Ferry
Evening ICOMOS GA 2020 Welcome Reception

Waremah Youth Forum Patrons