In July 2018 ACHS sought expressions of interest for election to the ACHS Executive Committee. Officers will be elected by the Members at the General Meeting in Hangzhou, China and will serve a 2-year term. ACHS will elect 4 new members to the Executive Board.
Candidates were asked to send a short statement that outlined relevant experience and their aims for the Association. The 10 candidates are listed (alphabetically) below: 

  1. Samuel Akinsurojo

  2. Tokie Laotan Brown

  3. Yiping Dong

  4. Juan A. García-Esparza

  5. Yu Hua  

  6. Plácido González Martínez

  7. Mathews Mfune

  8. Anjali Krishan Sharma

  9. Huimei Liu

  10. Donia Zhang


Samuel Akinsuroju

Nigeria, Fellow at Culture and Natural Heritage Foundation, Idanre, Nigeria

Statement: Samuel Emilagba Akinsuroju hails from Idanre, Ondo State (a town with socio-cultural assets that attract visitors). He was born on the 24th of April, 1989. He graduated from the prestigious Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State in 2012. He had his National Youth service in Idah Local government of Kogi State. There he worked as an assistant Lecturer at the reputable Federal Polytechnic, Idah. In honour of his service, he was awarded a letter of commendation in recognition of his unique sense of responsibility, understanding and maturity dedication to duty and loyalty during his period of Nation service at the institution.

Also, he was awarded a certificate of honour in recognition of his service as the provost National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) Culture, Leisure and Tourism Community Development Service(CDS) Group. Idah Local Government also awarded him most creative corps member in recognition of his excellent performance in community service development. He also received a state award in recognition of his outstanding service to the people of Kogi State.

In his quest for the promotion of heritage studies, he is currently a research fellow of the Cultural and Natural Heritage Foundation, Idanre (a Non-governmental organization that is committed to heritage studies and research). He has published a number of papers in professional journals and has attended many conferences and workshops. His latest publication is “The Beauty of Idanre Kingdom” which is an outcome of dedicated research borne of passion for Idanre Community as an home of heritage. With this book, he projected Idanre community as a location of cultural and historic importance. As a member cum officer executive committee of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, he would do more to promote heritage as critical area of enquiry. As member of ACHS, he has worked with his organization (Cultural and Natural Heritage Foundation, Idanre), to manage heritage sites which has led to many heritage workshops and seminars thereby promoting ACHS as world heritage organization. He was at the launching of ACHS at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He was one of the invited persons at the celebration of 2016 World Tourism day organized by the Ondo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He is passionate about heritage and he sees heritage as economic development tool.

Tokie Laotan Brown

University of Nova Gorica

Statement: Tokie is an associate member of International Network of Traditional Building Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU), Construction Industry of Builders (CIOB) in Ireland, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologist (CIAT) UK and UK-Green Building Council. A contributing Member on the ISCCL and represents Nigeria on ICOMOS-IFLA. Tokie also works as a Conservation Environmental Architectural Technologist and Cultural Economist with Merging Ecologies. Founder and women-led, Tea Group Ltd, which maintains a bespoke sustainable and heritage infused design development solutions. A Joint PhD research in Economics and Techniques in the Conservation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage with the University of Nova Gorica and Università Iuav di Venezia in Italy.

Supporting ACHS: improving links with African Scholars both in Diaspora and in Africa, Evolving relationships are affecting the way that Critical heritage research is conducted and I believe ACHS will encourage modes of exchange that promote the conduct of research carefully, in a good way. Such questions will ultimately challenge existing and emerging research practice by questioning what, more precisely, is meant by “Critical Heritage research” and in what way, and to what extent, the Indigenous voice informs and guides it. Improving links with practitioners in the field, researchers, academicians and the community which includes indigenous voices.

Yiping Dong

Associate Professor Department of Architecture at Xi’an Jiaotong, Liverpool University

Dr. Yiping Dong is a trained architect and architectural historian. She has a Master of Architecture Design and Theory, and completed her PhD in Architecture History and Theory from Tongji University in 2013. She is active in researches related to built environment heritage.  

She is the deputy secretary of Urban and Rural Built Heritage Academic Committee under Architectural Society of China, an academic member of IAHAC (Industrial Architecture Heritage Academic Committee) of China; member of TICCIH (International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage); and a member of ACHS (Association of Critical Heritage Studies). Her research interests include: Critical Heritage Study, Heritage theory, Chinese architectural history and theory in a global context, Industrial heritage and heritage-led regeneration, Architectural design in context and the adaptive re-use of buildings.

Juan A. García-Esparza

Associate Professor at Universitat Jaume I, Spain

Statement: I am Associate Professor at Universitat Jaume I, Spain. I hold a PhD in Cultural Heritage. Identification, analysis and management -Universitat de València-, and a BSc (Hons) in Building Engineering -Universitat Politècnica de València-. According to my participation in more than 10 research projects and more than 20 publications in journals as sole author, it is proven that I am truly committed to knowledge transfer and to make a difference to science and heritage research impact, and quite capable of being engaged at the ACHS Executive Committee. The topics I am working on, and I feel closer to my interests are: Future Heritage, Heritage Management and Heritage Science in a broad sense, from landscape to housing –resiliency, transformation, regulation-, all of them from the point of view of the Sustainability of the Built Environment.

As scholar I visited the GTA Institut in the ETH in Zürich (Switzerland), the Department of Conservation at Gothenburg University (Sweden), the Department of Town Planning at Dublin Institute of Technology and the Irish Heritage Council (Ireland), and the GURU Research Group at Newcastle University (England). I have participated alongside local researchers in Syria and other countries from Maghreb. Some experiences explicitly show my capacity of understanding the physiognomy and fundamentals of other places and cultures, an example being Nordic. Finally, I blended personal and research interests when I surveyed and refurbished a Nineteenth Century Winery. The project was published in the International Journal of Architectural Heritage (2014) and it explains how to integrate a respectful refurbishment with necessary adaptations to the requirements of the climate. The outputs of a related recent research on ancient mortars has been published in the Journal of Cultural Heritage (2018).

Current research interests aim to provide a conceptual analysis of cultural ecosystem services and how they are linked to the concepts of landscape, heritage and identity. Nowadays I am interested in how cultural ecosystem services can be assessed and integrated into spatial and physical planning. From my field of expertise, cultural heritage conservation, I can provide tools for the analysis of historical values as well as historical drivers of change in landscapes that can add time‐depth to more spatially focused ecosystem assessments. A recent analysis has been published in Landscape Research (2018). Future research should propose that methods for valuation of cultural heritage and identity in built environments are integrated into assessments of ecosystem services to inform stakeholders for sustainable management.

Integrated implementation of conventions and instruments from the environmental and cultural heritage fields needs to be reviewed in terms of human cultures, knowledge systems, heritage values and social interactions shaped by the nature and conditions of the ecosystems in which culture is based. All these categories meet in my Chair on Historic Centres and Cultural Routes of Castellón, Spain, where traditional knowledge and local people, participation and appropriation, is often utilized in decision‐making for analysing the landscape and the ecosystem management, looking for enhancing heritage values and the cultural assets. This has been applied in a last paper, already accepted, in Sustainability (2018).

An overview of past efforts to value and protect ecosystem services concluded that more research is needed on developing (the assessment of vernacular cultural landscapes under) non‐monetary methods for valuing cultural ecosystem services. An exclusive focus on specific valuation of ecosystem outputs may run the danger of narrowing the debate and hinder the application of the idea. Cultural heritage is therefore not static but it is constantly changing and re‐evaluated, interpreted in various ways by different actors’ stories, knowledge systems and traditions, implying that an inclusive approach is crucial for sustainable management of landscapes. International Journal of Heritage Studies (2015).

Closing I believe that my professional background and my career development plan are an asset for the ACHS Executive Committee and I understand it as an opportunity that I would not want to miss out on. I hope my skills and knowledge are on your interest and we have a great experience working together.

Yu Hua  

Assistant Professor, Institute of Linguistics, Shanghai International Studies University, China

Dr. Yu Hua works as an assistant Professor in the Institute of Linguistics, Shanghai International Studies University. Her research interest lies in critical heritage studies, language and community making, action research, critical ethnography and so on. She has been working as a volunteer and participant observer in Liangzhu Culture Village in oral history and community building for more than 7 years. Her previous research focuses on the exploration of the vernacular ways of “safeguarding” intangible heritage. As she is living near the Liangzhu archaeological site, she is now working on the project of recording how the local agents with different connections to Liangzhu use various representative ways such as innovative dancing, local history writing, creative ancient tea ceremony and so on to “help” bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site. And how did the local governmental managers respond to different artistic ways of support. These contributions the local agents are striving to achieve reveal their different ways of imagining the past by living in the present. 

Plácido González Martínez

Associate Professor, College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Tongji University

Statement: Ph.D. Architect and Urban Planner, Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University since 2016. An expert in 20th Century Heritage, he is the drafter of the Spanish National Plan of Conservation of 20th Century Heritage for the Spanish Institute of Cultural Heritage, and member of the Advisory Board for the same Plan. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Iberian DOCOMOMO Foundation, and founding member of the GAMUC Research Team, studying Spanish colonial architecture and urbanism in Africa.

Committed with the dissemination of heritage, architecture and urban planning, he is Executive Editor of the Built Heritage journal, published by Tongji University Press. His research focuses on the history and theory of heritage, architecture and urban planning, with a particular interest in heritage conservation in China since he established in Shanghai. He has authored more than 80 publications, including books, book chapters, articles and reviews in specialized journals like Cities, International Journal of Heritage Studies, and Docomomo International Journal. Among his works, the book A la luz de Hilberseimer was awarded the Research Prize of the 14th Spanish Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in 2018.

He sees the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) as a necessary platform from which to interpret and influence the rising importance of heritage, particularly in developing societies such as China. As a faculty in one of China’s top institutions in heritage education and research, he is offering his expertise in the editorial field, as well as his experience in the organization of scientific events, as valuable assets to contribute to the advancement of the ACHS in the future. Other skills, such as his knowledge of Spanish, English, French, German, and Chinese languages, may serve also to the efforts of internationalization of the ACHS.

Mathews Mfune

Executive and Artistic Director for Sungani Zakwathu Cultural Heritage Association, Malawi

Statement: I am a 46 year old Matthews Mfune,the Executive and Artistic Director of Sungani Zakwathu Cultural Heritage Association based in Malawi.Our Cultural NGO mainly is aimed at preserving,protecting and promoting the Malawi's Cultural Heritage.

I have been the founder and head of this NGO for 7 years now. Academically, I am not a graduate but having grown up in our village,I have had the passion for cultural heritage since my childhood when we used to dance our Malipenga traditional dance and listening to my grandmother storytelling.That is why after working in the marketing and research sectors for some time,I thought of founding a cultural NGO in 2011.And since then I have been working with various community groups across the ten main ethnic groups that we have across the country on mini cultural festivals due to limited resources to organise national and bigger events.

In 2014, I was also one of the practitioners who were trained by the Malawi National Commission of UNESCO and the Museums of Malawi to be the Trainers of Trainers on the 2003 UNESCO Convention on Community Based Inventorying of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.And since then,we have been engaged in a number of community training on the ICH and preparation of some elements for nomination on the World Heritage list. Presently,I have also managed to organise the ten cultural heritage groups or associations that we have in the country into one umbrella body called Malawi Cultural Heritage Association to be a sub sector of the Malawi Tourism Council,where we aim to collectively raise awareness,enhance and promote the ICH elements into viable tourism products.For your information,each of these ten cultural heritage groups,have very rich cultural values,beliefs,norms,etc.

Anjali Krishan Sharma

B.Arch, Ph.D., RIBA Chartered member

Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy, UK (Advance HE)

Statement: Professionally trained as Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) and PhD from School of Planning and Architecture; New Delhi a premier institution of the country also acknowledged as “Institute of National importance” by Government of India. My doctoral study was on Sustainability of Living Historic Cities in India; Case Study: Jaipur. Currently Associate member of INTBAU-India Member of The Forum UNESCO - University & Heritage; Spain; Associate Membership: ASC/2017/137 of ICOMOS, India : (a) Member of National Scientific Committee for Cultural Landscapes, ICOMOS-India ICOMOS-IFLA( ISCCL) (b) Member of National Scientific Committee for Cultural Landscapes, ICOMOS-India ( CIIC).

Presentations/ publications- national/international

Invited as a speaker at working group meeting of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) focussed on “Inclusive approach a Culture of Regional indigenous planning: case example of Jaipur” National and International publications i.e. “The Traditional Built Environs of Indian Cities; Conservation- for Sustainable Development”; “Sustainable Urban Development Bridging the gap of Old and the New”; Japan and “Historic City – A Case of Resilient Built Environment” Australia. [ Open access, Original research article Procedia Engineering, Volume 180, 2017, Pages 1103-1109 ]

Examiner for doctoral study

Thesis Title: Rejuvenating the Heritage character of Aligarh Muslim University; India by Mohammad Farhan Fazli

Worked for UNESCO

for IHCN: Indian Historic Cities Network                              

Prepared a review report for WMF-Watch Nominations 2018 for India,

For one of the nomination site of Chandani chowk: main street in walled city of Delhi.( city about four hundred years old)

Research Consultancy

on “Architectural elements of Indian Styles” with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi, India.  

Special lectures/ workshop

on “Climate Change and World Heritage” at Chandigarh College of Architecture, India.

at Department of Architectural Conservation; School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

In the pipeline

Chapter entitled “Smart initiatives for sustaining community cultural spaces in Historic Towns of Himalayas” for a book on ‘Smart Living Communities’ to be published by Springer in 2019.

The primary aim of ACHS is to promote heritage as an area of critical enquiry. With its existing Chapters and networks I shall initiate ACHS- India chapter as the country has rich cultural heritage and despite the existing set up there are gaps and has huge opportunity as cultural heritage is global resource irrespective of its location.

Huimei Liu


Zhejiang University

Statement: Visions: To develop the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS)’ foundations in

China; To reflect on the integration of China scholars and/or China studies to the ACHS; To sustain the growth of ACHA in Asia; To bring ideas, philosophies and perspectives of Chinese heritage to the ACHS

Huimei Liu is currently Deputy Dean of cross cultural and regional studies, and Deputy Director of Asia Pacific Center for the Education and Studies of Leisure (APCL), Zhejiang University. She was a Fulbright scholar during 2007-2008 in her visit to Pennsylvania State University, and was also awarded scholarships from Zhejiang University, China Scholarship Council and Bao’s Foundation to be a visiting scholar to University of Alberta between 2012-2014, Jan.-July,2016.

Her research interests are interdisciplinary, including leisure studies, cultural heritage studies, and cultural memory. She has published in leading journals such as Leisure Sciences, Leisure Studies, and Social Research Indicators etc. She is one of the editors for the journal Leisure Studies. She is also the Board Member of the Sociology of Leisure.

She is working towards integrating cultural heritage studies and leisure/tourism studies. She becomes a member of ACHS in 2016 and was the session organizer on “leisure as heritage: reconceptulize heritage and leisure” at the third ACHS biennial conference in Montreal Canada and on “Heritage and Leisure/Recreation/Tourism” at the fourth ACHS conference in Hangzhou China.

She is also preparing for the establishment of China Chapter of ACHS.

Meanwhile, during the past ten years, she has been key member or principal researcher of several projects focusing on heritage and cultural memory in several Chinese villages and cities, such as Dongwushan village and Quzhou city. Currently, she serves as consultant for heritage and tourism interpretation system for museums, tourism bureaus and other local governments. All these empirical experience has enabled her to integrate theories in cultural heritage and leisure/tourism studies into practical projects. Also this further enriches her teaching in the lectures such as Cultural and Heritage Studies, Leisure and Culture.

During her teaching, she has the opportunities to share her knowledge both in leisure studies and cultural heritage studies to students from many countries who are visiting students/scholars to Zhejiang University. The class encourages discussion of diversity of culture and heritage, which helps build cross-cultural understanding among people from different cultures, nations and ethnics.

Huimei would like to apply for the executive member and serve the ACHS humbly with her expertise.

Donia Zhang

Director, Neoland School of Chinese Culture

Statement: Dr. Donia Zhang is the Director of the Neoland School of Chinese Culture and an Associate of the City Institute at York University, Canada. She has over 20 years of research experience in interdisciplinary studies of architectural humanities and social sciences, particularly the interrelations of housing, health, happiness, and cultural sustainability. She has authored four scholarly books with one in progress: Courtyard Houses of Beijing: Past, Present, and Future (2009/2010/2011), Schoolyard Gardening as Multinaturalism: Theory, Practice, and Product (2009), Courtyard Housing and Cultural Sustainability: Theory, Practice, and Product (2013/2016), Courtyard Housing for Health and Happiness: Architectural Multiculturalism in North America(2015/2017), and The Curriculum for Chinese Culture (forthcoming, 2020).

Moreover, she contributed two chapters to the eBook, Dialogues of Sustainable Urbanisation: Social Science Research and Transitions to Urban Contexts (2015), and over a dozen articles in academic journals, such as URBAN DESIGN International, Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review, Architecture and Design Review, International Journal of Architectural Research, Journal of Architectural Research and Development, Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, and Journal of Contemporary Educational Research, among others. She is also a contributor of three entries and translated the Chinese lexicon for the Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World (2019, 2nd ed), hosted at Oxford Brookes University.

She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chinese Architecture and Urbanism (JCAU), an editorial board member of the Journal of Architectural Research and Development (JARD), an editorial board member of Architecture and Design Review (ADR), an editorial advisory board member of the Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs (JCUA), and an editorial advisory board member of Cambridge Scholars Publishing (CSP). Donia is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University (BArch, MA, PhD) in the UK and Brock University (MEd) in Canada. Her website: