Laura Demeter studied History, Art History, Romance languages (Italian) at the University of Bucharest and the Ruhr University in Bochum, before joining the international UNESCO Master's Program in World Heritage Studies at the Brandenburg Technical University in Cottbus. Here she became particularly interested in how the legacy of the communist regimes has been dealt with in Central and Eastern Europe since 1989. In her dissertation ‘Picking up the Pieces from the Communist Past: Transitional Heritage after 1989 in Germany and Romania’, completed at the IMT School for Advanced Studies in Lucca, Italy (2017), she explored issues such as heritage-making processes, value creation and transitional heritage in the context of authoritarian regimes and regime changes.
Laura is an international scholar with experience in various national contexts, including Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK and Romania. She has an established record of international publications and fellowships, including a postdoctoral position at the Leibniz Institute for History and Culture in Eastern Europe (GWZO) in Leipzig (2019- 2020). She has been part of various international research projects, such as the Horizon 2020 EU Project Reflective Societies: ‘COURAGE. Cultural Opposition: Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in the former Socialist Countries’, as a research associate at Leibniz Institute for East- and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg (2017-2019). As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bucharest, her research focused on human rights issues and practices of heritage-making and destruction in (post-) socialist settings, such as communist Romania. Laura’s teaching at the University of Bologna focused on issues related to international comparative legislation in heritage protection and international organizations.
In 2021 she joined the interdisciplinary research consortium UrbanMetaMapping (Mapping and Transforming: An interdisciplinary analysis of city maps as a visual medium of urban transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, 1939–1949) as a research associate under the guidance of Dr.-Ing. Carmen Maria Enss.
Since 2014 she has been actively assisting the European Commission (Marie Sklodowska-Curie, EACEA Program and COST-Action) and the European Institute of the Cultural Routes as an external expert for the evaluation and funding of cultural and research projects.
- History and theory of heritage preservation
- Critical heritage studies
- Preservation of the 20th century heritage in Central and Eastern Europe
- International organisations (UNESCO, ICOMOS) and normative frameworks in heritage protection
- Human-rights, activism and heritage destruction under authoritarian regimes
- ‘Transitional Justice in Romania in Global Perspective’ (2018-2020) - CNCS-UEFISCDI Romania
- ‘COURAGE. Cultural Opposition: Understanding the Cultural Heritage of Dissent in the Former Socialist Countries’ (2016-2019) - H2020 EU Project Reflective Societies
Demeter, Laura. Picking up the Pieces from the Communist Past: Transitional Heritage after 1989 in Germany and Romania, PhD Thesis at the IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy, December 2017
ARTICLES IN PEER-REVIEW JOURNALS
Demeter, Laura. ‘Transnational Activism against Cultural Heritage Destruction as a Human Right Violation in Romania before and after 1989’, Revue d’ Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest, Special Issue: ‘Transnational Activism and the Globalisation of Anti-Communism after 1989’,Vol.51, No.2-3, November 2020:121-150
Demeter, Laura. ‘Regime Change and Cultural Heritage Protection, a Matter of State Security’, International Journal of Heritage Studies, Vol.25, Issue: Heritage, Revolution and the Enduring Politics of the Past, July 2018.
Demeter, Laura. ‘Reevaluating the GDR’s national cultural heritage: The Collections of the Museum for German History in Berlin before and after 1989’, Museums - Places of Authenticity? RGZM – Tagungen, Verlag des Römisch- Germanischen Zentralmuseum, edited by D. Kimmel, S. Brüggerhoff, Mainz, Universitätsverlag Heidelberg: Propylaeum, 2020:193-200. (ISBN. 978-3-88467-XXX)
Rainer Eckert, Laura Demeter, Uwe Sonnberg: ‘German Democratic Republic’, Cultural Opposition and its Heritage in Eastern Europe, The Handbook of COURAGE, edited by Balázs Apor, Peter Apor, and Sandor Horvath, 221-241, Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of History, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest: Prime Rate Kft. 2018 (ISBN: 978-963-416-142-4)
Demeter, Laura. ‘Picking up the pieces: traces of the communist past in Bucharest and Berlin’.ICOM International Conference: Museums and Politics, 9-14, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Russia, Sept. 2014: 323-334.
Demeter, Laura. ‘Assessing the cultural value of the communist legacy in Romania.’Heritage 2014: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development. Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development, 2014: 531-540. (ISBN 978-989-98013-6-3)
Demeter, Laura. ‘Value creation mechanisms and the heritisation of the communist legacy in Romania’.The Right to [World] Heritage: conference proceedings.IAWHP, 2014: 8-20. (ISBN 978-3-00-047536-8)
Demeter, Laura. ‘German Democratic Republic’, H2020 EU Project COURAGE Country Reports, Regensburg, November 2018 (http://cultural-opposition.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/D29-Country-Reports-157-188.pdf)
Demeter, Laura. Review: ‘Building a Common Past, World Heritage in Russia under Transformation 1965-2000’, by Corinne Geering, V&R Unipress, 2018, Connections, Centre for Area Studies, University Leipzig, published online June 2020
Demeter, Laura. Review: ‘Cuban Cultural Heritage. A rebel past for a revolutionary nation’, by Pablo Alonso González, Florida: University Press of Florida, 2018, 335pp., (hardcover), International Journal of Heritage Studies, ISSN: 1352-7258 (Print), March 2019
Demeter, Laura. Review: ‘From Antiquities to Heritage. Transformations of Cultural Memory’ (Time and the World. Interdisciplinary Studies in Cultural Transformations), by Eriksen, Anne, New York: Berghahn Books, (hardcover), 2014. (ISBN 978-1-78238-298-0; VII, 179), published online Sept. 2016
PRESENTATIONS AT CONFERENCES AND WORKSHOPS
‘Contested World Orders. The Global Heritage Discourse and Practice in Times of Crises and Conflict’, KDWT, Otto-Friedrich-University, 2.-3. December 2022.
‘Overcoming the Fascist Legacy and War Damages in Bucharest after the Second World’ War', 10th AISU Congress Torino “Adaptive Cities through the Postpandemic Lens”, Politecnico di Torino, 06.09–10.09.2022.
‘Heritage Restoration and Protection in Romania’s Challenging Political Context (1919-1948)’, International Conference “Restoration and Promotion of Architectural Monuments in Central and Eastern Europe in the 19th and First Half of the 20th Centuries”, Chair of the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zürich, 07.07-09.07.2022.
‘Transnational Activism against Heritage Destruction. Human Rights and Heritage Protection Debates in Eastern Europe’, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, DFG Research Training Group ‘Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings’, Lecture Series Heritage Politics & Current Affairs’, 07.12. 2021.
The Orthodox Church and Heritage Politics in Communist Romania and After 1989’, 3st Annual Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies Convention, ASEEES New Orleans, 02.12-03.12.2021 (online).
Cartographies of Catastrophes’, Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies (KDWT), Otto-Friedrich-Universität, Bamberg, November 2021
ACHS 2020 Heritage Futures, Association of Critical Heritage Studies 5th Biennial Conference, London, August 2020
51st Annual Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies Convention, San Francisco, Nov. 2019
2019 ASEEES Summer Convention, University of Zagreb, June 2019
‘Transnational Dimensions of Dealing with the Past in ‘Third Wave’ Democracies. Southern Europe, Central Eastern Europe, and the Former Soviet Union in Global Perspective’, University of Bucharest, Institut Universitaire de France, and Imre Kertesz Kolleg (Jena), Bucharest, April 2019
COURAGE Final Conference: ‘The Cultural Heritage of Dissent’, Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute for History Budapest, Nov. 2018
24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, ‘Reflective Futures’, Barcelona, Sept.2018
‘From Iron Curtain to National Identity and European Heritage’, European Cultural Heritage Summit, ICOMOS Germany, Humboldt University Berlin, June 2018
‘Das kulturelle Erbe des Dissens in der DDR: eine gesamtdeutsche Aufgabe oder eine Fußnote der Geschichte?’, Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF), Potsdam, April 2018
Presentation of the Evaluation Report of the ATRIUM Cultural Route, Luxembourg, Febr.2018
49th Annual Association for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies Convention, Chicago, Nov. 2017
‘Communist Legacy and Public Discourse on the Communist Past in South-eastern Europe’, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, University of Tirana, Oct.2017
18th Annual Cambridge Heritage Research Group Seminar: ‘Heritage and Revolution. First as a Tragedy, then as Farce?’,McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge University, May 2017
Leibniz Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning (IRS), Erkner, Oct.2016
Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives, Budapest, July 2016
Summer School: ‘Museums and Controversial Collections. Politics and Policies of Heritage-Making in Post-colonial and Post-socialist Contexts’ (HeMaMuse), Istanbul, June-July 2016
‘What does Heritage Change?’ Association of Critical Heritage, Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage of UQAM’s School of Management, Montreal, June 2016
Poster Presentation at the International Conference ‘Museums: Places of Authenticity’, Leibniz Research Group ‘Historical Authenticity’, Römisch-Germanisches Zentral Museum, Mainz, March 2016
‘Berlin-Discontinuities: Temporalities, Politics, Urbanity’, University of d’Artois, Research Centres Discontinuités and CREHS, Arras, Oct. 2015
‘The 3rd Heritage Forum of Central Europe: The City’, International Cultural Centre, Krakow, Sept. 2015
‘The Right to (World) Heritage’, International Association of World Heritage Professionals e.V., BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Oct. 2014
20th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, Istanbul Technical University, Sept. 2014
‘Museum and Politics’, ICOM Russia, ICOM Germany, ICOM USA, St. Petersburg, Sept.2014
4th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development, Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development, Guimaraes, July 2014
Poster Presentation at the World Heritage Studies Alumni Conference ‘World Heritage and Sustainable Development’, Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus, June 2011
‘Negotiating the Communist Past in Museums’, SSEES, University College London, London, 2011