ACHI’s mission is to explore the effects of cultural heritage in a broad sense (from material culture to art, literature, and the new media) on processes of identity formation and the effects of identities on the meanings attributed to cultural heritage.

Individuals and groups collect, preserve, and distribute the material and immaterial remains of the past in order to position themselves in time and space, to determine where they come from, to whom they belong, and where they are heading.

Heritage is their ‘cultural DNA’: material objects such as everyday objects, monuments, and architecture and immaterial forms of heritage such as values, ideas, and ritual practices are the essential building blocks of local, national, or transnational identities. Just as much as today’s genetics may work to the benefit of physical health, understanding the interactions between cultural heritage and identities contributes substantially to the quality of individual life and society.