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19th - 21st October 2023 | Monastery of Batalha - Portugal

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Henrik Lindblad

University of Uppsala; FRH


Henrik Lindblad is an Art Historian and Heritage Consultant, specialized in ecclesiastical art, architecture and heritage management. He has worked as coordinator, senior advisor and strategist for the National Heritage Board, the Ministry of Culture and the Church of Sweden. He is one of the founders of the European organisation Future for Religious Heritage (FRH), member of its Council and co-chair of the FRH Scientific Advisory Committee. He is also co-founder and former Vice President of ICOMOS International Scientific Committee PRERICO (Places of Religion and Ritual). He will defend his doctoral thesis Ecclesiastical Heritage in a New Era on 17th March 2023 at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. In February 2023 he joined the Scientific Committee of the 4th International Conference Architectures of the Soul.


Among his recent publications can be mentioned:

“Living Religious Heritage and Continuous Use” (Olimpia Niglio, Intercultural Dialogue: Places of Religion and Rituals. Springer Nature 2022)

“Caroli Church. A Resource for Urban Regeneration?”, with Johan Eriksson and Christer Gustafsson (In Esempi di Architettura, International Journal of Architecture and Engineering. EdA, Vol. 9, n. 1, 2022)

”Ecclesiastical Heritage as a Human Right” (In Olimpia Niglio & Eric Yong Lee (2021). Transcultural Diplomacy and Human Right. Springer).

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Caroline Bruzelius

Duke University


Caroline Bruzelius has written extensively on medieval architecture in France and Italy, publishing books and articles on French architecture (Notre-Dame in Paris, St.-Denis and Cistercian Gothic in France), as well as the churches of medieval Naples and South Italy. A special focus of her research has been the construction process of medieval church architecture, especially in large-scale buildings. Her work often concerns the architecture of monasticism, especially that of the mendicant orders in the thirteenth century. Her most recent book, Preaching, Building and Burying. Friars in the Medieval City (2014), describes how the spiritual and architectural practices of the Franciscans and Dominicans transformed the urban landscape. At the same time, she has studied the architecture of women’s monasticism and especially the role of clausura in shaping the church architecture of religious women.


Bruzelius has also been a leader in Digital Humanities. In 2010 she co-founded the Digital Art History and Visual Culture Laboratory at Duke University, a laboratory that engages digital tools in teaching and new research ( . She innovated the use of digital technologies in Art and Architectural History, exploring how new tools can engage with questions of time, space and change in cities and buildings: two of the best-known projects are The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database and Visualizing Venice ( . The capacity of digital technologies to communicate stories about objects and places to the public has been a special focus of her work ( .

From 1994 to 1998 Caroline Bruzelius was Director of the American Academy in Rome. She is a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Medieval Academy of America, and the Society of Antiquaries.

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Sofia Aleixo

Victor Mestre

VMSA arquitectos


Victor Mestre is an architect, MSc in Architectural and Landscape Heritage Rehabilitation (University of Évora, 1997), with Diploma of Advanced Studies in Theory and Practice of Urban and Architectural Rehabilitation (University of Seville, 2005) and PhD in Heritage of Portuguese Influence, with the theme Vernacular Architecture of Goa (University of Coimbra, 2018) and researcher in the area of Architectural Heritage and Vernacular Architecture, construction techniques and typologies, and their conservation (since 1982).

Sofia Aleixo is an architect, an academic, and a researcher. She is an expert in architectural heritage conservation, architectural conservation design, and its implementation on-site, which became the reason to pursue a doctoral research on the topic, focused on cultural values and Theory of Change, in Oxford-UK, where she lived and taught at IARD Master. Teaching Design Studios at the University of Évora since 2002, she is currently an Associate Professor. Research Full Member, CHAM-SLHI/FCSH-UNL responsible for the area of Architecture in the Magazines of Ideas and Culture Project. Collaborator Researcher at CHAIA and IHC-CEHFCi, atUniversity of Évora.

Both founded Victor Mestre | Sofia Aleixo Architects in 1991, developing diverse types of projects, works and research in design and in project implementation in works, achieving several awards and distinctions.



Eduardo Carrero

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


Eduardo Carrero is a Professor of History of Medieval Art at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His line of research focuses on the relationship between European medieval architecture and its function, its changing uses throughout history and the way we see it in the 21st century. The main interest of his work focuses on cathedral and monastic complexes analysed from a functional perspective, through documentary sources and the interpretation of the architectural and urban space, unravelling the interaction of uses and functions based on the needs generated by the daily life of the clergy and the liturgy.

He has carried out various stays in prestigious research centres, including the École Française in Rome, the Department of History and Paleography at the University of Coimbra, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), the Centre Nationale de Recherche Scientifique, in Paris, and the University of Bristol, as a visiting researcher for the 2021-2023 biennium.

He is the author of five books published by different recognised entities in the field of research, such as the Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation of La Coruña, the Royal Institute of Asturian Studies, the University of León and, most recently (La catedral habitada. Historia viva de un espacio arquitectónico, 2019) by the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

He has also coordinated the publication of several volumes of research, including: Arquitectura y liturgia. El contexto artístico de las consuetas catedralicias en la Corona de Aragón (Palma de Mallorca: Objeto Perdido-Lleonard Muntaner, 2015) and Aragonia Cisterciensis. Arquitectura, espacio y música en los monasterios cistercienses de la Corona de Aragón (Gijón, Trea, 2021).

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Livio De Luca

Directeur de Recherche au CNRS


Livio De Luca - Architect, PhD in Engineering, HDR (Habilitation) in Computer Science, Livio De Luca is research director at CNRS and director of CNRS/MC-MAP (Models and simulations for Architecture and Cultural Heritage) unit. General Co-chair of the UNESCO/IEEE/EG DigitalHeritage international congress (Marseille 2013, Grenade 2015) and coordinator and member of national (ANR, FUI, CNRS, MC, …) and international (FP7, Marie-Curie, H2020, …) actions, his research activities focus on surveying, geometric modeling and semantic enrichment of digital representations of heritage objects. Editor of the Journal of Cultural Heritage (Elsevier) and associate editor of the Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (ACM) and Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (Elsevier), he has been an appointed member of the CoNRS (Comité National de la Recherche Scientifique). His work was rewarded in 2007 by the Pierre Bézier Prize (Arts et Métiers Foundation), in 2016 by the Medal for Research and Technology (french Academy of Architecture), in 2019 by the CNRS Medal of Innovation and in 2021 by the “Targa d’Oro” of the UID (Italian Union for Drawing). Since 2019 is the coordinator of the “digital data” working group of the CNRS/Ministry of Culture scientific site for the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris, and, since 2022, he has held an ERC Advanced Grant. 

Keynote Speakers


The 4th International Conference Architectures of the Soul (aos4) aims at promoting the scientific study and discussion around the architecture and landscape connected to religious and spiritual practices, grounded on the experience of seclusion
and solitude.

For centuries, religious built heritage has played an essential role in shaping social, economic, environmental and cultural values. Across major or minor religious traditions, this expressed a particular way of understanding the life, the human condition, the world, opening it to the mistery, in search of the ultimate meaning of the life. Caves, eremitical settlements, chapels, monasteries, convents, churches and cathedrals have dialogued with their surroundings, be them mountainous or solitary places, fertile valleys, peripheral or urban centres. The search for the Sacred, for the absolute otherness, which is present or can be experienced in specific places, led also to the development of pilgrimages, and their associated itineraries. Nowadays, the memory of these places tends to be erased. The secularisation of many convents, churches or monasteries, as well as the abandonment or low usage of others, led to the loss of material values. On the other hand, a significant part of this heritage and its understanding as a unity (for example, in the case of monasteries, the relationship between the spaces of prayer, the daily life and the enclosure), or its connection to a particular natural and social landscape, is gone. These specific buildings and landscapes need to be rethought at the light of the contemporary challenges.

The conference is structured around two main topics, in order to understand the historical and current values of these places and how they can shape the future, through a renewed knowledge and new ways of turning them culturally meaningful:  

1. History of religious experience; 2. Future of Religious Heritage. 


The conference aims to establish the platform for a multidisciplinary approach on the subject, gathering and crossing history, architecture, landscape architecture, cultural heritage, art history, computing science, among others. 


The three-day conference will be hosted by the Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitória, in the municipality of Batalha. This is a former dominican monastery,  on the initiative of the Avis dinasty at the end of the 14th century. The complex is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, exactly 40 years ago. The conference will be an opportunity to experience this impressive place, sharing knowledge, thinking and debating around our common historical heritage.  


Call for presentations - Submission

The organisers of the conference would like to invite authors to submit an abstract of recent and unpublished works. Selected authors have 15 min paper presentations. The conference will be structured around two main topics: 

1. History of religious experience 

1a. History of eremitical/monastic life

1b. Materiality of eremitical/monastic experiences

1c. Landscapes of the soul

Sub Topics   ----->

2. Future for Religious Heritage

Sub Topics   ----->

2a. Managment of UNESCO religious sites