After obtaining her BA, she had a chance to observe the complexities of post-disaster work (post-conflict and natural catastrophe) during an internship with the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva before doing a Masters jointly taught at the University of Bath, Sciences Po and the Sorbonne in Paris on contemporary European political culture.
Subsequently she worked for three years at UNESCO. First she worked under Máté Kovács
(today at the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Africa) working on the project “A Cultural Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care”, then under Yudhishthir Raj Isar
in the Cultural Policies for Development Unit, and finally under Katerina Stenou
(now chargée d’affaire UNESCO- Kazakhstan) when she managed the UNESCO Cities of Peace Prize (2000-2001).
Her time at UNESCO coincided with a period during which the organization was attempting to implement its mandate in relation to the Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia-Herzegovina bringing together ministers of education and culture from the former Yugoslav Republics to discuss ways ahead and avenues for cooperation. She decided to use a vacation to visit the heritage reconstruction projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Serbia. Amongst others, she attended presentations of the Mostar Bridge reconstruction and of the ARS-AEVI museum projects and spoke to heritage professionals working at a number of cultural institutions in Sarajevo and Belgrade. This trip was fundamental in her thinking on the issue of culture and conflict; through it she became aware that many cultural heritage reconstruction projects that aimed at reconciliation were unwittingly contributing to entrenching the lines of division and resentment created by the conflicts.
In 2002, she moved to London to research this topic under the guidance of Professor Patrick Boylan
, this resulted in a dissertation evaluating attempts to use cultural heritage as a tool for mediation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. From 2003-2005 she worked as the coordinator of the European Cultural Foundation's UK National Committee and as a researcher at both International Intelligence on Culture (directed by Rod Fisher
) and the Center for Creative Communities (directed by Jennifer Williams
). During this time she was able to explore issues around the role of culture in an enlarged EU (through a series of seminars organized at Chatham House) and the various funding avenues available for projects that involved the arts and creative practices in managing conflict within communities.
Dacia moved to Cambridge in 2005 to do a PhD. At first she had in mind to do a thesis comparing the impact of war on cultural heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Spain. Yet, on discovering vast amounts of largely neglected archival material on the reconstruction of cultural heritage in post-war Spain, she decided to focus entirely on her own country of origin, one in which she was able to read not only the language itself but also the various subtleties of sub-text and censorship. Her study of Spain lead her to discover the importance of references to cultural heritage in war-time propaganda, its rhetorical and visual violence, as well as the destructive dimensions of many post-war reconstruction policies. In 2006 she founded the Cambridge Post-Conflict and Post-Crisis Group
(PCPC) in an effort to create links across disciplines within the university and between the various fields of practice – such as NGOs and military personnel - and academia. This group organized a two-day international conference in June 2008 “The Culture of Reconstruction” inaugurated with a lecture by Paddy Ashdown. Through the group between 2009 and 2011 Dacia ran a series of workshops together with Dr Naoise Mac Sweeney
entitled In the Wake of War.
In 2008 Dacia became a research associate on the EU funded research project Cultural Heritage and the Reconstruction of Identities after Conflict (CRIC),
based at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at University of Cambridge, and lead by Dr. Marie Louise Stig Sørensen.
She first took interest in the construction of cultural identities while doing her BA in International Relations at Tufts University in the mid 1990’s. Her interest was sparked by a debate then growing in the EU on the role of culture in establishing a comprehensive European identity embodied in the creation of traditional nation-state symbols for the EU such as a flag and anthem. She was intrigued by how this discourse was defining new boundaries of exclusion and inclusion and she studied the topic by looking at evolving attitudes towards Roma communities in the EU and towards relations with Turkey.
CRIC researcher Dr Dacia Viejo-Rose from the University of Cambridge
discusses various dimensions of the reconstruction of cultural heritage More videos on the CRIC projects