Dr. phil. Clara Rellensmann

Teaching Associate and Postdoctoral Researcher

Building 2B / Room 0.15
Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 4
03046 Cottbus

T +49 (0) 355 69 3996

Office hours: by appointment
Dr. Rellensmann is not available at this time. She will return to the office in August 2024.


Clara Rellensmann studied European Studies with a focus on art history and cultural studies at the University of Passau and World Heritage Studies at BTU. In 2010/11, she held the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs and subsequently worked as a consultant for the UNESCO offices in Bangkok and Yangon until 2016. Since April 2017, she has been working as Teaching and Research Associate at the Department of Architectural Conservation. For her doctoral thesis, in association with the DFG Research Training Group 1913 "Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings", she researched the Buddhist site of Bagan and identity politics in Myanmar.

Clara Rellensmann is a member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, a founding member of Haus Döschnitz e.V. and a member of the ICOMOS International Committee on Risk Preparedness. From 2020 to 2017, she served as a board member of ICOMOS International and in 2019/2020 as an expert on the World Heritage Panel. 

Professional history

Since April 2017  Teaching and Research Associate at the Department of Architectural Conservation at BTU

2016 - 2021 Research activities for PhD dissertation on identity politics in Myanmar, title: Appropriating Sacred Spaces: An Investigation of Bagan’s Transformed Landscape

2012-2016 Project Coordinator and Technical Consultant for the UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok (Thailand) and the UNESCO Project Office in Yangon (Myanmar)

2010-2011 Holder of the Mercator Fellowship on International Affairs

2010 Master of Arts in "World Heritage Studies" at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus

2007 Bachelor of Arts in "European Studies" at the University of Passau

Research and Teaching

Focus areas

  • Heritage politics
  • Participatory practices in heritage
  • Cultural heritage and sustainable development
  • Southeast Asia

Current projects

  • DAAD summer schools "Studio Bagan" and academic exchange (Erasmus+) in cooperation with Yangon Technological University (YTU)
  • Haus Döschnitz e.V.: transdisciplinary adaptive re-use of a monument in the Schwarzatal, South Thuringia


Rellensmann, C. Appropriating sacred spaces: an investigation of Bagan's transformed landscape. Brandenburg University of Technology / IKMZ 2022.

Edited volumes

Casper, J. / Eisenloffel, K. / Rellensmann, C. / Stevens, M.: Studio Bagan: Heritage Tourism – Conflicts and Chances, Brandenburg University of Technology / IKMZ, 2019.

Bartoli, S. / Rellensmann, C. / Linden, S.:  AG7 - Bagan, Büros für Konstruktivismus, Berlin 2019.

Rellensmann, C. / Römer, A.: STUDIO BAGAN – building in heritage context, Brandenburg University of Technology / IKMZ 2018.

Rellensmann, C. (Hg): Heritage Conservation and Ideologies (a reader), Brandenburg University of Technology / IKMZ 2018.

Journal articles

Rellensmann, C. / Pwint, Wint Tin Htut Latt: "Strengthening Cultural Heritage Conservation Through Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning", in: Klumpner, H. / Papanicolaou, K.E. (Hg.), Transitioning to Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG11), MDPI Book Series: Transitioning to Sustainability, MDPI 2021 (forthcoming in 2024).

Rellensmann, C.: "Von einer Ruinenlandschaft zur Pagodenstadt: ideologisiertes Weiterbauen in Myanmar 1995–2011", in: Froschauer, E.M. / Lorenz, W. / Rellensmann, L. / Wiesener, A. (eds.), Vom Wert des Weiterbauens – konstruktive Lösungen und kulturgeschichtlicher Zusammenhänge, Basel 2020, pp. 67–82.

Rellensmann, C.: "Wessen Erbe bewahren?", ad hoc international, 11.11.2020.

Maas, K. / Rellensmann, C. / Rellensmann, L.: "Diversify/Decolonize Heritage!“ Report on Kick-off Workshop, ICOMOS Germany website, August 2020.

Rellensmann, C. / Stevens, J.M.: "Studio Bagan - Working across disciplines to contribute to the sustainable conservation of Myanmar’s flagship destination", in: Kollert,C. / Weidner, S. (eds.), Researching Cities and Designing Spaces – Research at the Institute of Urban Planning, Brandenburg University of Technology / IKMZ, 2020.

German Committee of UNESCO (ed.): "Welterbe bedeutet Verantwortung zu übernehmen!, Interview mit Clara Rellensmann anlässlich des Europäischen Kulturerbejahrs 2018", April 2018.

Rellensmann, C. / Mezzino, D. / Santana Quintero, M. / Pwint, Wint Tin Htut Latt:" Technical Assistance for the Conservation of Built Heritage at Bagan, Myanmar", Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XLI-B5, 2016, pp. 945-952.

Conference papers and public lectures

26–30 August 2020, online
Conference paper: „Accounting for the past or business as usual? The afterlife of ideologically transformed heritage sites in Myanmar since 2011“
Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 5th Biannual Conference, University College London, 26.–30. August 2020

2 June 2019, Sarajevo
Workshop: It’s complicated: Negotiating the diverse needs of stakeholders at living religious heritage sites (coordination together with Katelyn Williams)
Interpret Europe Conference: Engaging with Diversity, 31 May - 3 June 2019 in Sarajevo

5 December 2018, Buenos Aires
World Heritage Information Session (organization together with Gabriel Caballero (Singapur))
ICOMOS Annual General Assembly, 3-6 December 2018 in Buenos Aires

7 October 2018, Rangun (Myanmar)
Lecture: World Heritage narratives and beyond
DAAD Summer School STUDIO BAGAN, 7–21 October 2018 in Myanmar

27 September 2018, Kaiserslautern
Poster Presentation: Studio Bagan – Building in Heritage Contexts
Conference Research Culture in Architecture, 27–28 September 2018 in Kaiserslautern

8 August 20018, Apolda
Lecture and Discussion: Wie weiter mit Eiermanns Erbe? (together with Luise Rellensmann (Cottbus) and Sophia Walk (Graz))
IBA (Thuringia) Campus, 5 July - 25 August in Apolda

28 June 2018, Cottbus
Contribution: Ideologie und Weiterbauen in Myanmar: Bagan 1995–2011
Colloquium Vom Wert des Weiterbauens, 27–29 June 2018 in Cottbus

7 February 2018, Ottawa
Contribution: Authenticating Reconstruction – An investigation of Bagan’s rebuilt landscape
NSERC Create Heritage Research Forum (Carleton University), 7–9 February 2018 in Ottawa

17 June 2017, Bonn
Conference paper: How to make merit in modernity? An investigation of Bagan’s reconstructed landscape.
Myanmar Studies Conference, June 2017 in Bonn

20 May 2017, London
Contribution: Authenticating Reconstruction – An investigation of Bagan’s rebuilt landscape.
Architectural History Workshop, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB), May 2015 in London

15-17 October 2011, Phuket Town
Conference paper: The UNESCO Recommendation for the Historic Urban Landscape: Applications in the Asian Context (together with J. Chandler).
ICOMOS Thailand 2011 International Conference on Asian Urban Heritage, October 2011 in Phuket Town

Thesis supervision

Master's Theses - primary supervisor

Manjunath, Meghana (2018). Sustainable Tourism Guidelines for Mysore City, India.
Master's Programm in World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Secondary supervisor: Olav Clemens, FH Westküste

Putra, Edwin Perdana (2018). Assessment of Adaptive Re-use in Post-Colonial Buildings: A Case Study in Braga Street, Indonesia.
Masterstudiengang Heritage Conservation and Site Management, B-TU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Secondary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Nevine Nizar (Helwan University, Cairo)

Master's Theses - secondary supervisor

Bardhan, Jayashree (2021). Optimising ICOMOS’ ‘Heritage at Risk’ Initiatives:Towards a Comprehensive Framework for Cultural Heritage at Risk.
Master's Programme in World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Primary supervisor: V.-Prof. Dr. Alexandra Skedzuhn-Safir (BTU), with Dr. Teresa Patricio (KU Leuven).
Kleitz, Elise (2019). Transmitting traumatic memory to future generations in the post-conflict urban landscape: the critical task of architecture.
Master's Programme in World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Primary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Leo Schmidt (BTU)

Mühlstädt, Isabelle (2019). Keeping the Genius Loci Alive – Understanding and Preserving the Spirit and Feeling of Places.
Master's Programme in World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Primary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Leo Schmidt (BTU) 
Kuhnlein, Melanie (2018). Umnutzung der denkmalgeschützten Obermühle Leutra in ein Wohngebäude.
Master's Programme in Building and Conservation, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Primary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Leo Schmidtt (BTU)

Leckie, Leonardo Bucco (2018). The First Line of Defence: Humanitarian First Aid to Cultural Heritage during Armed Conflict and the Role of the International Community.
Master's Programme in World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Primary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Leo Schmidtt (BTU)

Teng, Zhuoyou (2018). Heritage of migrants in a changing society: a case study from Bangkok’s Chinatown.
Master's Programme in World Heritage Studies, BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Primary supervisor: Prof. Dr. Anna Amelinat (BTU)