Business History & Heritage conference, Italy

Business History as Business

Exploring Heritage, History, and Money


Conference website:

In his Keynote Lecture at the 2008 European Business History Association Conference, Franco Amatori stressed the very nature of this disciplinary field with the title ‘Business History as History’ (Amatori 2009). In the lecture, he underlined the relevance of the relationship with the ‘facts’; suggesting a scientific approach to the research hypothesis, documentation, and methodology.

Around the same time, John M.T. Balmer and his research group created a new branch of studies on the interaction between the firm and its Past, which mainly referred to the area of marketing (Urde, Greyser & Balmer 2007). Since then, the ongoing debate regarding the company’s Past in business studies has embraced the concept of brand heritage or corporate heritage, though not always with a shared definition (Balmer 2017).

At a more practical level, since the beginning of the XXI Century, relevant heritage-related market phenomena appeared, such as re-born icon products; e.g. the BMW Mini (2001) and the Fiat 500 (2007), the rising of Arnaud de Lummen’s Luvanis (2009), and vintage products or nostalgia communication campaigns (Brown 2013).

Until today, however, the interaction between three business fields (business history, business studies, business practice) had been relatively small. In particular, business history had not achieved the status of being a significant counterpart for the other two.

On 31st May, 2022, the Conference ‘Business History as Business – Exploring Heritage, History, and Money’ will focus on questions such as those below, and others.

Considering theory and practical application, could business history be a relevant element for business?”

Could dialogue among different fields of activity/study bring reciprocal fruitful contamination, or are they simply too different to communicate?”

Is the “Past” to which the different disciplines refer, the same entity, or are they using the same word to define different notions… such as the celestial objects for astronomy and astrology?”

The Conference is intended to be the first of periodical meetings for a small group of scholars willing to share knowledge and co-operate in future cross-national, cross-disciplinary research projects.


  • Amatori, F., Business history as history, Business History, 2009, 51, 143-156
  • Balmer, J., Foundations of corporate heritage, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017
  • Brown, S., Retro from the get-go: reactionary reflections on marketing’s yestermania, Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, 2013, 5, 521-536
  • Urde, M.; Greyser, S. A. & Balmer, J. M., Corporate brands with a heritage, Journal of Brand Management, Springer Nature, 2007, 15, 4-19

Submission Guidelines

  • The Committee will consider only submissions that are original, and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or Conference.
  • All submissions must be written in English, which will be the is the only language used during the Conference.
  • Authors must submit a 200/300-words abstract of their paper by the 7thof April, 2022.
  • The Committee will complete a review of submissions by 21st of April, 2022, after which authors will be informed as to whether their submission has been accepted.
  • If accepted, authors must then submit a summary (max 900 words) of their papers by the 22nd of May, 2022.

List of Topics

The Conference will be devoted to exploring the interaction (both positive and negative) between a company and its Past. The Conference program will encompass history, management, marketing, organisation, heritage conservation/management, and other related disciplines. Different disciplinary approaches and cross-contamination among various fields of study will be encouraged and not-conventional and provocative perspectives will be appreciated.

Below is an indicative but not exhaustive list of topics that the Conference Program Committee will consider for submission:

  • Theoretical topics concerning disciplinary definitions, boundaries, and methods contributions addressing topics such as the definition of history/heritage and the comparison among disciplines concerning the Past, corporate vs brand heritage, cases of dialogue (or lack of exchange) between different disciplinary fields, methodological issues, postmodern approaches to the studies involving a business’s Past.
  • Empirical or theoretical topics concerning authenticity, considering, for instance, indexical/iconic authenticity in a corporate context, cases of forged/borrowed corporate heritage, re-born companies/brands, the role of archives and original documentation.
  • Italy’ topics. While the Conference will have an international scope, it will reserve a specific section to topics concerning Italy, accepting papers on ‘Made in Italy’, whether or not historical, and Italian cases of ‘invention of tradition’, and corporate heritage enhancement.

The Conference will conclude with a roundtable discussion of all the participants and practitioners involved in heritage-related businesses or associations.


The Conference will be held at LIUC – Università Cattaneo, the first event organised by the Heritage Hub (a research unit at LIUC created in 2022 to develop studies and advisory activity on business history and business heritage).

Program Committee

  • Daniele Pozzi – LIUC Heritage Hub (chair)

Organizing committee

  • Rita Nicolai – LIUC


After the Conference, Authors interested in having their paper published in the Imprese & Storia special issue must submit a full paper by the 30th September, 2022, following the guidelines provided by the journal.

Papers, if accepted, will be published in a special issue on corporate heritage by Imprese & Storia (ISSN 1590-6264).

Early-Stage researchers travel grants

The LIUC Heritage Hub will allow a small number of grants contributing to the travel expenses of early-stage researchers (no more than 3 years from acquiring the doctoral title). The grant will cover a maximum of € 500,00 of documented travel/accommodation expenses. Young researchers interested in applying must provide a complete academic/scientific CV, plus a cover letter describing their present and oncoming projects revolving around the Conference’s topics. The Heritage Hub will rank, then, the applicants evaluating the CV, the project(s) and the personal position of the candidate (long-distance travel, disadvantaged countries, lack of financial alternatives…).

After submitting the abstract, the candidates must send their application to (deadline 7thApril, 2022).

Venue and COVID-19 countermeasures

The Conference will be held at LIUC – Università Cattaneo’s Auditorium, Castellanza, Italy.

Castellanza is a small town in Lombardia, to the north-west of Milan, where the Italian industrial revolution began in the early decades of the XIX Century. Within the campus of LIUC is the Cantoni Cotton Mill, which started its activities in 1847 and it was still operating until the end of the 1980s, becoming part of one of the largest Italian textile groups. LIUC was created in 1992, and the Cotton Mill, after a renovation project by the architect Aldo Ross, now houses classrooms and accommodation for students.

Castellanza is about 30 km from the centre of Milan and 15 km from Malpensa International Airport. Please, check LIUC’s website for travel information.

Due to the COVID-19 emergency, all participants at the Conference must comply with sanitary regulations as prescribed by the Italian authorities and LIUC’s internal code (European Green Pass or equivalent, and personal respiratory protective devices).

Note* The Conference roundtable will be broadcasted online, thus allowing participation by video conference.


Heritage HubLIUC – Università CattaneoCorso Giacomo Matteotti, 2221053 Castellanza (VA) –

Daniele Pozzi, Ph.D (Program Committee chair): // Rita Nicolai (Organisation Committee):