The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our resolve, as well as our commitment to human rights, especially when it comes to the protection of lives, health and well-being. As European states rushed to impose lockdowns, economic inequalities were quickly exposed, especially in relation to the world’s poor for whom lockdown measures were a luxury beyond reach. The political field invested with imperialist/colonialist reactions also reveals itself in different countries’ research policies that interfere with and aim to manipulate the very subject matter of academic agendas. The rapid deterioration seen in the French academic context involved a strong conservative backlash against postcolonial and decolonial studies, as well as gender and intersectionality, with those who feared they were losing their intellectual and institutional hegemony responding with aggressive attacks. The ECHOES project has likewise turned to a heuristic analytical framework for assessing heritage practices in general.