Heritage in Times of Transfomation
It is a well established truth that heritage is most often used to represent and codify collective forms of identity. As such heritage is most often associated with the notion that things have always been the same, from time immemorial. Time stops, so to speak. In this context heritage almost always is related to notions of tradition and continuity. Its function is to make time and space continuous. It is therefore unsurprising that heritage is often understood as culturally conservative and by definition, against change and development.
In this symposium though, we are interested in the association between heritage and discontinuity rather than continuity. What roles does heritage take in times of rapid transformation? What is its relationship to notions of change? There are a number of possibilities that we are interested in exploring. For example, rather than creating an unbroken, linear relationship with the past, heritage becomes that which demarcates the past from the present. In this scenario, heritage might be something we long for but can no longer access or, alternatively, something that we try to reconnect with in order to create a sense of continuity in what is otherwise a field of discontinuities. While this might be nostalgic it could also be critically motivated. It might also be something we wish to disavow and forget. Of interest then, is the question of how heritage can be used to address processes of change?
Whether used as a positive or as a negative force, heritage can be a resource for societies undergoing extensive forms of transformation. Such forms of transformation could be modernisation, the rise of democracy in formerly authoritarian societies, post-war reconstruction, the development of multicultural societies under the impact of globalisation and consequent mass migration, urban development pressures, changing economic structures and so on.
In this special one day session we will be exploring such questions as: How is heritage being used to manage processes of change? How are these uses manifested in heritage sites, in museums, and in other cultural sites more generally? How does heritage critically engage with ideas of ‘progress’? Can or is heritage used to address present day issues and what kinds of issues are they? Can heritage be a critical resource to the management of our future? How might it contribute to our sense of place and community? What kinds of interpretation strategies might enable this to occur?
Tuesday 20 November, 9.00am to 5.00pm
Deakin University Burwood Campus
Building Y, Level 2, Room 43
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Vic, 3125
Contact Details: Associate Professor Andrea Witcomb at email@example.com