Book Chapter

Discussion and conclusions



Harrison R, DeSilvery C, Holtorf C, Macdonald S, Bartolini N, Fredheim H, Lyons A, May S, Morgan J & Penrose S (2020) Discussion and conclusions. In: Heritage Futures: Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices. London: UCL Press, pp. 465-489.

First paragraph: This book has aimed to explore how heritage practices, broadly defined, might be understood to contribute to the making of future worlds. Drawing on a range of ethnographic and creative visual methods, the four main empirical parts of the book have each focused on a specific theme or challenge for heritage – Diversity, Profusion, Uncertainty and Transformation. Within each theme, investigation of a series of case studies has allowed us to explore how these challenges motivate particular approaches to conservation and preservation in a range of different contexts. This chapter aims to bring together the findings of each of these thematic parts to explore how the four themes relate to one another, and to draw some general conclusions from comparisons across them. In doing so, we also aim to explore a wider set of considerations: how the different contexts in which our research was situated have shaped our observations of different practices, concepts and approaches; the ways in which local institutional factors and actors influenced these practices through various forms of engagement, expression, resistance and/or contestation; and the implications of the geographical, political, social and ecological contexts in which the research was undertaken, and how these influenced the findings of the study. In developing a comparative investigation of heritage practices across a range of different domains, we have been particularly keen to consider a breadth of different kinds of actors operating at a range of different scales – from individuals to households to multinational institutions; both official and non-official actors; and governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations. Accordingly, we discuss the implications of these factors for the findings of the study as well. The chapter also reflects more broadly on the approaches and methods employed in our research, in particular its collaborative ‘para-ethnographic’ approach to working with project partners, and the limits of these approaches. It then considers what the comparative perspectives employed here reveal about the ‘futurability’ (or future-making capacities) of the different forms of heritage and heritage-like practices discussed. The chapter concludes with reflections on the main findings to emerge from this work, which (perhaps counter-intuitively) relate to the long-term unsustainability of conservation and preservation practices. Here we also highlight how the work points towards ways of doing and researching heritage otherwise.

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online28/07/2020
PublisherUCL Press
Place of publicationLondon
ISBN 9781787356023

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Dr Jennie Morgan

Dr Jennie Morgan

Senior Lecturer, History