Assembling Alternative Futures for Heritage



Bartolini N, Breithoff E, DeSilvey C, Fredhiem H, Harrison R, Holtorf C, Lyons A, Macdonald S, May S, Morgan J & Penrose S (2018) Assembling Alternative Futures for Heritage. Context, (155), pp. 22-24.

First paragraph: What do museums and archives, historic buildings preservation, rewilding initiatives, botanic gardens, and space messaging have in common? These fields share a desire to preserve 'things' (buildings, objects, places, monuments, species, knowledge) that are valued, yet are considered at risk of endangerment from loss, destruction, or decay. Practices of listing on heritage registers, or designation to protected status, articulate the view that potential or real threats must be mitigated, usually through some form of active intervention to protect. While taken-for-granted, this endangerment approach is increasingly being questioned by academic researchers (e.g., Harrison 2013, Rico 2015, Vidal and Dias 2016; DeSilvey 2017). Could heritage management and conservation be practiced differently if uncoupled from the ideas of risk and endangerment? If heritage preservation is future-oriented - in that heritage practitioners work to protect the past for the future - then what future, or futures, is it working towards, and is each the same across different kinds of preservation practices? How do we choose what to save for posterity? Questions such as these deserve far greater attention than is ordinarily given in scholarship or practice.

The articles from Context are published on a searchable on-line archive six months after publication:

Context, Issue 155

FundersArts and Humanities Research Council
Publication date31/07/2018
Date accepted by journal21/05/2018
Publisher URL

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Dr Jennie Morgan

Dr Jennie Morgan

Senior Lecturer, History