‘Human Remains’, Or: Dignity, communal value and the construction of ‘ancestry’

I was pleasantly surprised to read an article in one of the recent newsletters from the UK Museums Association about a database of ancient ‘human remains’ collated by an organisation called Honouring the Ancient Dead (HAD). Dignity I appreciated the reference in the article to HAD’s challenge to the term ‘human remains’. According to this … Continue reading ‘Human Remains’, Or: Dignity, communal value and the construction of ‘ancestry’

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The Promised Land, Or: (Re-)Considering Museums Practice for Refugees and Migrants

I am fortunate to be part of a cross-sectoral knowledge exchange project at the moment which looks at practices for working with new arrivals and minority populations [1]. We are five partners in total: two theatre companies (one from Britain, one from Italy), a business consultancy based in France, a university in Turkey and the … Continue reading The Promised Land, Or: (Re-)Considering Museums Practice for Refugees and Migrants

Thinking about Refugees, Heritage and Integration

  Next month, I will represent ICOMOS ICIP at the Voices of Culture Structured Dialogue on the Inclusion of Refugees and Migrants through Culture. In preparation, the organisers have posed three questions [1] for each participant network to respond to. As I collated the response from ICIP’s network, it’s been really interesting to revisit the … Continue reading Thinking about Refugees, Heritage and Integration

Integration goes both ways: Current practice in Germany

I am really intrigued by how German cultural institutions, including museums, appear to be contributing to the efforts of integrating refugees into German civic society. This announcement of an upcoming exhibition about 14 projects in Berlin notes what seems to be a conscious shift away from narrowly focusing on refugees’ stories toward integrative projects that … Continue reading Integration goes both ways: Current practice in Germany

How can we properly honour individual and communal values?

Yesterday, John Jameson [1] and I hosted a roundtable discussion at the conference of the European Association of Archaeologists. We wanted to explore with participants what the challenges are of moving away from expert values and expert management, toward a recognition of individual and community values. Community engagement and community archaeology have been around for … Continue reading How can we properly honour individual and communal values?

Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…

In one of my jobs, emails from our security guards about incidents were a regular occurrence, usually involving large groups of youngsters trespassing and getting drunk. One day, I was feeling rather depressed about this and I told my friend, ‘I feel I need to be a social worker in this job, not a heritage … Continue reading Heritage Managers: Addressing poverty, social justice, literacy, numeracy, citizenship…

Science and Heritage: An Uncomfortable mix…for some

Last week, UK’s Channel 4 aired a documentary about an archaeological dig in search of Richard III.  I found the show really illuminating.  Not because of its intended content – I actually thought the way they presented everything was neither here (archaeology) nor there (history). No, what I found fascinating was what the documentary revealed, … Continue reading Science and Heritage: An Uncomfortable mix…for some

World Heritage For Tomorrow

Yesterday I attended ICOMOS-UK’s World Heritage for Tomorrow conference that marked the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention.  For me, the most interesting theme that ran through the presentations and discussions was the apparent tension between tangible and intangible heritage, and how to deal with it within a system that is concerned with designation. … Continue reading World Heritage For Tomorrow

A Truly Democratic Model for Interpretation

Last week, I had a meeting with our Interpretation Stakeholder Group.  We discussed the interpretive vision for a project to relocate and redevelop one of our museums.  And what an interesting discussion it was!  As always, the most inspiring comments came from people who aren’t interpreters. The first thing that struck me was just how … Continue reading A Truly Democratic Model for Interpretation