‘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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Handing over Power, or: Diversity in the Heritage Sector

At the start of November, the UK Art Fund published a report on diversity in the arts and heritage sectors. Specifically, the report reviews the impact of diversity initiatives on curatorial roles since 1998. However, it also makes important observations on how the current structure of museums may stand in the way of diversity – … Continue reading Handing over Power, or: Diversity in the Heritage Sector

The Discriminatory Practice of Heritage?

At the end of August, I participated in the fantastic Association of Critical Heritage Studies’ 2020 Futures online conference. There were many interesting papers but the one that really stuck with me was on Reconstruction, Spatial Reclamation and Restorative Justice by Prof. Erica Avrami of Columbia University. Prof. Avrami referred to the 2018 Warsaw Recommendation … Continue reading The Discriminatory Practice of Heritage?

Good-bye Britain, Hello Germany, or: On the notion of ‘home’

I have left Britain and relocated to my native Germany. Most Brits nodded knowingly when I told them I was going back to Germany, telling me that ‘Of course, you want to go home’. And in many ways I have indeed ‘gone home’. But in nearly as many other ways, I have also lost my … Continue reading Good-bye Britain, Hello Germany, or: On the notion of ‘home’

Professional or not? Thoughts on an example.

I recently heard a short description about an interpretive encounter that made me think again about the construction of heritage, the use of interpretation to represent that particular view of heritage, and the social structures that are expressed and recreated in doing so.   The anecdote concerned a guided tour with a school group [1]. … Continue reading Professional or not? Thoughts on an example.

Heritage Interpretation for the Future of Europe

After last month’s Interpret Europe conference on the topic, I have been pondering what the role of heritage interpretation is for the Future of Europe. This is not a review of the conference [1]; however, I want to share some of the questions and thoughts I’ve had.   What future? The joke that Prof Dr … Continue reading Heritage Interpretation for the Future of Europe

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

Not Love, Not Passion: Interpretation as a job

There is a tradition within interpretation that identifies having ‘love’ [1] or ‘passion’ [2] for heritage and/or for people as a desirable, if not necessary quality in interpreters. This goes beyond just a lively, engaging delivery. It is to genuinely ‘love the thing you interpret’, as well as the people who visit it [3]. For … Continue reading Not Love, Not Passion: Interpretation as a job