Third Space in Culture, Heritage and Learning

Our current Erasmus + project on Negotiating Identities in the Third Space is about to conclude. As I am beginning to draw together the various outputs we’ve said we would produce, I’d like to share a few observations on my own learning about Third Space during the project to date. The physical in Third Space … Continue reading Third Space in Culture, Heritage and Learning

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Lessons from a debate on the National Trust

On 11th November 2020, there was a short debate in the UK House of Commons on the future of the National Trust in England and Wales. It is worth analysing in particular the contributions of the debate’s initiator. They make for a textbook lesson on history vs. heritage, the power structures of hegemonies, and why … Continue reading Lessons from a debate on the National Trust

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

The Lampedusa Cross and the Question of Allowing Relevance

Recently, I heard Emma Jane Kirby’s piece on the British Museum’s acquisition of The Lampedusa Cross in October 2015. It highlighted some of the frustrations I have with current approaches to museums and their practice, certainly in the UK, and I’d like to ponder that a bit further in this post.   Just a quick … Continue reading The Lampedusa Cross and the Question of Allowing Relevance

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

Interpretation is Information

Professionally speaking, I, like many interpreters, was raised on Freeman Tilden’s second principle of interpretation. It reads: ‘Information, as such, is not Interpretation. Interpretation is revelation based upon information. But they are entirely different things. However, all interpretation includes information.’ [1] So when I started my field research, having conversations with visitors at sites in … Continue reading Interpretation is Information

Interpretation and the Public Benefits of Heritage in Policy

When I started working in a local authority heritage context [1], I was struck by how much heritage was specifically expected to deliver rather concrete outcomes: pride, identity, creativity, social cohesion, mutual understanding, to name but a few (yes, a few of the many). This was set out in project plans, and we were also … Continue reading Interpretation and the Public Benefits of Heritage in Policy

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?