History Research Seminar

Culture with Heritage Left Out

People at a lecture
Seminars

As part of the School of Arts and Humanities History Research Seminar Series, Dr Alison Hems, Bath Spa University, presents: Culture with Heritage Left Out: rehearsing a story of policy change – and opportunities missed.

  • From: Tuesday 25 March 2014, 5.15 pm
  • To: Tuesday 25 March 2014, 7 pm
  • Location: 012, Ada Byron King building, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS

Past event

Event details

As part of the School of Arts and Humanities History Research Seminar Series, Dr Alison Hems, Bath Spa University, presents: Culture with Heritage Left Out: rehearsing a story of policy change – and opportunities missed.

I want to use this short paper to rehearse a question that has puzzled me for a while now. Museums and heritage professionals have for a long time been a fairly fluid, flexible bunch, developing their skills in regional museums before going onto work for the National Trust, or joining the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council from English Heritage. Education specialists move comfortably from museums to built heritage to national parks, and back again; fundraisers pitch up with campaigns for museums and theatres, cathedrals and the performing arts. On the ground, in the mix of people doing a museum or arts or heritage job, there is a lot of sharing and collaboration and joint planning going on – though perhaps less than there should be. But at a policy and theoretical level, there appears to be a growing divide – no longer parallel lines, but diverging tracks, heading off in radically different directions. Or not heading off at all – museums change lives, perhaps, but the collection of buildings and landscapes managed by English Heritage has been reduced to 'telling the story of England'. There is something adrift here: a sad reassertion of an old view of heritage maybe, a reluctance on the part of senior professionals and policy makers to actually listen to Laurajane Smith - a failure to understand what it might mean if – as she says – "heritage [is] not so much … a thing, but … a cultural and social process, which engages with acts of remembering to create ways to understand and engage with the present."

The paper will focus on four or so years of significant change – from the abolition of MLA to the proposed break up of English Heritage. I want to look at the ideas expressed in and around these changes – even if we know that they were made for almost entirely financial reasons - and to speculate a little on the increasingly uneasy relationship - at a strategic level - between arts and heritage - even while it flourishes on the ground.

All welcome.

Location details

Room/Building:

012, Ada Byron King building

Address:

Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane
Nottingham
NG11 8NS

Past event

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