Uses of Heritage Part I Chapter 2

Part I: The Idea of Heritage

Chapter 2: Heritage as a Cultural Process

  • The last chapter identified the dominant discourse of heritage, and argued that this discourse constitutes the idea of heritage in such a away as to exclude certain social actors and interests from actively engaging with heritage. Now only does this discourse frame heritage audiences as passive receptors of the authorized meaning of heritage, it also creates significant barriers for active public negotiation about the meaning and nature of heritage, and the social and cultural roles that it may play. Consequently, most attempts at public or community inclusion into heritage programmes are inevitably expressed in assimilatory terms, in that excluded community groups become ‘invited’ to ‘learn’, ‘share’ or become ‘educate’ about authorized heritage values and meanings. Although there has been significant criticism about the nature of heritage, centred on the critique of economic commodification, this criticism shares all too much conceptual space with the authorized discourse… Subsequently, we are left at a theoretical impasse – how might a sense of heritage be constructed that is both more inclusive of alternate discourses, and provides a framework for analysing the use of heritage beyond that already identified within the heritage industry critique?
  • Heritage is not a ‘thing’, it is not a ‘site’, building or other material object… Rather, heritage is what goes on at these sites… Heritage, I want to suggest, is a cultural process that engages with acts of remembering that work to create ways to understand and engage with the present, and the sites themselves are cultural tools that can facilitate, but are not necessarily vital for, this process.
  • Harvey (2001:327) defines heritage as a verb related to human action and agency, and suggests that it is a process concerned with the legitimization of the power of national and other cultural/social identities. 
  • The aim of this chapter is to explore a range of insights and concepts that may, when taken together, have a useful synergy when applied to understanding ‘heritage’.

Heritage as Experience

  • Waanyi project – recording oral histories
    • Heritage was not the site itself, but the act of passing on knowledge in the culturally correct or appropriate contexts and times.

Heritage as identity

  • The association between heritage and identity is well established in the heritage literature – material culture as heritage is assumed to provide a physical representation and reality to the ephemeral and slippery concept of ‘identity’. Like history, it fosters the feelings of belonging and continuity (Lowenthal 1985:214), while its physicality gives these feelings an added sense of material reality.
  • As Graham et al. (2000:41) state: ‘heritage provides meaning to human existence by conveying the ideas of timeless values and unbroken lineages that underpin identity.’
    • [Think back to the shrines – they represent the identities of the villagers in terms of their family history and lineage. How can we then say that this is to be given over to the migrants? Can they share? Can heritage be opened up to people outside its ownership? Can heritage be creative?
  • How the links between identity and heritage are developed and maintained, however, is an area that has not had much scrutiny int he heritage literature. The sorts of ‘identity work’ that people actually do at heritage sites, and how these links are constructed and maintained, are often assumed and unproblematized in the literature (Urry 1996; Bagnall 2003; McLean 2006).
  • The AHD was itself both constituted by, and is a constitutive discourse of, the ideology of nationalism. In identifying ‘national heritage’, the ‘nation’ is symbolically and imaginatively constituted as a real entity (Brett 1996:156).
  • Heritage often propagates received notions of identity, both at a national and class level.
    • [Think back on dragon boat festival, which has become a heritage that represents the identity of the villages]
  • … Critical attention has begun to focus more assiduously on expressions of sub-national, and particularly ‘local’, constructions of identity and the role of heritage (Inglehard and Baker 2000; Berking 2003)… What emerges from this literature is a much greater sense of conscious agency in the expression of identity than is found in the literature that has focused on the nationalizing use of heritage. It is useful to consider here the active way in which heritage is used in ‘identity politics’.
  • Expert knowledge and experts are not simply another interest or stakeholder group in the use of heritage. Expert values and knowledge, such as those embedded in archaeology, history and architecture amongst others, often set the agendas or provide the epistemological frameworks that define debates about the meaning and nature of the past and its heritage. One of the ways this is actively done is through the whole process of cultural heritage management, wherein wider social debates about the meaning of the past, and its utility for the present, are relegated to bite-sized and manageable chunks by reducing them to specific debates over the meaning, ‘ownership’ and/or management of specific sites, places or artefacts. 
  • Experts often have a vested interest in maintaining the privileged position of their knowledge claims within both state apparatuses and wider social debates about the meaning of the past… In turn, this helps to facilitate access to sites, artefacts, places and other resources that are part of the database of these disciplines. The ability to possess, control and give meaning to the past and/or heritage sites is a re-occurring and reinforcing statement of disciplinary authority and identity.
  • … This process is based on liberal modernity and its emphasis on rationality and the universality of knowledge. In this process, expert knowledge about the meaning and nature of the past, and the heritage objects that represent that authorized and universalized past became useful in defining populations. These may be Indigenous populations… or they may be national or a range of sub-national populations. The application of ‘rational’ expert knowledge renders any social problems or debates over the legitimacy of certain identities it may govern as ‘non-political’. Specifically, identity debates are reduced to debates over ‘ownership’ issues – ‘who owns the past’, a recursive theme in the heritage literature, is a discursive devise that hides the more politically significant and charged issue of ‘control’. Who controls the past, or who controls the meaning and value of heritage, is a much more unambiguous question for examining the identity politics of heritage, and as such it is often made more tractable and open to regulation by reducing it to technical issues of owning and possessing. What the governmentality thesis does here, however, is highlight the degree to which we can conceptualize heritage as a ‘mentality’, or in Graham’s (2002) terms ‘a knowledge’, for regulating and governing identity claims and making sense of the present.
    • [Drawing a line between ownership’ and ‘control’. But is it possible to draw that line? Ownership would necessarily mean that there are elements of control over the heritage. If it is controlled by someone else, it is not ‘their’ heritage anymore.
  • Materiality and heritage: This power rests within the naturalization of heritage as material object. Material heritage objects are symbolic not only of identities but also of certain values. Heritage may be embodied as objects of desire and prestige in and of themselves, not because of any inherent value, but in so far as the symbolic ability to control desired, fetishized and prized objects reinforces not only the identity, but the power of the identity of the nation, group or individual in possession (Weiner 1992; Lahn 1996). The materiality of heritage is itself a brutally physical statement, at least within the confines of the AHD, of the power, universality, objectivity and cultural attainment of the possessors of that heritage. The physicality of heritage also works to mask the ways in which the heritage gaze constructs, regulates and authorizes a range of identities and values by filtering that gaze onto the inanimate material heritage. In this gaze, the proper subject of which is the material, a material objective reality is constructed and subjectivities that exist outside or in opposition to that are rendered invisible or marginal, or simply ‘less real’.

Intangibility of Heritage

  • In recognizing the subjectivities of heirtage, it becomes necessary to destabilize the idea of the ‘objectivity’ of heritage. This needs to be done both in terms of questioning the assumed objectivity of the constituting and authorized discourse and narratives about heritage…, but also in terms of redirecting the heritage gaze from its obsessions with physicality.
  • If heritage is a mentality, a way of knowing and seeing, then all heritage becomes, in a sense, ‘intangible’.
  • [But the examples that the book is giving – is expanding the definition of heritage to include intangible heritage (e.g. aboriginal Australians repainting rocks). What about the objects of heritage that are still unavoidably physical and material? With what mentality do we approach them?]
  • Competing sense of heritage… lobbying or organizations such as ICOMOS and UNESCO by countries from these regions.
  • … Within the international classification of heritage, there is a decided tendency to define ‘heritage’, and then ‘intangible heritage’, as two separate things. It is my task here to not only marry these two concepts of heritage together, so that ‘intangible heritage’ becomes simply ‘heritage’, but also to redefine all heritage as inherently intangible in the first place. That is, what is actually the subject of management and conservation/preservation practices, and what visitors and tourists engage with at heritage places, are the values and meanings that are symbolized or represented at and by these heritage sites or cultural practices…. It is value and meaning that is the real subject of heritage preservation and management processes, and as such all heritage is ‘intangible’ whether these values or meanings are symbolized by a physical site, place, landscape or other physical representation, or are represented within the performances of languages, dance, oral histories or other forms of ‘intangible heritage’.
    • [How has she showed that physical heritage are ‘intangible’?]
  • In defining all heritage as intangible, the heritage gaze is directed to the affect of heritage rather than to the culture ‘object’ or ‘event’ itself. This sense of ‘affect’ draws on teh work of Nigel Thrift (2004), who argues that urban space, and the way it is configured and used, engenders certain emotional, political and cultural affects. Thrift (2004:60) defines affect as a form of thinking, although this may be indirect and non-reflective, which may be embodied thinking both in terms of space/place and in action.
    • E.g. Dolores Hayden (1997) redesigned urban spaces in LA to actively engender affects that challenge the historical and present-day social and cultural invisibility of African-American, Latina and Japanese communities.
    • [But again, where is the built heritage?]
    • [Transferability of heritage control, not ownership. Control in a sense of definition of the value and meaning of heritage is transferred to migrants?]
  • …Both Hayden and Thrift emphasize a sense of physical place and space, the idea of affect can also be understood as an embodiment of thought and emotion.

Memory and Remembering

  • Urry argues that time is an abstract concept, and the sense of linear construction and measurement of it is simply a cultural construction (see also Bender 2002; Figlio 2003; Schwarz 2003). Thus, Urry argues, ‘there is no past out there or back there. There is only the present, in the context of which the past is being continually re-created’ (1996:48). This remaking and recreating occurs through the activities f remembering and reminiscing, which take place in the context of interactions between people and their environments, including heritage sites and museums (Uryy 1996; Davison 2005).
  • For Wertsch, memory is the mediated action of remembering, which itself is a process engaged with the working out and creation of meaning. … Halbwachs… observes that ‘recollections are… located… with the help of landmarks that we always carry within ourselves, for it suffices to look around ourselves, to think about others, and to locate ourselves within the social framework in order to retrieve them’ (1992:175).
  • As Wertsche (2002:66) usefully notes, ‘in contrast to history, collective memory reflects a committed perspective, and belongs to one group, and not others’. Memory, unlike history, has an intimiate relation to the present through the personal and collective actions of remembering. 
  • As Nora points out:
    • There are as many memories as there are groups, that memory is by nature multiple and yet specific; collective, plural, and yet individual. History, on the other hand, belongs to everyone and to no one, whence its claim to universal authority.
  • As Foglio (2003:152) observes, linking memories to objects, or giving the a tangible reality through heritage, means that they can be collected, preserved, lost, destroyed or restored. Further, the simple aspect of their materiality makes them more convincing and powerful. This materiality also privileges a certain sense, as with heritage, of historical experience, but as Denis Byrne (2001, 2003) points out, there are experiences and ‘memory traces’ that leave no material remnant, and thus are subsequently and inevitably seen to lack authority and ‘substance.
    • [Again, the intangibility of heritage is a discussion of intangible heritage. What about the heritage that has materiality?]
  • The ability to equate tradition and memory to material items provides powerful authenticating ‘common sense’ legitimacy. Here, the sense that tradition and memory is material is a powerful controlling and regulating mechanism, and any breaks in the material tradition of an activity or ritual renders the memories it represents as separate from the present and thus relegated to history – and no longer part of collective or ‘living memory’. 
    • [And when villagers stop the rituals of gathering in shrines, there is no more collective memory? Has this building then entered into history instead of heritage? It is part of a authorized history instead of an experienced collective memory. And then how do we make it back into heritage? The question of locality – does locality have materiality? If heritage is defined by its activeness and existence in collective memory instead of history – i.e. heritage is alive and history is dead… then what?]
    • [Relationship between locality and transference of heritage.]
    • [What she is arguing is using examples of breaks with material traditions of heritage to illustrate that heritage should be more defined differently, it should be intangible. (break with material traditions = But under this framework, how do we understand the material traditions of heritage?
  • The materiality of tradition, and its legitimizing power, can be witnessed by the degree of national and international debate sparked by the repainting of Aboriginal rock art mentioned above. One of the issues in this debate was the perception that the tradition of repainting had been ‘broken’ because the Aboriginal artists in undertaking the repainting had not used ‘traditional’ materials. Another example are the debates over the rights of Indigenous Australians to exercise their traditions of fishing either in areas not open to the wider population (such as National Parks), or their legal ability to fish some protected species. These traditional rights are often criticised publicly and forcefully for being non=traditional because the fishing is undertaken in ‘non-traditional ways’, for instance with aluminium dinghies rather than bark canoes. 
    • [Memories defined by material vs. memories defined by actions (e.g. practise and rituals instead of material) = aberrant and not recognised as collective memory/heritage]
    • [And therefore she argues that heritage defined in material is static and does not include living rituals which are defined by actions, not material]
    • [How do we then understand this in terms of built heritage? Can we say that there are certain definitions of buildings and histories that are emerging in the built histories and this method of archiving based on material is a way of legitimizing materiality, that any aberrant behaviour, including tiling brick buildings with ceramic tiles are viewed as non-legitimate. But when do we then draw the line to say that these actions are not right? What are the criteria to judge the rights of the indigenous people? But then that will depend on an understanding of the reasons behind their actions, i.e. the rituals and practices that caused them to perform these actions. And if their actions are not part of the rituals and practices, they are new behaviour, then do we say that these behaviours are not heritage and therefore is unacceptable?]
    • [But a thing to be careful about ‘living memory’ is how much do we accept change? What are the criteria to say that this is part of a ritual and this is not? And are newly emerging rituals/practices/actions acceptable to become heritage?]
    • [Think this in terms of the urban village shrines: can we say that the absence of historical data and archive legitimizes the actions of indigenous villagers as part of normal practice? That there are no records to show materiality of buildings – the importance lies in the location and ownership. The actions of archiving by the district government – that takes away control of these buildings onto the hands of the heritage experts – that things are to return to these material states.
    • [Can we also talk about the actions of the villagers in renovating their shrines. Are those part of an existing ritual or is that something new? Are there evidence to say that that is the way that building repairs has been carried out is repetitive of pre-existing ways of repairing buildings in the urban village? How have people repaired their buildings before? How have people made extensions to existing buildings in the past? Are there evidences of that in the urban village?]
    • [Commentary about heritage buildings in urban villages – the words and texts used emphasises materiality, use different sources to prove this]
    • [But what were the practices before in terms of renovating these buildings? Are there specific actions that we can pick out to say that these are ‘rituals’ and there part of the collective value towards heritage?’]
      • Are there books that talk about that? Or are these information only possible through conversations?
      • Could we possibly look at Liang Si Cheng’s book or Tiang Tu Zhong Guo? What do they say about villages and their attitudes towards materiality? What are the rituals that people make in terms of construction?
    • [How does built heritage move away from a valuation based on materiality? Are these two thing intrinsically tied together?]
      • Is locality part of materiality? No. Then could locality – which includes names, rituals, practices, memories – be a replacement for materiality?
      • What is architecture apart from its materiality? But the definition of materiality is understood here as static – the focus should then shift to question the nature of materiality – whether that is static and unchangeable or mutable and replaceable.
  • The de-traditionalization literature argues that as society becomes less ‘stable’ new groups of ‘new sociations’ are formed, and individuals may drift between these as they attempt to find associations that satisfy their sense of common experiences or socio-cultural aspirations. As Heelas (1996:8) points out, no ‘tradition’ is static, they are always open to human agency, and are ‘never simply received as pre-given verities’. Thus, de-traditionalization tendencies may have also occurred in the past and are not simply a response to growing multi-vocality in the present.
  • Wertsch (2002:60) addresses this affect when he observes that collective memory ‘tends to be impatient with ambiguity and to represent itself as representing an unchanging reality.’… Heritage sites, places, museums and so forth may certainly be identified as textual resources around which specific narratives are written and negotiated and thus become cultural tools in the processes of remembering.
  • Not only are new meanings created and negotiated for the memories commemorated and told, but this process has a consequence for those who accept, celebrate or otherwise engage in that remembering:
    • Memory, then… is not tied to the individual who experienced a given event, but dispersed and transmitted to subsequent generations. But the process of transmission changes the rememberers too: the parents who share their memories find their memories changing. (Hidgkin and Radstone 2003a:27)
  • Either if we accept that heritage as defined traditionally as tangible or intangible cultural expressions, or as I am defining it, as a process itself of meaning making, it must then be understood as playing a part in remembering.
    • Heritage becomes both cultural tool and part of the wider process of creating and recreating meaning through reminiscing and remembering.
    • Here, a tension is identified between material realities of heritage as ‘things to have’ and ‘as something that is done’; however, both work to foster social memory. As ‘a thing to have’, it offers itself up as a specific cultural tool in rehearsing the authority of certain narratives. As ‘something that is done’, it offers the possibility of the negotiation of change and reworking of meaning. How heritage in this latter sense does this may be illuminated by considering the idea of habitual memory.

Heritage as Performance

  • [Talking about the tourist gaze and how that is untrue]


  • As Escobar (2001:140) argues, place is both ‘a category of thought’ and a ‘constructed reality’. And I am suggesting that this tension is a central aspect of ‘heritage’… Although the physicality of heritage provides a sense of the immutability of value and meaning, these are never fixed, but always subject to negotiation and change.
  • Heritage is about a sense of Not simply in constructing a sense of abstract identity, but also in helping us position ourselves as a nation, community or individual and our ‘place’ in our cultural, social and physical world.
    • [Yes, but what about the actual physicality of heritage? How can that be negotiated?]
  • Heritage, particularly in its material representation, provides not only a physical anchor or geographical sense of belonging, but also allows us to negotiate a sense of social ‘place’ or class/community identity, and a cultural place or sense of belonging. I am using the term place in both Escobar’s meanings here – as a sense of geographical space, as a ‘constructed reality’, but also in a sense of social position and value production as ‘a category of thought’ (2001:140). In a very real sense heritage becomes a cultural tool that nations, societies, communities and individuals use to express, facilitate and construct a sense of identity, self and belonging in which the ‘power of place’ is invoked in its representational sense to give physical reality to these expressions and experiences.
  • Traditionally, it is the term ‘site’ that has dominated heritage discourses, a legacy of the dominance of both archaeology and architecture in the management of material culture. However, there has been a gradual, but increasing shift to the word ‘place’ as demonstrated in its use in the Australian Burra Charter (Australia ICOMOS 1999) and in major policy documents such as the English Power of Place policy manifesto (English Heritage 2000). This shift is a recognition that ‘site’ is a relatively restrictive term and tends to invoke a sense of well-defined archaeologically- or architecturally-mapped locations and locales, primarily of archaeological/architectural or other scientific/aesthetic value.
    • [Risk that there is a rejection of professionalism – that we need to listen to the people and their practices. How do professionals then intervene? What authority should we be practicing?]
  • Conversely, the idea of ‘place’ allows for a more fluid sense of physical boundaries, while, more importantly, also incorporates a sense that heritage has direct linkage to the construction of identity in a way that ‘site’, with its often implied preceding ‘archaeological’ or ‘architectural’ descriptor, does not.
    • [Is this not a rejection of role of the materiality (physical site) in the heritage? Or that the meaning of place should be more than physical boundaries.]
  • As Crang (2001:102) notes, the idea of place invokes a sense of belonging; it represents a set of cultural characteristics and says something about where you live, come from and who you are – it provides an anchor of shared experiences between people and a physical demonstration of continuity over time.
  • The meanings and memories of past human experiences are thus remembered through contemporary interactions with physical places and landscapes, and through the performances enacted within them – and with each new encounter with place, with each new experience of place, meanings and memories may subtly, or otherwise be rewritten or remade.
  • UNESCO now lists cultural landscapes and landscapes with combined ‘natural’ and ‘cultural’ features as being of World Heritage statuc. However, as Lowenthal (2005:89) observes, there is a marked sense that nature is superior to culture, and that within UNESCO policy documents, even though the idea of the possibility of ‘pristine wilderness’ is understood to be non-existent, there still exists the implication that ‘nature is perfect and culture a nuisance’. The point of stressing the facility of the nature/culture divide is to note that there is a tendency within the heritage management and conservation process to extract ‘place’ from its physical and wider cultural contexts and manage it in much the same way as the ‘site’ of traditional management conceptualizations and practices… Thus, any sense of place becomes inevitably constrained by the boundaries defined for it by management practices and classification, listing or scheduling systems that require well-definable boundaries.
  • In the legislative and planning processes that drive most cultural heritage management systems, this need is unavoidable – but what it does it to limit the possibility of the fluidity and mutability of meaning by constraining and framing the physical experiences and interactions people may have with place.
  • The ability to map and define boundaries is a political act of naming and defining which has implications for knowledge/power of and about place (Harley 1988).
    • [Recall how villagers name the locations in a place – the folk stories or origin stories of places. Does that contribute in a way or another to the power of the villagers on places?]
  • Thus, the experiences of heritage landscape/place are inevitably themselves managed, and heritage performances become ‘staged’, and meanings and memories become scripted or regulated by the way a place or landscape has itself been defined, mapped and thus managed – in effect heritage experiences/performances become regulated by the management process itself.
    • [Recall how buildings in XZV are mapped according to their ‘period of construction’, ‘material style’, ‘state of building’, ‘preservation value’. These are ways whereby the village is understood through the perspective of time.
    • [A zone is draw around the buildings in the urban village – these are areas to be protected (and developed into a tourist area) where the others are unknown zones]
    • [The unknown zones are then not part of heritage, which is ultimately built around materiality]
    • [How have people chose to map XZV? How have you decided to map XZV?]
  • This issue is particularly problematic if we accept the multi-vocality of place. If place is both an expression of, and has a consequence for, human experience and inter-relations then, as Massey notes, plurality of meaning much be accepted in any definition of place (1994). Place as a collage of intersecting and overlapping meanings is not only a space where meaningful experiences occur, but is also where meanings are contested and negotiated.
  • However, as discussed in Chapter 1, the naturalization of the AHD tends to not only restrict the ability of competing heritage discourses to be heard and dealt with equitability within heritage management processes, but also requires the maintenance of a consensual view of the past and its meanings for the present.
    • [Does the arrival of migrants = modernity and therefore people want to move away from it through the use of heritage? To seek whatever is stable once again]
  • A sense of place, as Hayden (1997) observes is inherently about not only the commonalities, but also the differences of lived experiences. As social movements use reconfigurations of place and space to challenge accepted narratives of capital and modernity (Escobar 2001:165), and as heritage places increasingly play important roles in the representational politics of cultural, class and ethnic identities (Graham et al, 2000; Meskell 2001; Smith 2004), there has been an increasing awareness of the need to understand and theorize these tensions. It is at this point that the idea of ‘dissonance’ becomes useful.
    • [Does it mean that modernity, represented by the arrival and struggle of the migrants, is inherently the opposite to what heritage is, a desire for stability amidst change?]


  • Ashworth and Tunbridge on ‘dissonant heritage’ (1996).
  • They acknowledge the contested nature of heritage and argue that the tensions that underlie heritage can be encapsulated and understood, and subsequently managed and mitigated, through the concept of dissonant heritage.
  • The root cause of the dissonant nature of heritage lies in their observation that heritage is created by interpretation.
  • ‘All heritage is someone’s heritage and therefore logically not someone else’s: the original meaning of an inheritance [from which ‘heritage’ derives] implies the existence of disinheritance and by extension any creation of heritage from the past disinherits someone completely or partially, actively or potentially. (Ashworth and Tunbridge 1996:21).
  • Heritage has a particular power to legitimize – or not – someone’s sense of place and thus their social and cultural experiences and memories
    • [Does the legitimization of heritage in urban villages also create a situation where the power of villagers is further concretised?]
    • [If heritage has a power to legitimize, can we use heritage in other ways to legitimize migrant’s sense of place in urban villages?]
    • [In an urban environment where there is no sense of place, i.e., the mobility of people necessarily mean that there needs to be a new method of continuous heritage that is not based on solidity]
    • [How do we create heritage that is continuous? Or heritage for the urban migrant (and to a certain extent, heritage for the city-zen?)]
  • The traditional interpretation of the grand country houses of the rural elites in Europe and North America may provide, for instance, a comfortable and even a comforting view of the past… However, for those whose collective social experiences and memories are disinherited by this view, for instance the descendants of servants, slaves or estate/grounds workers and so forth, such heritage is at best problematic, if not intrinsically uncomfortable.
    • [Does this apply to urban migrants and their collective memory of staying in urban villages?]
  • Heritage is dissonant – it is a constitutive social process that on the one hand is about regulating and legitimizing, and on the other hand is about working out, contesting and challenging a range of cultural and social identities, sense of place, collective memories, values and meanings that prevail in the present and can be passed to the future.
    • [Collective memories of migrants in urban villages – how are their sense of place recorded into urban villages as a form of heritage?]
    • [Using the school as a medium to create a building of heritage for urban migrants – this forms part of their collective memory and becomes defined as heritage as time goes on.]


  • This chapter… a conceptual repacking of heritage
  • What emerges foremost… is a sense of action, power and agency. Heritage is something vital and alive. It is a moment of action, not something frozen in material form. It incorporates a range of actions that often occur at places or in certain spaces. Although heritage is something that is done at places, these places become places of heritage both because of the events of meaning making and remembering that occur at them, but also because they lend a sense of occasion and reality to the activities occurring at them.
    • [Can a school (that is built for the purposes of heritage) constructed out of immateriality redefine what can be considered as heritage? Is this too simplistic…]
    • [Recall Bernard Tsumi and his essay on events in architecture]
  • There is an interlinked relationship between the activities that occur at places and the places themselves – but it is this tension between action and material representation that is an important element of heritage. The tension may at once be about creating and maintaining historical and social consensus, but simultaneously it can also be a process of dissent and contestation.
    • [And this also carries on into heritage performance]
  • What then does heritage do; what are the consequences of these moments that identity them as ‘heritage’? The product or the consequences of heritage activities are the emotions and experiences and the memories of them that they create, and while these then work to facilitate a sense of identity and belonging it is not all they do. What are also created, and continually recreated (rather than simply ‘maintained’) are social networks and relations that themselves bind and create a sense of belonging and identity. These networks and relations are facilitated through an activity in which social and cultural values, meanings and understandings both about the past and present are sometimes explicitly, and sometimes implicitly, worked out, inspected, considered, rejected, embraced or transformed. Identity is not simply something ‘produced’ or represented by heritage places or heritage moments, but is something actively and continually recreated and negotiated as people, communities and institutions reinterpret, remember and reassess the meaning of the past in terms of the social, cultural and political needs of the present. It is thus simultaneously about change and continuity; it is a mentality of discourse in which certain realities and ideas of ‘being’ are constituted, rehearsed, contested and negotiated and ultimately remade. Cultural meanings are fluid and ultimately created through doing, and through the aspirations and desires of the present, but are validated and legitimized through the creation and recreation of a sense of linkage to the past. Heritage provides a mentality and discourse in which these linkages are forged and recast. What makes certain activities ‘heritage’ are those activities that actively engage with thinking about and acting out not only ‘where we have come from’ in terms of the past, but also ‘where we are going’ in terms of the present and future. It is a social and cultural process that mediates a sense of cultural, social and political change.