P11
Critical Heritage and Photography

Convenors:
Colin Sterling (UCL)
Discussant:
Dr Beverley Butler
Location:
Sackler A
Start time:
30 May, 2014 at 9:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel examines the interrelationship of heritage and photography. Drawing on concepts from anthropology, archaeology, museology and memory studies, critical heritage offers a potent lens through which to question the role of photography in shaping the affective power of the past in the present

Long abstract:

This panel will re-examine the complex interrelationship of heritage and photography from a variety of socio-cultural, historical, and theoretical perspectives. Since its inception, photography has been part of what we would now define as 'heritage practice,' whether deployed to survey historic sites, document cultural practices, or as an aide memoire for travellers and tourists. To some extent, the concurrent emergence of heritage and photography within the modern period may even speak of an elective affinity between the two. More recently, a focus on heritage as process has shifted attention away from the monumental and towards the role of heritage in everyday settings. From this perspective we may interrogate the photo-album as crucial to personal heritage, or the importance of social media and online sharing as they open up new opportunities for the construction of heritage by re-contextualising old photographs (e.g. HistoryPin). Despite these noteworthy intersections, photography remains a largely under-theorised topic within critical heritage studies. This panel will seek to address this shortcoming. A key point of departure here will be recent calls for the interdisciplinary field of heritage to look beyond issues of discourse and the politics of representation and consider instead the 'affective qualities' of the past in the present (Harrison 2013). To this end, papers will focus less on aesthetics to examine issues more familiar to anthropology - including bodily experience, memory and processes of meaning-making. To borrow from Edwards (2012), our interest lies not in isolated images, but in the 'photography complex' of critical heritage