Accepted Paper:

Political imperatives in heritage regime and creative collaborative scenarios  

Authors:

Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu)
Anita Vaivade (Latvian Academy of Culture)

Paper short abstract:

This paper proposes a comparative study of political imperatives of community involvement that are devised by the authorized heritage discourse and the locally refined modes of creative collaborative efforts on the ground. We discuss our participatory experience on international and local level.

Paper long abstract:

This paper proposes a comparative study of political imperatives of community involvement that are devised by the authorized heritage discourse and the locally refined modes of creative collaborative efforts on the ground.

Based on our participatory experience in representing Estonia and Latvia, the authors embrace a decade in the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2006-2016) in order to critically reflect upon the progress and rhetorical nuances of decisions taken, both on particular nominations as well as the stance expressed. The international discursive framework is shaped by advocating inclusiveness and preventing appropriation, and yet the debates we have observed eschew addressing the complex political limits of participation.

At the same time, the stated imperatives have their impact on local heritage processes, to be considered or contested. While we are particularly interested in the post-nomination circumstance, our comparative case study considers community-driven and negotiated collaborative efforts. Seto community in Estonia and Suiti community in Latvia have both their experience of UNESCO nominations, and both find diverse ways of using heritage resources for their own goals, but also in their continued creative collaboration.

While international cooperation modes and imperatives, and also national policies provide a particular frame for potential collaborative initiatives, communities nevertheless remain as initiators as well as decision makers for the activities to come, and a growing self-esteem proves to be a basis for developing alternative collaborative scenarios.

Panel Heri03
Imperatives of participation in the heritage regime: statecraft, crisis, and creative alternatives (Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group)