S03
Who needs experts? Counter mapping cultural heritage

Convenors:
John Schofield (University of York)
Location:
Wills OCC
Start time:
19 December, 2010 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Cultural heritage traditionally concerns the iconic but has become increasingly democratic (eg. the Faro Convention 2005). This session explores how we might think and act locally, irrespective of whether our governments ratify Faro.

Long abstract:

Cultural heritage traditionally concerns the outstanding and the iconic. For ancient times, everyday items and places become special by virtue of age. For more recent periods, everyday items remain ordinary, unnoticed and taken for granted. Yet these closely familiar items and places are what often interest the public most, a public that is increasingly engaged, informed and empowered. Officially, attention remains focused on the outstanding. Local concerns, while recognised within national interests (the 'spot listing as democracy' argument), are often deemed less significant by those in authority. Yet heritage is becoming more democratic and the Faro Convention (2005) on 'the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society', sees the need to 'involve everyone in the process of defining and managing cultural heritage'; of 'promoting dialogue'; and of recognising every person's right to 'engage with the cultural heritage of their choice'. Faro thus challenges the prevalence of a normative, authoritarian view of cultural heritage, at least complementing it with an alternative view that 'counter-maps' the established order. Faro may or may not be ratified by any particular government, but it exists and already exerts influence on thought and behaviours. This session attempts to explore these and other closely related issues, teasing out some of the tensions that exist within cultural heritage practice between expert views and alternate opinion, whether local, marginal or simply other. Proposals are welcome that reflect on the Faro Convention, explore theoretical perspectives on inclusivity and authority, or with examples of how counter mapping can be achieved.