This session will bring professional practitioners and academics in the broad areas of heritage and development into conversation to consider how opening up development policy and practice to approaches that engage with issues of the past is meant to engender development in the Global South.
Since the 1990s, the importance of culturally informed approaches to international development has been recognised. More recently, this recognition has been articulated as a need to engage with ideas of heritage as an ostensibly past looking practice on which current and future development may be more appropriately built. In addition, in the UK, heritage approaches to development continue to be promoted through government supported research opportunities such as the Global Challenges Research Fund. In parallel, international heritage organisations, most notably UNESCO, have explicitly sought to align heritage practices with developmental agendas, while heritage researchers have continued to identify heritage as being relevant for development. However, rarely do these two sets of agencies and actors come together to explore each other's differing agendas, challenges, and potentials and instead they risk talking past each other from their different intellectual positions. In response, this session will bring in to conversation papers from professionals and academics in the broad areas of heritage and development studies and practice that seek to engender international development in the Global South through engagement with the past as heritage. Topics may include, but are not restricted to, histories of development, the role of history, archaeology and anthropology in informing development policy and practice, the politics of the past in development initiatives, heritage tourism as an economic driver of development, and the role of museums in development. Of specific interest is the way in which the call for 'heritage for development' is particularly pronounced in post-conflict or conflict transformation contexts.