Heritage is a powerful witness to mindsets and zeitgeist; it is commonly understood that it gives way to a better understanding of societies and even brings together communities. But how would this happen? Can heritage affect reality? What does it change?
Under this question, “What does heritage change?”, the ACHS2016 Conference, hosted by the Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage (ESG, UQAM) in collaboration with the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (Concordia) considers the manifestations, discourses, epistemologies, policies, and stakes of heritage—as a phenomenon, a symptom, an effect or a catalyst; as a tool of empowerment or leverage; as a physical or intangible restraint or kick-off; in communities, societies, or any material or mental environment. Subthemes range from gender-related issues to identity-making, mythologies of cultural diversity and the rethinking of heritage policies beyond the authorized heritage discourse.
The inaugural manifesto of the ACHS called for the building and the promotion of critical innovations and interventions in heritage while questioning the cultural and economic power relations that traditional understandings of heritage seem to underpin. This third Conference builds on the momentum of the previous conferences, held in Gothenburg, Sweden and in Canberra, Australia; it seeks to strengthen and broaden critical heritage studies as an inclusive area of theorisation, investigation and practice built from diverse geographical regions and disciplinary fields, such as public history, memory studies, museology, tourism studies, architecture and planning, urban studies, archaeology, geography, sociology, cultural studies, political science, anthropology, ethnology and artistic research.
Research-creation, panels, sessions, papers, posters and roundtables bring to the 2016 ACHS Conference “What does heritage change?” innovative reflections and interdisciplinary methodologies or approaches to the critical enquiries about how and why heritage is, has been or could be made, used, studied, defined and managed, and with what effects, if any, on a society, a territory, an economy. Contributions explore the reconstruction of narratives, the reconfiguration of social relations, knowledge production and cultural expressions, the transformation of the environment, the (de)valuation of the land, etc. They go beyond canon theories to interrogate discipline-based norms about heritage, and the assumptions that orient practice or decision-making. In this respect, this conference aims to continue important debates about heritage as a domain of politics and citizenship, a living environment, a source of identity and an assemblage of human-non-human relations.
Under the general question “What does heritage change?”, the Conference is organized under ten main themes.
• Heritage changes politics
• Heritage changes economy
• Heritage changes people
• Heritage changes place
• Changes in heritage
• Heritage changes local policies
• Heritage changes local societies
• Heritage changes rights
• How do we study and teach heritage as an agent of change