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Are Contemporary Processes of Migration Changing the Authorised Heritage Discourse?

Heritage Changes the Local Societies
Heritage changes the local societiesheritage and mobilityPost-colonial heritageGlobal vs local
Regular session
9:00, Lundi 6 Juin 2016 (6 heures)
There are many different kinds of migrants in the contemporary world. They include the familiar figures of refugees or undocumented migrants, associated with and suffering from exclusionary practices, poverty, silencing or repressions; skilled migrants with economic resources but lacking the tools for cultural and social integration; migrants or second generation migrants returning to their homelands and becoming "strangers" there; people moving to several countries as global nomads, etc. An increasing number of people are thus living “transit lives,” between different cultures.
In the past decades museums and heritage places all over the world have begun to adapt to this challenging situation. From enlightened and exclusive institutions, promoting one version of the past and national identity, museums have had to transform themselves to remain relevant in our fast changing and diverse world. Equally, some countries are increasingly identifying and protecting heritage places, routes or landscapes that are significant to people affected by mobility such as migrants/diaspora, ex-colony citizens, modern and contemporary slaves, etc. These changes include giving greater access to collections and exhibition spaces, promoting multi-vocality in the interpretation of collections, encouraging migrants’ involvement in exhibitions through co-curation, or developing participatory methodologies among local and/or excluded communities for the definition of the significance of heritage places.
This session invites papers that discuss, analyze and evaluate approaches, methodologies and the impact of programmes of museums and heritage places involving people in cultural transitions (including migrants, refugees, cross-cultural people). Basically, we are interested in investigating what happens to heritage when people’s identities are in transition due to mobility. Issues which the session will explore include:
• Specific museum programmes developed for migrant communities, such as language learning programmes, well-being sessions, employment schemes for migrants, etc.
• Migrants’ critical views of museum’s programmes and collections.
• Definition of new heritage places and museums from a migrant perspective and approach (i.e. multi-vocality and participatory policies).
• Redefining the diverse significance and uses of mainstream heritage places in the context of globalized, dynamic and fluid cultures (i.e., the heritage of emotions applied to migration).
University of Kent
Linnaeus University (Sweden)
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow
Linnaeus University
Professor of Archaeology

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