14.30 Heritage Futures
What do nuclear waste disposal, built heritage conservation, endangered language preservation, museum collecting, and the curation of family heirlooms have in common? “Heritage Futures” is a large, collaborative research project funded by a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Large Grant, and supported additionally by its host universities and twenty-one academic and non-academic partner organizations. Our team of twelve academic researchers is carrying out ambitious interdisciplinary research to explore the potential for innovation and creative exchange across a broad range of heritage and related fields, in partnership with a number of academic and non-academic institutions and interest groups. The project is distinctive in its comparative approach which aims to bring heritage conservation practices of various forms into closer dialogue with the management of other material and virtual legacies such as nuclear waste management. It is also distinctive in its exploration of different forms of heritage as distinctive future-making practices. Our methods draw broadly on visual and material ethnography, but also incorporate documentary research, creative artistic practice, ethnographic film making and creative knowledge exchanges. Here we are influenced by the work of George Marcus and others on multi-sited “para-ethnography” in which ethnographers come together with other expert knowledge producers in the development of shared, critical insights which cut across the fields in which we work.