Cultural Heritage and Community Engagement Research group
The Cultural Heritage and Community Engagement research group (CHCE) provides a forum for research and meaningful engagement with tangible and intangible heritages – from Scotland to the wider world.
Heritage is very much in the public eye at the moment. Yet with all its dimensions, it can be difficult to define. How do we study it, how do we protect and promote it? In this group, staff and students from across our University with a research interest in the human past, meet with key stakeholders and interested members of the public to think forward – about the future of heritage studies, heritage management and engagement, and our changing relationships with the things of the past.
Within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, and based on our experience in cultural heritage management and public outreach, we want to enable and foster debate and reflect critically on heritage practices and heritage values of our time. In close cooperation with like-minded individuals from the academic, institutional, professional, and volunteer sector, we aim to make heritage mainstream, accessible, and engaging, and want to contribute our research and outreach to the protection of our past.
The key themes in our work are:
- Future Heritage / Heritage Future(s) - Creating new heritages now; protecting heritage for the future; future-proofing heritage – and the heritage profession.
- Intangible Heritage - Spoken, performed, hidden, and metamorphosing.
- Inclusive Heritage - Common, diverse, contested, emerging, with changing identities and values.
- Heritage Frontiers - Crossing borders into other disciplines, specifically entangling heritages with art, the natural sciences and nature conservation.
To start our conversations and grow contacts and connections from which to build collaborations, we organised a day workshop on Monday 18 June 2018. With more than 50 participants, from PhD students to professors, heritage professionals to heritage activists, we discussed key topics for today and the future – and how to build collaborations in research and practice across our different sectors, backgrounds, and objectives.
Each year we run a series of events under one topic. In 2018/19, this focused on “Community Engagement and Co-production”. In November 2018, we celebrated the European Year of Cultural Heritage jointly with colleagues at Heriot Watt University to explore sustainable approaches to community heritages. In the academic year 2018/19, we are holding a series of workshops, round table discussions, and short training exercises to highlight individual projects from Shetland to Egypt and to share experiences and encounters.