Critical Heritage Studies in Theory and Practice

23.2.2021 o 13:00
The concept of heritage as something inherited from the past to preserve for the future generations has been in the focus of a critical re-evaluation since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Both researchers and managers of various types of heritage assets have recognized that the values of these are not inherent and universal but attributed to them in specific socio-cultural contexts.
Heritage experts more and more focus on the discourse, the processes through which these values are created and manifest. Since the ones who define the discourse has a major role in not just determining what happens to heritage but also in the process of heritage making, power relations and the dynamism of discourse and decision-making are crucial to understand both for researchers and practitioners in the field of heritage conservation, policy, and management. Furthermore, research is increasingly recognizing the agency of the material world in these heritage processes: it is not just humans who change objects and the environment, but the latter also can transform individuals and communities. These new approaches to heritage labeled with the term “Critical Heritage Studies” have brought significant changes in how the role and potential of heritage are seen in the present and future, which has also been manifest in EU and national policies and funding schemes for the past decade. The presentation will explore these processes and examine how they are manifest in the goals of our EU-funded action research project called Openheritage: Organizing, Promoting and ENabling HEritage Reuse through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment.

The 80-minute-long event will consist of a talk providing a perspective on Critical Heritage Studies followed by Q&A and general discussion.

About the speakers:
Dóra Mérai is an art historian and archaeologist, a postdoctoral fellow at Central European University, Budapest. She defended her PhD there in Medieval Studies, and now she teaches and does research in the Cultural Heritage Studies Program. She published a book and several papers on various aspects of visual and material culture and commemoration, Renaissance art, as well as the historiography of art history and archaeology. Her current research in various projects addresses the problems of periodization in art history, and the role of material and visual culture in the history of emotions.

Volodymyr Kulikov is a historian, a visiting scholar at The Matej Bel University (supported by the National Scholarship Programme of the Slovak Republic). He specializes on the business history of Eastern Europe, with a particular interest in the history of enterprises, stakeholder analysis, and corporate social responsibility. He is currently working on projects looking at the past as a resource for business organizations. Besides these, Dóra and Volodymyr currently run their joint projects on the adaptive reuse of heritage (OpenHeritage – H2020), with special emphasis on industrial sites (CONSIDER – H2020; From Burden to Resource: Industrial Heritage in Central-Eastern Europe – Visegrad).