Friday, 5 February 2016

Recalibrating Relationships: Bringing Cultural Heritage and People Together in a Changing Europe

Professor Neil Forbes, Coventry University, will be at Digital Past 2016 to discuss some of the important changes which are impacting on cultural heritage in the contemporary world; research based on the work undertaken by RICHES - Renewal, Innovation, and Change: Heritage and European Society, a project funded by the European Commission's Seventh Framework programme. The project's main objective is to reduce the distance between people and culture, re-calibrating the relationship between heritage professionals and heritage users in order to maximise cultural creativity and ensure that all of Europe can benefit from the social and economic potential of cultural heritage.

Cultural heritage is made, held, collected, curated, exhibited, or simply exists in many areas. In this context, it is possible to speak of 'decentering' culture and cultural heritage away from institutional structures towards the individual. The nature of change brought about by the pace and scope of developments in digital technology is unprecedented. With the advent of digitisation, what demands have arisen in relation to how we understand, collect and make available cultural heritage? In what ways is the individual forcing a rethinking of the institution, and how can the later renew and remake themselves? What hierarchies of knowledge, expertise and authority in cultural heritage are being disrupted, transformed or undermined by the digital? 

Beyond this, the talk will consider how citizens can play a co-creative role in cultural heritage, the significance of identity and 'belonging', and the importance of cultural heritage as a force in economic development. Researchers as well as policy makers, funding bodies and managers of cultural heritage institutions and sector professionals are all challenged by these questions as they engage with the transmission and exploitation of cultural heritage. The talk will present evidence and recommendations emerging from the research undertaken and is located within the broad context of debates and discussion about the value, preservation, promotion and future of Europe's cultural heritage. 

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