10 May 2023
At this inaugural launch, contributors to Critical Approaches to Heritage for Development will discuss the politics and potential of mobilising the past for ‘progress’, considering some of the key questions and issues the book tackles:
Critical Approaches to Heritage for Development responds to growing interest in the potential for cultural heritage to contribute to development at different scales, from the global agendas articulated by UNESCO and in the Sustainable Development Goals, to the everyday ways in which people draw on the past in working out what a good life might mean and how it might be achieved. Contributions consider a wide range of attempts to mobilise the past for ‘progress’, including formalised interventions led by museums and development agencies, the institutionalisation of traditional practices in service delivery, livelihood strategies pursued by groups and individuals, and claims for restitution and reparation for past wrongs. In addition to heritage tourism and economic development, chapters focus on themes such as maternal and mental health, education, climate and environment, and governance, peace and security.
Both heritage and development are subject to multiple, often conflictual, interpretations, and are implicated in political contestation over how we imagine and value the past and the future. Contributions to the book raise important questions about histories and legacies of colonialism and calls for decolonisation, and related negotiations over expertise, ownership and agency. Instead of asking whether heritage can contribute to development, we aim to explore how the past is selectively used to pursue ‘progress’, and whose pasts and whose futures are at stake.
To find out more about our work, or to discuss a potential project, please contact:
International Development Research Office
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
T: +44 (0)1908 858502