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York PhD Student Harald Fredheim Publishes in the International Journal of Heritage Studies

Posted on 17 November 2017

Article questions using volunteers as a means to democratise heritage practice in the UK

Harald Fredheim, a PhD student in the department, has published an article in the International Journal of Heritage Studies. 

The article is on the topic of his PhD research, which attempts to address the question of how heritage professionals and researchers can facilitate and sustain public agency in caring for heritage in the UK during austerity without exploiting volunteers or devaluing professionals. It questions exclusively positive perspectives on heritage and volunteering and cautions embracing ‘innovative’ approaches that claim to both alleviate pressurised budgets and democratise heritage practice.

Drawing on Sarah May’s archaeology of contemporary tigers, and specifically the point that endangerment ‘domesticates dangerous things’ and renders ‘learning from the past … less important than “saving the past for our future”’, Harald suggests that the taken for granted position that all ‘heritage’ must be physically preserved for future generations not only leads to the adoption of questionable approaches, but also prevents heritage from effectively performing its social function of mediating pasts in the present. 

Endangerment-driven heritage volunteering: democratisation or ‘changeless change’ is now available open access online.