On July 22nd the Whose Heritage Matters team took part in an online seminar, organised as part of an AHRC Global Challenges workshop, University College London. The team were part of a panel on the effective utilisation of sustainability and heritage research and asked 'effective for whom and how?'
Cultural Heritage and the Just City
Cultural heritage has been historically and persistently marginalised in strategies and policies across multiple scales of action. Because of this marginalization, scholars and advocates have long argued the need to pay more attention to culture and social capital in developing sustainable places. Focusing on the role of festivals, and bringing together case studies from the Global North and the Global South, this research project asked: what do festivals reveal about how grand challenges around cultural heritage and urban sustainability land and resonate in different contexts?
Download the report—Festivals as Integrative Sites:
Cultural heritage is a social and cultural process that has much to add to the concept and practice of sustainable development. This is increasingly recognised in international frameworks for action, such as the New Urban Agenda or Sustainable Development Goals, which suggest particularly that the role of heritage in urban sustainability should be revisited.
This project looked at the lens that festivals can play in revealing how grand challenges around cultural heritage and urban sustainability land and resonate in different contexts. Our work contributes to this question through the compilation of an anthology of practices of festivals in settings in the Global North and South. The anthology is the product of a transdisciplinary research and practice network between social and natural scientists, arts and humanities scholars and cultural practitioners in the UK, Sweden, Amsterdam, Kenya and South Africa.
In addition to the report (available to download above), outputs included an article in the International Journal of Heritage Studies and a short piece in The Conversation, summarising how "Festivals can transform cities by making space for overlooked people and cultures".