How can we create new meanings for heritage in the context of accelerated climate change?
This is an interdisciplinary research project that aims to draw upon insights from three case studies, which might improve consultation processes for these and comparative communities. Using perspectives and knowledge, ideas and methods from disciplines including Film and Media, Heritage Studies, Public History, Ecological Humanities, Eco-critical and Religious Studies, the work will connect with more abstract knowledge to animate and catalyse a larger debate about what we value in testing times.
What do we mean by heritage?
Whereas popular imaginings of 'heritage' are likely to include buildings or assets with acknowledged historic value, there is an increased awareness among heritage organisations and administrations that the more 'ordinary' or 'everyday' can also be valuable to communities, embedded in local history and the texture of lived lives. Broader definitions of heritage could include a bus shelter, coastal path, or even a particular tree, because they have meaning to the people who experience them. In order to deepen our understanding of 'sense of place', we will use a multi-layered interpretation of heritage as a concept and a process relating both to the tangible as well as the intangible (values, beliefs, practices). This strategy is essential to fully appreciate the subtle and traumatic ways in which climate-change disrupts community lives and identities, with potentially painful transitions ahead.
Sara Penrhyn Jones' film 'Trouble Waters', which thinks through heritage and climate change via the experience of Kiribati inhabitants, was shortlisted for the AHRC Research in Film Awards.
All header photos on this website © Sara Penrhyn Jones