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  • Author or Editor: Helen Graham x
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Legacies of Co-production
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Heritage as Community Research explores the nature of contemporary heritage research involving university and community partners. Putting forward a new view of heritage as a process of research and involvement with the past, undertaken with or by the communities for whom it is relevant, the book uses a diverse range of case studies, with many chapters co-written between academics and community partners. Through this extensive work, the Editors show that the process of research itself can be an empowering force by which communities stake a claim in the places they live.

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This introductory chapter provides an overview of heritage as community research. Many scholars have explored how discursive processes shape the past and how the past is understood in the present, deconstructing the ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’ of professional museums and official heritage sites. From the point of view of the communities involved with heritage through research, it is not simply about discursively arguing against a mainstream interpretation of the past, but about making their own way into an exploration of the past. While the cases in this book function on the ‘local’ level in one sense, they are considerably more than just local history. Instead, they locate what may be much broader processes in specific situations of places and people. Framing this work as ‘inquiry’ draws attention to the ways in which ‘ways of knowing’ are also ways of acting in the world, ways of creating change and using the past for future-making.

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This book explores the nature of contemporary heritage research involving university and community partners. Putting forward a new view of heritage as a process of research and involvement with the past, undertaken with or by the communities for whom it is relevant, the book uses a diverse range of case studies, with many chapters co-written between academics and community partners. Through this extensive work, the book shows that the process of research itself can be an empowering force by which communities stake a claim in the places they live.

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This book explores the nature of contemporary heritage research involving university and community partners. Putting forward a new view of heritage as a process of research and involvement with the past, undertaken with or by the communities for whom it is relevant, the book uses a diverse range of case studies, with many chapters co-written between academics and community partners. Through this extensive work, the book shows that the process of research itself can be an empowering force by which communities stake a claim in the places they live.

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This concluding chapter explores future directions for community heritage as research. These directions are indicated through reflections on, and for, some of those who will bring the futures of heritage into being: funders, universities, schools, and activists and communities. In the open future for funders of heritage projects and programmes, funding agencies would have built on the many successful experiments for developing co-produced and collaborative research. Research on heritage would be recognised as being at the vanguard of universities’ roles in their communities, both local and global. Schools that can find the curriculum in heritage, rather than in learning facts about the past, would create space for pupils and teachers to play an active role in researching the past in partnership with community and other heritage groups. Meanwhile, activists and communities would be enabled to have a much greater role in researching and telling their own heritage stories.

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This chapter explores how York’s city archives can be used to open up different kinds of democratic relationships. It focuses on archival collections relating to Hungate, an area of York that was designated a ‘slum’ and demolished by the council during the 1930s. The chapter looks at health inspection records, explores maps and the 1911 census, and reads angry letters from people whose lives were being affected by local government decisions. Seeing the breakdown in relationships between local people and local government — and the way in which this is reflected in cynicism towards the council today — has led to the development of a conceptual intervention this chapter dubs the ‘Utopian Council’. The Utopian Council seeks to imagine and stage a more positive and reciprocal relationship between the council and local people.

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In this project the legacies that artists left when they worked with universities on collaborative interdisciplinary projects are explored. This chapter discusses how artists influenced such projects and what kinds of contributions they made. An introduction to the histories of artists working in community projects is provided. Then the approaches to understanding what artists did on these projects is outlined. In order to find out about their practices, the authors drew on a number of methodologies, using experiential as well as empirical methods. It is concluded that artists deployed a number of different ways of knowing to create spaces for co-produced ideas to emerge in collaborative projects. Through a process of analysis it is found that while in some cases artists were devising activities based on ideas that had been constructed in the main by academics, in others, ideas and project directions were jointly constructed, sometimes leading to a new outcome or object. The conclusion to the study was that the effect of artists working in collaborative interdisciplinary projects can be profound and far-reaching for research and the knowledge it produces.

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This chapter describes the significance of material qualities of the legacies produced by collaborative research that focuses on heritage. Collaborative research works partly through the intangible processes of networking, skills development and so on, but also often through encounters with things, places and landscapes. Material creations and outputs are also frequently made in collaborative research, and this chapter provides a frame of reference and comparative examples. Heritage research addresses problems of the material directly and so can give resources in this field to those working on other kinds of collaborative research. The chapter presents a series of narratives of materials from collaborative heritage projects, which in themselves reflect the forms of knowledge created by those projects. It concludes by noting the significance of being in touch with materials, and the significance of things and places in collaborative research, along with how with the distinctive politics of materials unfold through them.

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This chapter discusses the Inclusive Archive of Learning Disability History. It points to a collaborative relationship between the political ideas derived from public political logics — public service, public sphere, ‘on behalf of the public’ and for posterity — and those that derive from relational and personal-centred politics. Rather than favouring one or the other, the chapter argues that for an archive to be an archive, and for it to be an inclusive one, an approach to archival practice that held both the public and the relational political traditions in dialogue needed to be developed. Both political traditions have a history of being very effectively expressed in the learning disability self-advocacy movement as speaking up and being heard, and of arguing for services to start with the individual by being more ‘person-centered’. As such, the chapter reveals that the task of this archive is to explore fruitful combinations and collaborations between the two political traditions.

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with members of the Ceramic City Stories team
, , , and

This chapter discusses the idea of do-it-yourself (DIY) heritage, that is, heritage as it is produced through people’s actions, conversations, and relationships. The chapter looks at the Do-It-Yourself Heritage Day event and how it worked to create moments of connection — what the Ceramic City Stories team call the ‘Stoke Ping’. It draws on wider DIY traditions ‘to describe an ethos of horizontal community action, of mutual aid and of making alternatives now’. DIY approaches challenge models of exponential growth that often exist in funding, policy, and activism, and instead favour the magic of small moments and connections. Yet, they also show — through a recent innovative Heritage Lottery Fund initiative — how funding can be deployed to enable rather than constrain DIY horizontal, small-scale, and action-led approaches.

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