Whose heritage? Meanings, experiences, and dialogue
24-25 November 2021, the auditorium of the National Museums of Finland, Helsinki and online
Considerations and debates over the different meanings associated with heritage and its actual and symbolic ownership have become crucial both in Finland and across the Western world. Many social and political movements focused on global inequality have profoundly impacted these debates, including debates on cultural appropriation, repatriation of cultural heritage, decolonization, and recognition of indigenous heritage practices and material culture. The meanings of cultural heritage are always multilayered. Several different even competing narratives can be constructed based on each cultural heritage.
Definitions of cultural heritage are enmeshed with power. Official cultural heritage politics, definitions, and preservation practices do not always capture how different groups understand and experience their cultural surroundings. This raises questions such as: Whose cultural heritage is being preserved and on whose terms? What elements determine preservation decisions: historical significance, economic conditions or communities’ needs and desires?
The seminar is co-organized by the Finnish Heritage Agency, the Culture for All Service and the HERIDI project (University of Jyväskylä, Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies). It seeks to address timely questions related to cultural heritage and associated struggles of significance, ownership, power, and dialogue. Instead of juxtaposition or confrontation, open and respectful dialogue can deepen our understanding of the different meanings of heritage and its associated experiences, emotions, values, and power struggles.
The two-day seminar starts with an academic seminar, while the second day focuses on thematic panel discussions targeted towards broader audiences.
Finnish, Finnish Sign Language, Swedish, or English.