Across the global networks of heritage sites, museums, and galleries, the importance of communities to the interpretation and conservation of heritage is increasingly being recognised. Yet the very term "meaningful community engagement" betrays a myriad of contrary approaches and understandings. Who is a community? How can they engage with heritage and why would they want to? How do communities and heritage professionals perceive one another? What does it mean to "engage"? These questions unsettle the very foundations of community engagement and indicate a need to unpick this important but complex trend.
Engaging Heritage, Engaging Communities critically explores the latest debates and practices surrounding community collaboration. By examining the different ways in which communities participate in heritage projects, the book questions the benefits, costs and limitations of community engagement. Whether communities are engaging through innovative initiatives or in response to economic, political or social factors, there is a need to understand how such engagements are conceptualised, facilitated and experienced by both the organisations and the communities involved.
Bryony Onciul is Lecturer in History at the University of Exeter; Michelle Stefano is the Co-Director of Maryland Traditions, the folklife program for the state of Maryland and Visiting Assistant Professor in American Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Stephanie Hawke is a project manager and fundraiser, working on a range of projects aiming to engage communities with cultural heritage.
Contributors: Gregory Ashworth, Evita Busa, Helen Graham, Julian Hartley, Stephanie Hawke, Carl Hogsden, Shatha Abu Khafajah, Nicole King, Bernadette Lynch, Billie Lythberg, Conal McCarthy, Ashley Minner, Wayne Ngata, Bryony Onciul, Elizabeth Pishief, Gregory Ramshaw, Philipp Schorch, Justin Sikora, Michelle Stefano, Helen Tully, John Tunbridge.