This course starts with an exploration of the notion of innovation and what this might mean in policy, management and governance, in relation to heritage practice in particular, in the 21st century. Then we move to the exploration of sets of state-of-the art, cutting edge techniques. They are explicitly chosen for their potential use in heritage policy and practice in the 2020s. But also for their relevance to understand and cope with aspects high on the agenda in the academic year 2020-2021: dealing with the Covid 19-pandemic, polarization and controversies (decolonisation, Black Lives Matter, inequality, …), Climate Change and democracy, to name just a few.
One module is on “theory of change”(TOC) and overall results frameworks. We study not only how they are used in global organizations, and UNESCO in particular, but also if it can be used as a next-generation toolkit for strategic planning in heritage organizations.
A next module zooms in on a number of innovative techniques of participation and co-creation that would have been the core of the course without corona risk in the class room. We explore techniques that were designed to function in conditions of social and even physical proximity (world cafés, post it notes sessions, …) and even draw their energy from this. But this power of co-presence is now suddenly short-circuited, generating even challenges to organize a skills-oriented course on the topic. As they will be needed after the social and physical distancing rituals or (digital) homework, we do have to learn and experiment with them. But systematically a Anti-Covid19 version will be mobilized, imagined or co-created.
One module explores the Burra Charter and how this has influenced procedures of significance assessment in Australia, and more recently in several parts of the world, including Flanders. Which toolkits are available and how can they be used?
A connected but much broader toolkit is assembled by Kate Clarke. The aspiration of her book is explained in the introduction: “Traditionally, heritage specialists have used their expertise to define the significance of heritage sites, but increasingly practitioners will need to behave less like dictators and more like facilitators – listening to people, engaging with communities and helping groups to explore what matters, rather than telling them. Yes most of us were not taught how to do this”. In order to remediate this, Kate Clark wrote and drew a hand- and inspiration book: Kate Clark, Playing with the Past. Exploring Values in Heritage Practice, New York-Oxford, Berghahn, 2019. In the slipstream of this volume we will explore the work of Robert Hewison, and in particular his leadership handbook.
Also toolkits of participatory methods developed and applied in the Netherlands, in particular the sustainist model, are discussed, next to other models of co-creation and co-design.
Finally we will get acquainted with tools developed to deal with controversies, sensitive issues and difficult heritage. Here we tap into the ongoing REGER-project on controversial heritage in Flanders and test a number of the tools that are being developed to respond to the Covid19 risk context.