The understanding and appreciation of cultural heritage is progressing to increasingly consider heritage beyond monuments, and beyond ‘iconic’ and ‘authentic’ places. The appreciation of heritage is moving to a more all encompassing approach, considering different takes on memory, place, identity, cultural expression, and change. All these aspects are part of different communities, which are embedded in cultural heritage. Heritage lives in the everyday life and culture of people and is ever changing and in a constant dynamic development. Communities of all scales and conditions not only have a vested interest in their own heritage, but they are part of it, in its constant and continued development and redefinition.
Moreover, the dynamic authenticity of places and communities relies on a continually changing fabric, culture and activities, balancing the fragile ecosystem they create. Change therefore is a welcomed process, but the way change is managed is instrumental in maintaining the cultural heritage and authenticity of places and communities. In the case of cities, but also in rural contexts, top down large scale redevelopment often neglects the grain, detail, activities and users of local places. It also neglects the significance of those places for the communities embedded in them, risking their disruption and the neglect and erasure of their heritage.
Scholars at Queen’s Heritage Hub investigate, through oral history, ethnography and urban morphology, the relationship between the fabric of cities, material culture and the communities that safeguard and and are part of their cultural heritage.