From preservation to reuse. Seeing possible futures

Elizabeth Gardiner, Katarzyna Kosmala*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Appreciation of heritage by Scotland’s communities has been inextricably linked with activism since the 1970s . Since then, European artists and local cultural producers have campaigned for future spaces and places that respect local histories, identities and heritage. In parallel, a polarisation within the arts, culture and heritage establishments has downgraded socially engaged practices: collapsing arts development and heritage preservation with cultural planning. In Glasgow, local people have fought a decade-long campaign to save A-listed dry docks, Govan’s Graving Docks. We argue that the politics around saving the docks are superficially incontestable as a local community aspires to preserve an important heritage asset linked to their own cultural memory and pride. Moving beyond heritage preservation is more problematic. Post-industrial heritage is vulnerable to developer-led homogenisation and subsequently, gentrification. Artists, researchers and activists who, in good faith work with communities, fueling their aspirations and alternative visions for heritage futures, are in danger of becoming a part of the problem. We unpack some of the problems posed by the politics of power and ownership, exploring networks and new business models as keys to advancing a new paradigm for the future of heritage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHeritage - New Paradigm
EditorsDaniela Turcanu-Carutiu
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9781839696213
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • community arts
  • regeneration
  • heritage futures


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