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Community-driven Research in Cultural Heritage Management: the Waanyi Women's History Project

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Community involvement in heritage management is an issue that is increasingly being debated within heritage studies and management agencies. This paper examines a case study from Queensland, Australia, of a community-initiated and controlled heritage project. The paper outlines and discusses the implications that this project has to an understanding of the nature of heritage, the processes of its management and the role of expertise within management. It argues that the development of a management process that is meaningfully inclusive at a community level must overthrow the ways in which heritage is defined and understood. Not only must concepts of intangible heritage be developed, but also concepts of heritage must usefully incorporate an understanding of the nature of intangible experiences and values that are associated with the physical aspects of heritage. Moreover, it is important to understand that these experiences and values are themselves open to management and regulation. Subsequently, an inclusive management process requires a self-conscious evaluation of the role of heritage managers in the process and a conscious decision to support, or otherwise, local community aspirations.
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Keywords: Australia; Community; Heritage Management; Indigenous Heritage; Intangible Heritage; Women's Heritage

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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