Valuing Heritage

grafitti on a public wall

What we categorise as heritage is a reflection of social and cultural values which of course change through generations. Moreover, in the context of rapid mobilities, multiculturalism and cross-cultural flows value systems collide, old values are contested and new values emerge. The idea of value includes notions of finance, economics and legality but extends beyond, to culturally shaped concepts such as meaning, beauty and utility. Value and the socio-political processes of evaluation are at the very heart of what we categorise as heritage and the hierarchies we assign to it to define its social significance. How we value heritage directs whether and how we protect and conserve it, how we present and display it and how we experience it. From world heritage to local museum object, understanding how and why we value the remnants of the past is crucial.