Heriot Watt University

H2020 - CoHERE

Critical Heritages: performing and representing identities in EuropeCoHere NEG PMS1795

Funded under H2020-REFLECTIVE-SOCIETY-2015

From April 2016 to March 2019, an IRC-based team, led by Prof. Ullrich Kockel and including Prof. Máiréad Nic Craith and Drs Cristina Clopot and Kerstin Pfeiffer, together with colleagues from the Latvian Academy of Culture, Newcastle University and the European Network of Cultural Centres, undertook a Work Package on "Cultural forms and expressions of identity in Europe" as part of a major new EU-funded research project

CoHERE explored the ways in which identities in Europe are constructed through heritage representations and performances that connect to ideas of place, history, tradition and belonging. The research identified existing heritage practices and discourses in Europe. It also identified means to sustain and transmit European heritages that are likely to contribute to the evolution of inclusive, communitarian identities and counteract disaffection with, and division within, the EU. The research covered diverse European territories and realities comparatively and in depth.

A number of modes of representation and performance were explored in the project, from cultural policy, museum display, heritage interpretation, school curricula and political discourse to music and dance performances, food and cuisine, rituals and protest. Across an experienced, multidisciplinary consortium we took various theoretical and methodological approaches to these.

Relevance to the work programme was ensured through key approaches:

  1. the relational study of productions and experiences of heritage at institutional, social and personal levels, including research into people's activities and attitudes;
  2. research by practice and the provision of public-facing dissemination activities; and
  3. the critically-informed development of instruments (e.g. models for policy, curricula, museum and heritage practice) intended to promote reflection on and valorisation of European heritages and to engender socially-inclusive attitudes.

The project was multidisciplinary, including museum, heritage and memory studies, cultural history, education, musicology, ethnology, political science, archaeology, ethnolinguistics and digital interaction design. The consortium comprised 12 partners over 9 countries, including universities, an SME, two museums and a cultural network:

  • University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • Aarhus Universitet, Denmark
  • Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Ethniko kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon, Greece
  • Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi, Turkey
  • Alma Mater Studiorum - Universita di Bologna, Italy
  • Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, Denmark
  • Heriot-Watt University, United Kingdom
  • Latvijas Kulturas akademija, Latvia
  • Europees Netwerk Culturele Centra IVZW Belgium
  • Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Poland
  • Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen, Netherlands

The project commenced in April 2016 and concluded with a successful evaluation in March 2019. A first set of essays drawing on our research has been published in a book on Heritage and Festivals in Europe as part of Routledge's Critical Heritages of Europe series.

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CoHERE received funding from the 
European Union’s Horizon 2020 
research and innovation programme 
under grant agreement No. 693289.

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