Participatory Heritage

Jan 2017 | 240pp

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Participatory Heritage

Edited by Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland

This book demonstrates how heritage institutions can work with community-based heritage groups to build broader, more inclusive and culturally relevant collections.

The internet as a platform for facilitating human organization without the need for organizations has, through social media, created new challenges for cultural heritage institutions. Challenges include but are not limited to: how to manage copyright, ownership, orphan works, open data access to heritage representations and artefacts, crowdsourcing, cultural heritage amateurs, information as a commodity or information as public domain, sustainable preservation, attitudes towards openness and much more.

Participatory Heritage uses a selection of international case studies to explore these issues and demonstrates that in order for personal and community-based documentation and artefacts to be preserved and included in social and collective histories, individuals and community groups need the technical and knowledge infrastructures of support that formal cultural institutions can provide. In other words, both groups need each other.

Divided into three core sections, this book explores:

  • Participants in the preservation of cultural heritage; exploring heritage institutions and organizations, community archives and group
  • Challenges; including discussion of giving voices to communities, social inequality, digital archives, data and online sharing
  • Solutions; discussing open access and APIs, digital postcards, the case for collaboration, digital storytelling and co-designing heritage practice.

Readership: This book will be useful reading for individuals working in cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, archives and historical societies. It will also be of interest to students taking library, archive and cultural heritage courses.

List of figures and tables


Introduction: what is participatory heritage

PART 1: Participants

1. A communal rock: sustaining a community archives in Flat Rock, Georgia – JoyEllen Freeman

2. The Bethel AME Church Archive: partners and participants - Andrea Copeland

3. Creating an authentic learning environment for school children: a case study of digital storytelling programs at the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum - Janis Hanley

4. Viking re-enactment - Lars Konzack

5. Learning, loving and living at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame - Sarah Baker

6. The contributions of family and local historians to British history online - Mia Ridge

7. Forgotten history on Wikipedia - Henriette Roued-Cunliffe

PART 2: Challenges

8. Custodianship and online sharing in Australian community archives - Courtney Ruge, Tom Denison, Steve Wright, Graham Willett, Joanne Evans

9. Who is the expert in participatory culture? - Lýsa Westberg Gabriel and Thessa Jensen

10. Social inequalities in the shaping of cultural heritage infrastructure - Noah Lenstra

11. No Gun Ri Digital Archive: challenges in archiving memory for a historically marginalized incident - Donghee Sinn

12. Giving voice to the community: digitizing Jeffco oral histories - Krystyna K. Matusiak, Padma Polepeddi, Allison Tyler, Catherine Newton and Julianne Rist

13. Issues with archiving community data - Lydia Spotts and  Andrea Copeland

PART 3: Solutions

14. Ethiopian stories in an English landscape - Shawn Sobers

15. Having a lovely time: localized crowdsourcing to create a 1930s street view of Bristol from a digitized postcard collection - Nicholas Nourse, Peter Insole and Julian Warren

16. Digital ARChiving in Canadian Artist-Run Centres - Shannon Lucky

17. New approaches to the community recording and preservation of burial space - Gareth Beale, Nicole Smith and St Mary the Virgin Embsay with Eastby Churchyard survey team

18. A case for collaboration: solving practical problems in cultural heritage digitization projects - Craig Harkema and Joel Salt

19. Open heritage data and APIs - Henriette Roued-Cunliffe

Further Reading


Henriette Roued-Cunliffe DPhil is an Assistant Professor at the  Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She teaches and researches heritage data and information, and in particular how DIY culture is engaging with cultural heritage online and often outside of institutions. Her website is: roued.com.

Andrea Copeland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Indianapolis. Her research focus is public libraries and their relationship with communities, with a current emphasis on connecting the cultural outputs of individuals and community groups to a sustainable preservation infrastructure.


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