2011-12 International Research Seed Fund Award Winners - HUMANITIES

In consultation with an ad hoc advisory committee, a one-time dispersal of funds was made in 2010-11 for a proposal to stimulate a major new interdisciplinary environmental initiative in collaboration with global peers and to foster a robust institutional partnership in the global environmental field.

"Urban Cultural Heritage & Creative Practice"

The common conception of cultural heritage today assumes an unchanging present and past: heritage roots stable societies. But cultural heritage, especially in urban areas, is neither static nor stable. Enmeshed in transnational processes of social change, mobility and cultural diversification, cultural heritage in urban areas is dissonant, shifting and multiple.

This project seeks to reframe understandings of urban cultural heritage. It proposes that heritage is a creative and relational process where places and communities are constantly remade through creative performance. It will rigorously critique models for connecting contemporary arts practice and cultural heritage curation.

Applying the theories and methods of institutional critique and collaborative arts practice, the project will challenge modernist beliefs in progress andcertainty by encouraging transgression, doubt and uncertainty in heritage spaces. This will allow cultural heritage to mediate diverse, permeable, and changing urban communities. It will establish Brown University as the leader in this new area of research and practice.

Bringing together international partners (a university and a cultural heritage organization)from Providence, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Dublin, York and Capetown, the project will establish shared vocabularies, tool kits and best practices for incorporating collaborative arts practice in cultural heritage curation.

Each set of partners will collaborate on fieldwork, sharing outcomes at an annual workshop. An interim meeting will be held at Brown in January 2012. The first workshop will be in Istanbul in June 2012.

Disciplines represented: archaeology, anthropology, performance studies, material culture studies, cultural tourism,historic preservation, collaborative arts practice and public humanities.

PI: Steven Lubar, Director, John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities & Cultural Heritage

Co-PIs: Susan Alcock, Director, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World

Rebecca Schneider, Chair, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies