CREATOR, COLLABORATOR, CRITIQUE OR CONSUMER – FRAMEWORKS OF CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION IN HERITAGE MAKING
Text topic: New Museology Between Theory and Practice
Text author: Вишња Кисић
Even though discussions and practices around citizens’ participation in heritage were at their peak during last five years, the ideas about levels and ways of citizen participation through heritage making are by no means recent or unified. These distinctive ideas under the umbrella of “engagement” form a variety of possible, even contradictory frameworks through which the role, rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the citizen and the community are defined in relation to those of the national state, public memory institutions and heritage professionals. They range from those asserting the rights of citizens in dissent and critical thinking towards dominant institutionalized practices, to those advocating participation as an effective way of engaging citizens in consuming authorized heritage discourses. Participation is thus neither good nor bad in acheiving citizens’ rights to heritage, but is driven and influenced by the framework which utilizes it. The proposed paper aims to examine and structure the four key frameworks through which citizens’ participation in heritage making is asserted, in order to shed light on what we are thinking, talking and practicing around participation. The first framework is heritage without institutions tracing back from Marlaux’s imaginary museum performed by every individual, to the ways in which global civic communities perform practices around heritage that challenge dominant politics of heritage. The second relates to group of ideas arround community museums, in which heritage is participatory even in the decision making, but the process is being mediated and curated by the professionals. The third is participatory museum framework in which citizens participate within an institutionalized environment to become more emersed in it, but could (possibly) challenge and shape it by forming their own meanings around musealization. The fourth group is related to critical, discursive museum, derived from critical heritage studies in which professionals are creating civic forums for citizens, thus fostering critical thinking around heritage-making.