Children’s Place in Heritage Practice Exploring practitioners’ conditions for allowing children to participate in heritage work and planning
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a law in Sweden - indicating that children should be allowed to express opinions on all matters that affect them. Simultaneously, the National Heritage Goals (NHG) states that everyone should be able to participate in heritage work to increase their understanding and responsibility for the cultural environment and heritage. Although these (inter) -national documents exist, the Swedish National Heritage Board has stated that practitioners do not always know how to relate to these documents in practice. A lack of research on children’s participation in heritage work concerning cultural environments also means unawareness of how the practice functions today. This thesis investigates conditions for heritage and planning practitioners to work with children’s participation in heritage practice by studying legal frameworks, understandings of heritage practice, and the practical work with children’s participation in heritage work and planning. The study has been based on qualitative and quantitative methods to create a general picture and understand practitioners’ experience of this issue. Based on theories and models about children’s participation and the expert-oriented heritage sector, the results of this thesis have been analyzed. It appears that children’s participation in heritage practice is lacking and that practitioners encounter several challenges in working with this issue. There is a great need for support from the top as heritage regulations do not emphasize participation, making the concept interpretable and complex for heritage and planning practitioners to operate in practice. When children are allowed to participate in heritage-related issues, most cases do not relate to active or genuine participation. Implementing the CRC in heritage work is deficient, and the sector is influenced by an expert-focused discourse. Although several practitioners feel they want to work more on this issue, there is a fear - triggered by the discourse - resulting in ideas of children not being fully capable of comprehending cultural heritage. To comply with the CRC and work toward the NHG, practitioners of all public heritage and planning authorities need to look over their child perspectives to increase the possibility for children to participate in heritage work and planning.
Degree project for Master of Science with a major in Conservation 2022, 30 hec Second Cycle 2022:17
Children’s participation, Cultural heritage, Heritage practice, Child perspective, Heritage regulations, Convention on the Rights of the Child
ISSN 1101-3303 2022:17
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