Built heritage conservation: The implications of cultural racism, segregation and oppression

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Amar, J.H.N., Armitage, L. and O’Hare, D. (2016). Built heritage conservation: The implications of cultural racism, segregation and oppression. In R. Amoêda, S. Lira, & C. Pinheiro (Eds.), Heritage 2016 – Proceeding of the International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development (pp. 225-236). Lisbon, Portugal: Green Line Institute.

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Introduction: In Australia and Tanzania, as in many countries, the cultural built heritage comprises a blend of colonial architecture and urbanism. At the same time, it also reflects the culture of racism, segregation and oppression between the countries' original inhabitants and the newcomers. These cultural traits have enabled different societies to arrange themselves on a continuum of space and time in the cultural landscape. Yet, the significant traumatic memories embodied in the historic buildings, monuments and sites create ongoing moral tension on perceptions of heritage value and conservation decision-making between these two groups.

Purpose: To highlight theoretical and practical implications of cultural traits for conservation management of cultural built heritage.

Methodology: This paper is based on qualitative methods. Data were collected through a literature review, in-depth focus groups and interviews from key informants in Australia and Tanzania.

Findings: Stakeholders' perceptions, which impact on the conservation goal of safeguarding significant places regardless of their cultural ramifications, should extend beyond moral judgements.

Research implications: Further investigation is necessary to grasp how deeply the cultural traits of racism, segregation and oppression influence the conservations and management of cultural built heritage in the context of postcolonial multicultural societies.

Originality: This approach allows policymakers, heritage practitioners and community groups to identify potential strategies to overcome cultural barriers when implementing a conservation plan for the management of cultural buit heritage in a previously poorly researched field of study.

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