Affirming Change in Participatory Practices of Cultural Conservation

Hélia Pereira Marçal, Farideh Fekrsanati

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Different disciplines within the art and heritage conservation field have been arguing to make the practice more transparent and collaborative. This chapter argues for the acknowledgement of the positionality of conservation processes. Drawing on feminist scholarship, the chapter will explore the ways in which a collaborative conservation discourse has been framed and how that impacts its ethical positioning. The modes of collaboration in a conservation discourse include consultation, collaboration, participation, and the intended or inherent sharing of decision-making processes. We will discuss how some of those framings consolidate with what the critical heritage studies scholar Laurajane Smith calls ‘authorised heritage discourses’ (AHDs). The process of thinking about those conservation discourses in relation to what the feminist epistemology has called affirmative ethics, we argue, contributes to resituating conservation practices more fairly, equally, and inclusively and helps unlearn preconceived perspectives about knowledge making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParticipatory Practices in Art and Cultural Heritage
Subtitle of host publicationLearning Through and from Collaboration
EditorsChristoph Rausch, Ruth Benschop, Emilie Sitzia, Vivian van Saaze
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-05694-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Heritage conservation
  • Cultural heritage
  • Museums
  • Participatory practices
  • Authorised heritage discourse
  • Contemporary art
  • Indigenous and World Cultures


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