Who Owns Heritage



We live at a time of increasing globalisation energised by people on the move and many of them are tourists.   The international tourism charter takes a view that the protection, conservation, interpretation and presentation of the heritage and cultural diversity of a place is an important challenge for people everywhere.  In this connection, the charter says that heritage management within a context of internationally recognised and appropriately applied standards should be, wherever possible, the responsibility of the local community or custodian group.
 
This ethos requires that we regard tourism as the thin end of a wedge of education aimed at deepening the understanding of global citizenship and harmony between nations.  The concept of place is the central pillar of education for conservation.  These pages explore this ethos through a comparison of heritage management in Wales and Gujarat.  The comparison is based on the proposition that conserving, presenting and visiting places involves, to a greater or lesser extent, their psychological ownership.
 
Wales and Gujarat have in common that they are both regions of much larger states and their indigenous heritage has been compromised by social and economic Anglicisation.  Wales was one of the Celtic regions of the United Kingdom, that succumbed early to social Anglicisation and Gujarat is an example of Anglicisation that was a feature in some sectors of society under the British Empire.  The process of imposing one nation’s identity over another; eroding the history and culture of an indigenous people is nothing new. Regarding Anglicisation, nations all over the world have had their own indigenous names replaced by an Anglo Saxon version and this process is an example of how foreigners in the roles of interpreters and visitors have claimed ownership of someone else's place.
 
 The two regions, Wales and Gujarat have been allocated separate pages and each begins with an itinerary published on the web to attract visitors.  These itineraries summarise a sense of place for each region  and set the scene for management plans to conserve and promote its cultural heritage.