Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 4th Biennial Conference


Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

September 1-6, 2018

Call for session papers

Minority Arts and Heritage: Border Work and Contact Zones



Dr Susan Ashley (

Leonie Wieser (

Deadline: 30th November, 2017

The global rise of heritage studies and the heritage industry in recent decades has been a story of crossing frontiers and transcending boundaries. The 2018 Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference Heritage Across Borders, to be held in Hangzhou China, takes ‘borders’ as a broadly defined yet key concept for better understanding how heritage is valued, preserved, politicised, mobilised, financed, planned and destroyed. Thinking through borders raises questions about theories of heritage, its methodologies of research, and where its boundaries lie.

This session, seeks to bring together scholars interested in borders and connections inherent in the Arts and Heritage activities of ‘minority’ communities. Papers will examine how and why immigrant and ethnic peoples draw on ideas of heritage in their artistic expressions, self-representations and ethno-centred creative organisations. Particular attention will be paid to the ways that such ‘heritage-making’ through the arts might be seen as borderwork: as boundary-making or as contact zone or as ‘engines of connectivity’ (Cooper & Rumford, 2011) located outside of mainstream museums and arts organisations.

How heritage is implicated in artistic or creative expressions may have aesthetic, social, pedagogical or political motivations and impacts. Heritage expressed through the arts is a process of cultural production and active ‘making’ of individual and community senses of self. This can be a performative and affective process by which minoritised people use ideas about the past or about traditions to express creatively their place within the world, and strategically assert their voices in the public sphere. Such arts practices might entail the use of minority heritage to react against exclusionary nation-based ideas of heritage. They might be a means by which border-less diasporic networks maintain connections as they deal with ‘borders’ in their everyday lives. Heritage-based minority arts might also be a vehicle for stereotypical cultural production, or alternatively as a means to evolve new cultural forms.

The session aims to develop greater critical discourse on the complex borderwork of minority arts within heritage-making, and, the place of immigrant and ethnic heritages in the contact zones of arts and culture. Diverse and inter disciplinary perspectives from practitioners, managers, artists, and policymakers as well as academics are encouraged.



Submissions must be made to the ACHS email address AND panel coordinator Susan Ashley at before 30th November 2017. Cite session 071 Minority Arts and Heritage: Border Work and Contact Zones under theme Nations, Regions, Territories. See the conference website at

Abstracts must be no more than 500 words, and include a title. Also include your name, email address and place of employment or study and a brief bio. For more information contact Susan Ashley.

Association of Critical Heritage Studies

The Association of Critical Heritage studies is the world’s leading group of researchers, professionals and contributors in heritage studies ( The association dedicates itself to examining the social, territorial, economic and cultural issues and impact of tangible and intangible heritage and wishes to contribute to the renewal of knowledge and the improvement of heritage practices in political, academic, regional and community circles, in particular by cutting across perspectives and queries and by opening up disciplinary and national perspectives.

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