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Heritage Literacy (Darko Babic & Zeljka Miklosevic)



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The heritage literacy is a desirable and expected outcome of the heritage based education process. It has foundation in the comprehension of literacy as a state of having knowledge or competences in an explicit field and in comprehension of the heritage as a collective capital of (any) community. In it uttermost form heritage literacy is a form of life-long learning, adapted to differences beneficiaries represent. Accordingly, it is obvious that heritage literacy falls much more into citizenship based education then any formal education process (although some part of it could be reached in latter too). The aim of the presentation is to explain the idea and main points of heritage literacy, its necessity and to present the possible outline of methodical heritage education.

The concept will be illustrated by two different projects: creating of cultural routes by secondary school kids (in clusters of pupils from different countries) and with on-going project located at Croatian ex-war area.

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Heritage Literacy (Darko Babic & Zeljka Miklosevic)

  1. 1. Heritage Literacy Considering a topic related to the concept of heritage Darko Babić & Željka Miklošević Research Assistant & Assistant lecturer University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences SubDept. of Museology (and Heritage Management) CROATIA & Wind Rose Association, CROATIA Heritage Care through Active Citizenship Mechelen 23rd and 24th March 2009
  2. 3. Literacy (definition): Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary , literacy is " the quality or state of being literate ” The term literate has (at least) two definitions : 1) able to read and write 2) Versed in literature or creative writing, having knowledge or competence in a specific field” “ visual literacy" - “the ability to recognize and understand ideas conveyed through visible actions and images (as pictures)”
  3. 4. ' The Centre for Literacy of Quebec ' , Canada (http://www.centreforliteracy.qc.ca/def.htm) Literacy is a complex set of abilities needed to understand and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture – alphabets, numbers, visual icons - for personal and community development . The nature of these abilities, and the demand for them, vary from one context to another. In a technological society, literacy extends beyond the functional skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening to include multiple literacies such as visual, media and information literacy. These new literacies focus on an individual’s capacity to use and make critical judgements about the information they encounter on a daily basis. In search of desired definition:
  4. 5. HERITAGE <ul><li>the collective cultural capital of the community, alive and constantly changing or being created . </li></ul><ul><li>Hugues de Varine </li></ul>part of culture which comprises a set of values – recognized, researched, protected and communicated as identity Tomislav Šola
  5. 6. <ul><li>selected or carefully filtrated knowledge, as a sort of doubtlessly right and truthful knowledge which is always connected with making the right judgments regarding actions and the decisions we make, our behaviours and functioning </li></ul><ul><li>stored objects or remembered practices are not heritage, but just constituent elements which through their use have the potential to become heritage. Emphasise is on the fact that heritage is, essentially, wisdom and it becomes that only through a meaningful use for the benefit of common good . </li></ul><ul><li>The roots of this paradigmatic change ,in &quot;museum / heritage world&quot;, could be traced back to the 1970's and the eco-museum movement </li></ul>Heritage-Wisdom theory
  6. 7. museological theory classic model COLLECTION BUILDING PUBLIC eco-museum model HERITAGE TERRITORY COMMUNITY is the totality of is the totality of is the totality of An ecomuseum is a community-based heritage project that supports sustainable development source: P. Davis. Ecomuseums: a Sense of Place, 1999.
  7. 8. Heritage education is: A continuous process with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of local identity ... ... developed on the grounds of interpretation of heritage in its totality (natural, cultural, technical ... heritage) lifelong education (constantly subject to evaluation , change and development)
  8. 9. Definitions: The more an i n dividual and/or community becomes familiar, understands, learns and know about heritage, it is more heritage- literate. The heritage literacy is a desirable and expected outcome of the heritage based education process Heritage experts should be mediators in the process of heritage education bringing the source and users closer together The objective of heritage education is to develop the skills in individuals/community which would provide an understanding of heritage, whereas the ideal of heritage literacy is the state in which they would competently manage heritage thus contributing to the creation of new, additional values and the improvement of the quality of life and sustainable development.
  9. 10. Heritage literacy – three basic levels Lifelong heritage education – Longterm strategy, systematic approach Developing heritage literacy (raising awareness of heritage) The first level of heritage literacy presup p oses the ability to experience or recognize and understand heritage Developing heritage literacy (heritage education) The second level entails the ability to interpret (in a personal way) and the possibility to observe (consider, reflect on) heritage and the heritage phenomenon Developing heritage literacy (studies of heritage and heritage management) The third level includes the ability to analyze and critically observe (deeper analysis and “insider view”), therefore, a detailed examination of the very phenomenon which includes societal, economic, political and other aspects forming and affecting heritage . Any one could be further developed in di ff erent ways
  10. 11. region of Ravni kotari inland Dalmatia, Croatia <ul><li>- before war region with mixed population – shared heritage </li></ul><ul><li>borderline during the war, devastated and destroyed </li></ul><ul><li>problems – people, on both side, very slowly return to their homes since do not have basic needs </li></ul><ul><li>initiated heritage orientated action at University of Zagreb with support of local community (ies) </li></ul><ul><li>AIM: </li></ul><ul><li>To use heritage as main source of reconciliation and development </li></ul><ul><li>castle – centre of actions </li></ul>
  11. 14. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- a group of people from the University of Zagreb decided to become more actively involved in the situation in the Ravni Kotari region, and therefore they initiated a heritage orientated action - the Bridges Project The main thesis / the core of the project is the idea that local heritage could be the main catalyst for progress.
  12. 16. ....the problem of the salvage of the castle is not only about its material form but it is intertwined and closely connected with the problem of repopulation and revitalization of the villages and entire area. Without doubt there is a great need for restoration of this important monument, but what is even more important in this kind of complex situation ... ... is a wisdom oriented approach and approach based on multidisciplinary team of experts who are able to foresee and respect the entire situation, enable the renewal of the monument and at the same time take into consideration the ethnic cohabitation of the people living t here, and their needs.
  13. 22. Eco-Park &quot;Pernat&quot; island of Cres, Croatia <ul><li>no inhabitants (mid of the island, without &quot;sun & sea&quot; tourist potentials) </li></ul><ul><li>- NGO action </li></ul><ul><li>started with summer festival & events </li></ul><ul><li>- thematic walking routes with interpretation of local identity </li></ul><ul><li>- workshops, seminars, lectures </li></ul><ul><li>regional centre established </li></ul><ul><li>- people again live in the area </li></ul>
  14. 23. INSTEAD OF CONCLUSION: Our ability to cope with the real world , and heritage , that surround us will have a significant influence on our life and its quality (development dependent on heritage) and, therefore, on our (personal, local, regional, national) abilities to become competitive in the world we live in. Contacts: [email_address] [email_address]