heritage, legacy and leadership

ideas and interventions

The Cultural Leadership Programme and the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage were delighted to present Heritage, Legacy and Leadership: Ideas and Interventions on 22 February 2008. This international symposium was conceived as a cutting-edge intervention to stimulate analysis and debate that would enrich leadership development within the heritage sector.
The event brought together an eclectic and stunning mix of senior managers, practitioners, academics, policy makers, advisers and experts. This gathering of influential stakeholders produced a rich synergy as they explored the thinking, experiences and practices needed to develop bold, creative and progressive heritage leadership. By placing the challenges facing the sector within an international context, the symposium provided a rare trans-national forum. The exchange between renowned speakers and the heritage sector at large produced a stimulating dialogue, marking priorities and igniting possibilities for a dynamic and diverse twenty-first century heritage leadership. The Heritage, Legacy and Leadership symposium featured a range of engaging and sometimes provocative presentations, some of which are represented in this report. The key message emerging from the symposium was that cultural leadership is a collective responsibility and that we as individuals must strive to create, support and contribute to the leadership paradigm we envision. ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for’ was the phrase that resonated most powerfully throughout the proceedings. Doudou Diène’s thought-provoking keynote address is featured, along with a selection of the inspirational and at times challenging presentations that have been revised for this publication. Three complementary papers provide a commentary on the symposium’s value and legacy for the sector. Taken as whole this report bears witness to the aspirations and issues facing the leadership of the cultural sector in the UK and further afield. We invite you to fully engage in the symposium through this report, adding your voice and visions to the call for transformative cultural leadership.

Dame Jocelyn Barrow Chair, Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage Dr Hilary S Carty Director, Cultural Leadership Programme

A key and energising message from the thought-provoking symposium, Heritage, Legacy and Leadership: Ideas and Interventions, was that change demands action. Successive speakers from the podium and the floor movingly and graphically described the vivid and inspiring opportunities that lie within our grasp.
Many expressed frustration that progress has been hesitant and patchy. I agree with them. We need to be even more determined to take up the cause and work together towards improvement, excellence and engagement with all people. In a time of economic uncertainty, people and communities can derive strength, purpose and reassurance from experiences involving culture, the arts, learning and the celebration of heritage and identity. But in a modern age we simply must apply these ideas to all people – people of all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, genders, orientations and means. Creativity and imagination can help us to see ways to remove barriers to understanding; to deploy the widest possible array of media; to see that the legacy of heritage can be understood and appreciated through a stimulating blend of music, performance, art, dance, display, study and reflection. Collections, references, information and materials belong to us all. These resources can be presented, interpreted and applied for everyone but more emphasis is needed on the approaches to making it so. The built environment is part of the story. Buildings can speak but they have to be arranged in ways that convey a welcome. Open spaces are vital too, and we need to use them dynamically as part of the expression of a truly embracing and broad-based narrative. Stresses and strains in our cities, towns and villages will not be healed by politicians or by ‘someone else’. The only people who can help fix the issues, bridge the gaps, improve lives, make things happen and realise the potential of the rich diversity in our midst, are those who read this foreword. You and me. Enjoy the report. Read it well. Then let’s act together for the sake of all people.

Roy Clare, CBE Chief Executive, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council


contents 1 I Prologue Nima Poovaya-Smith 06 2 I Heritage and identity Doudou Diène – keynote address Samuel Jones – response 10 20 3 I Leadership. national identity and inclusion Roshi Naidoo Lonnie G Bunch III 24 29 4 I Leadership and change in the twenty-first century James Early Patricia Glinton-Meicholas 34 41 5 I Transforming heritage leadership: challenges and goals Temi Odumosu 46 6 I Circles of interaction. dialogue and exchange Janice Cheddie 60 66 69 7 I Appendix: symposium programme Acknowledgements 05 .

Alchemy is undertaking a number of major cultural programmes in partnership with cultural. She currently serves on the Council of the University of Leeds and is a Trustee of the Beecroft Bequest. a cultural enterprise company with a particular interest in the confluences of different cultures.1 prologue Nima Poovaya-Smith Nima Poovaya-Smith is founding director of Alchemy. She set up the Transcultural Gallery at Cartwright Hall and previously held senior positions at the National Museum of Photography. academic and public sectors. Film & Television. 06 . Bradford Art Galleries and Museums. and Yorkshire Arts.

with its growing economic clout. have often been agents for transformational change. 07 . The transatlantic slave trade resulted in a wealth of buildings. However. And the inimitable Ken Livingstone was replaced as Mayor of London by the equally distinctive and flamboyant Boris Johnson. effectively his third language. as Diène reminds us. almost invariably make no mention of the enslaved Africans who built them. Even though it was the cultural resistance to slavery. where the dominant communities are the memorialists or gatekeepers of heritage and the dominated communities are characterised by invisibility and silence. Barack Obama. that ultimately destroyed the slave system. Languages such as English therefore continue their dominant hold on heritage. The soaring architecture of City Hall matches the imposing conference title.Three defining events have taken place between the staging of the Heritage. as Samuel Jones from Demos points out in his response to Diène. Diène cannot fail to impress as he addresses the conference without notes. the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism. racial discrimination. He provides compelling examples of what I label ‘victor heritage’. Doudou Diène. however. particularly in Victorian and Edwardian times. was elected as leader of arguably the most powerful nation on earth. and were not bashful about asserting their prosperity and success through some rather spectacular civic architecture. legacy and leadership through the supremacy purchased by their colonial histories. I remind myself. in the most thrilling presidential race in recent history. listening to speakers from all around the world. Lewis Hamilton greatly added to the gaiety here in Britain by becoming the youngest ever Grand Prix world champion. a kind of cultural genocide. Legacy and Leadership. speaking with enviable lucidity in English. In fact. alludes to architecture and its ability to retrace or deny hidden heritage. Millions of Chinese read contemporary Chinese literature yet those outside of China would be hard-pressed to name a single Chinese-language. is not able to impose cultural leadership easily. Local governments. Legacy and Leadership symposium in February 2008 and the writing of this prologue. There is something chilling about vast swathes of heritage being deliberately suppressed or unrecorded. Looking back on the symposium it surfaces as a series of surprisingly vivid snapshots. best-selling writer. even a large country like China. I shiver in the bright winter sunshine. monuments and prison forts from Africa to the Western hemisphere. There is something both uplifting and surreal about sitting in a light-filled atrium in the heart of London. the keynote speaker. The recorded histories of these structures. xenophobia and related intolerance. rich in abstract nouns: Heritage.

In one of those rare confluences. Clare issues a challenge and an invitation: the Council is seeking a Chair and he wants as many people present at the conference as possible to apply for it. there is no denying his was a bold intention to engineer a genuine culture shift. In fact. While I am still ambivalent about Clare’s strategy. marketing. I ponder about the wisdom of this clarion call . Director of the National Portrait Gallery. working in close tandem with the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage.The symposium’s joint presenters include the relatively new but increasingly influential Cultural Leadership Programme. In almost all the presentations. It is well supported by a wide range of cultural agencies. I listen attentively but in a state of mild reverie as presentations and discussions ping pong slightly mystifyingly but always interestingly from global issues such as racism and xenophobia to the importance of diversifying governing bodies of British cultural institutions – a point made with particular passion by Roy Clare. Chief Executive of the Museums. politics. Sandy Nairne. including those from our transatlantic and European colleagues. arts and academia came together on that day. has strengthened my view that something different and important was happening at the symposium and it was. the worlds of commerce. Andrew Motion. there is a sense of tapping into an increasingly powerful twenty-first century zeitgeist. human rights. Academic and writer Roshi Naidoo points out the connection between the failure to create more diverse cultural leadership in this country and the way we conceive so-called minority histories and the nature of their incorporation into largely unchallenged heritage narratives. in Roy Clare’s gift. As is my style with events such as this.will this raising of expectations lead to even greater disillusionment and cynicism? The appointment is not. culture. There is a noticeable emphasis on the creation of a new paradigm for diversity and minority heritage discourses are firmly shifted from their ‘other’ status. it has to be said. The concerted and orchestrated demand for fundamental change in how we perceive heritage. has since been appointed to the post and I understand that there were an unprecedented number of applications from people who would not have otherwise thought of applying. Baroness Lola Young draws attention to the danger that the 2007 Programme relating to the Bicentenary of the Parliamentary Abolition of the Slave Trade could result in a narrowing down of issues or ‘treating enslavement as a single linear narrative’. The current Poet Laureate. invest in securing its legacy and ensure a more diverse and sophisticated leadership. A landmark event. points out that ‘the challenge is not in 2007. Libraries and Archives Council. the challenge is beyond that as to where we shift the interpretation’. 08 . deftly led by Hilary Carty.

Barack Obama typified leadership at its most inspirational by demonstrating how the heritage of disenfranchised communities of people can become a mainstream message of hope for an entire nation. we have the opportunity to make seismic cultural shifts. 09 . Big historic events such as Obama’s election to the US Presidency are built on smaller historic moments such as this symposium. its legacy the opportunity to start afresh with new narratives and discourses emerging from the margins into the mainstream. On this wave of collective energy and optimism.

and a professor of Intercultural Tourism in France. racial discrimination. taking heritage and identity as his theme. He is a Vice-President of the International Council of Social Sciences and Philosophy.2 heritage and identity Doudou Diène keynote address Dr Doudou Diène gave the keynote address at the symposium. a member of the International Council of Auroville and the Niwano Peace Prize Committee. He explored two key dimensions of heritage: the ultimate expression of cultural interactions and the way that it has been instrumental through history in legalising domination and exploitation. Doudou Diène has recently completed his tenure as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism. He was awarded the Concours General in Philosophy in Senegal in 1962. xenophobia and related intolerance for the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. In his previous role as a Director of UNESCO he led various projects on intercultural dialogue. 10 .

The construction of identity In September 2007. content and the role of history in its determination. This confirmed how important heritage is in the definition of national identity. My mandate is to investigate racism worldwide and to report to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly.un. My reports can be found on the UN Human Rights website1. The most important part of my mandate is to investigate racism in the UN member states and reach out to victims thus breaking their silence and invisibility. Using this term is 1 www. One of the challenges I shared with the Council members was the idea that even geographical names are ambiguous and carry prejudices. Keynote is such a big word and suggests that I have something enlightening to share with you. One thing that has arisen from these experiences is the fact that discrimination. xenophobia and related intolerance.I suggest that we forget about the concept of a keynote speech. In my country. it is a construction. which is central to building and preserving identity. racial discrimination. I switched on my television and saw your Prime Minister. when I submitted my report on racism worldwide to the Human Rights Council. its values. heritage is at the heart of culture and we value both in a very creative way. The Slave Route Project and Roads of Faith. I was appointed in 2002 as United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism. This is a critical issue particularly in the so-called global context. in charge of intercultural and inter-religious projects such as The Integral Study of The Silk Road: Roads of Dialogue. racism and intolerance threatens and denies heritage. Take Latin America. So far I have investigated around twenty countries. Gordon Brown. delivering a speech on the issue of granting nationality to migrants.org/rights/ 11 . for example. What precisely is a world marked by diversity? This issue came up even as I arrived in London from Paris yesterday. Another example that demonstrates the complexity and ambiguity of this burning issue involves an incident that took place before the Afghan war started: the destruction of the huge statues of the Buddha in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley. Identity is not something that comes from the cosmos. I highlighted the fact that the issue of identity lies at the heart of racial discrimination and xenophobia. I don’t have anything enlightening to deliver or any final solution to such a complex issue as heritage and identity. I have been working for the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for around 30 years. The comments the press made about the Prime Minister’s new policies concerned the concept of Britishness. The first thing I would like to share is that I am Senegalese. I just have questions and reflections that I’d like to share with you.

even ethnic specificity and leave it behind in order to become accepted and integrated into the country they are entering. What about the Indian Americans. This is normal.and here again we come back to heritage . A fundamental criterion of their integration is the full. for instance – learn the language of the receiving country. This is because . history and consequently heritage in the construction of identity. ‘Latin America’ means that the identity of that part of the world is Latin. Political leaders’ statements on integration require something very basic: that those coming from the outside – migrants or asylum seekers.those coming from outside Europe. Heritage. the naming of countries. We need to revisit the notion of national heritage. if possible. The national heritage promoted until recently in most South American countries through their national celebrations. In Europe. The people invisible in this naming are precisely the two communities historically dominated and discriminated against in the Northern hemisphere. without cultural or spiritual values. The implication is that newcomers have no values to share with. They arrive naked. especially in Europe. In the concept of Britishness. instrumentalised in this way. for example. history and therefore the heritage of the receiving country. memory. the receiving society. religious and. the notion of integration is based on the idea that those coming from outside Britain or its immediate neighbours are coming from nowhere. This renaming is a telling example of the role of memory.akin to calling Africa ‘Catholic Africa’ or ‘Norwegian Africa’ or ‘Latin Africa’. have to literally undress at the border of European countries. or contribute to. the migrants. ❛ Migrants must step out of any kind of cultural. are adding integration programmes that require the foreigners or newcomers to answer questions on the country’s history and values. hidden and denied by the seemingly innocent geographical term Latin America. streets and squares is overwhelmingly that of the Spanish or Portuguese conquistadores. They have nothing to contribute to the country they are coming to. asylum seekers and so on. But more and more countries. the current dominant policies and statements on so-called integration and assimilation comprise what I call ‘stripped-down integration’. non-critical acceptance of the values. is the expression of the ideological reconstruction of memory and history in the process of domination and discrimination. the indigenous people? What about the African enslaved people who arrived later? The indigenous and the African roots of the Northern hemisphere’s identity are ignored. Different groups and peoples reinterpret it differently. cities. Newcomers have to engage and be familiar with the broader heritage of the country they are moving to and then pledge to accept it. Two profound manifestations of discrimination underline this concept of integration: the silencing of the newcomer’s memory and heritage ❜ 12 . It implies they have nothing.

Memory brings me back to my first point about integration and the associated question of heritage. Paradoxically this approach to integration is the strongest indictment of colonialism as an enterprise of enlightenment and civilisation because the newcomers. The challenge of diversity. particularly as it is expressed through non-European immigration. research. The idea was to study. shapes it. What is heritage? Where does our heritage come from? Who defines it. is considered a threat to the national identity redefined in terms such as Britishness. which is often the former coloniser.and the invisibility of their identity. The more diverse the people on the streets. and particularly here in Europe. the more political leaders and scholars are tempted to introduce legislative or intellectual barriers to differentiate between those inside and those outside. I launched The Silk Road Programme around 15 years ago. These two concepts. are considered to have nothing worth contributing to the receiving country. is what I call the ‘identity crisis’. understandably. religious and cultural components and has been the bedrock of nationalism and the cause of most of the bloodiest wars and conflicts in Europe. identity and security. One of the causes of the rise in racism and xenophobia is the fact that the more diverse and multicultural a society becomes. This redefined national identity includes not only language but also undefined national values and the knowledge and acceptance of history and recognition of national heritage. In my work at the UN over the past six years I have realised that one of the key causes of the increase in racism and xenophobia worldwide. preserves it and why? Here we touch on the critical ambiguities of the concept. This is often defined by a mix of ethnic. document and understand the dynamics of interactions between the so-called East and 13 . Let me give you two examples based on my work in UNESCO. A country or group has to define its identity. shaped a long time ago. are sources of the increase in racism and xenophobia. the more you see this as central to the speeches of political leaders and scholars who have been defending national security since 9/11. European countries are going through a profound identity crisis because their national identities were. Memory and values The two key challenges of any multicultural society are those involving memory and values. The defence of national identity against multiculturalism is the new ideology used by political leaders in electoral platforms and has been legitimised by the media and scholars. most of whom come from former colonies. So we return to the idea that heritage is central to the issue of identity. But the prevalent notion of national identity is that which reflects the ideology of the nation state. The concept of national identity is now clashing with the multicultural dynamic of modern society.

retraced the route of the so-called Silk Road to document more holistically the breadth of intercultural exchanges involving people. archaeologists. a brilliant Iranian scholar. He said. The complex is the national emblem of Cambodia and is depicted on the flags of various political parties and communities. We studied what happened in the original landmass we call Eurasia. rather than simply debating in meeting rooms the story between the so-called East and West. beautiful and rich Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. This point is essential because it is the only way to challenge the dangerous practice of nationalising heritage. Then one of my colleagues. It has been transformed and enriched along the way both in its spiritual content and in its artistic expression. The expedition. When we launched it. ‘Look carefully at their features. The spiritual tradition from which Angkor Wat incarnated Buddhism came from the place now called Nepal in North India. Africa had been forgotten in this equation. For example. religion and more. as an African. look at their dress they are Persian. As we entered one an eminent Chinese academic showed us a statue of a seated Buddha surrounded by bodhisattvas. Angkor Wat is ultimately the end result of the trail of Buddhism from India to Cambodia.❛ West. music. The Chinese scholar told us this was an example of their national identity. But it so happened that. Another interesting example of heritage as an expression of intercultural dialogue is the massive. We organised seminars along the way with academics from the different countries we were visiting. That was ideal. which included academics. drew our guide’s attention to the ❜ 14 .’ The point was that heritage had been used to legitimise national identity but it more profoundly expressed the interactions and multicultural contacts between peoples. bodhisattvas’ physical features and dress. I ran that programme. So Angkor Wat is the final expression of that long journey of intercultural exchanges between a great number of peoples and civilisations. we visited Dunghuang. food. asking him to examine them closely. whatever national heritage monument you encounter. The idea here is that. an oasis in the Sinkiang region on the west side of China where there are 400 Buddhist caves. language. you should consider heritage as the ultimate expression of a multicultural dynamic and interaction. using it both to marginalise communities and to One thing we quickly realised was how heritage has been used throughout history to shape and legitimise national identity: the identity of one community or group was used as a model to be accepted by other groups. one of the key and most original ideas was to organise international expeditions in the field. historians and poets among others. architecture. But following our multidisciplinary discussions we realised that Cambodia cannot consider Angkor Wat as a symbol of national identity as it is a Buddhist structure.

those monuments. the ultimate source of stigmatisation. and xenophobia. I have been teaching this concept in a French University for the last three years. The dominated community is made invisible socially. religion or culture. Cartagena de Indias in Colombia and Salvador da Bahia in Brazil. 15 . There are buildings. Two key issues in the transatlantic slave trade are closely linked to heritage. We all know how important and urgent it is to consider the dynamic of a ‘ghetto identity’.these two notions are at the heart of racism. the way it is practised today. underlining the common heritage of the countries of Central Asia. for example. In my work with UNESCO on intercultural programmes I have identified the two features that dominate the process of capturing and nationalising heritage: the invisibility and the silence of the dominated communities. where governments are tempted for nationalist and economic reasons to infuse the notion of ‘ghetto identity’ into their national heritage. economically and politically. For example. discrimination. In cooperation with the World Tourism Organisation I strongly promote this reading of tourism. All these are architectural expressions of the slave trade. One is the fact that the all-powerful trade – from Africa to the Northern hemisphere – can be architecturally retraced. interaction. no mention of the enslaved Africans who built them. the Cape Coast and Elmina forts in Ghana and forts on the Island of Gorée in Senegal. racism. That community’s own history and its historic contribution to its adopted country are silenced in the writing and teaching of history but more profoundly in the definition and celebration of a national heritage. monuments and forts in which enslaved Africans were kept on the coast of Africa. there is no trace. When the Balkan wars started in the early 1990s. This deeper understanding of heritage is critical in the promotion of tourism as a fundamental and unique tool of intercultural dialogue . Acts of genocide are often accompanied by the destruction of symbols of the victims’ national heritage.promote the view and identity of a given community. But when you read the history of those structures. There are huge cities such as Santiago de Cuba.not just as an economic exercise. exchange and dialogue between people. Hidden heritage Now I want to look in more detail at the way heritage has played a role in something that Britain is very familiar with: the transatlantic slave trade. It was hundreds of years old and the Serb military leaders destroyed it because they considered it to be a symbol of the identity of the communities they were trying to slaughter. Invisibility and silence . you may remember that one of the first acts of destruction was the bombing of the Bridge of Mostar. This is why it is critical that we challenge and revisit this notion of heritage and give it a more complex meaning as a dynamic process of encounter. There are forts along the coast of South America and the Caribbean.

the concept that enslaved Africans were humanly and culturally inferior. checking their teeth etc. killing and suffering. the enslaved Africans realised that the position of their socalled masters was weak in the long-term because they were blinded by their prejudices. kept watching the Cultural resistance Even more telling. Where are the slave markets? They exist but the identity of the cemeteries and mass graves. across the Atlantic Ocean. the enslaved fought. Physical resistance. I think it is important because the cultural resistance to slavery was the most powerful resistance and it ultimately destroyed the slave system. The basic ideology of slavery. called ‘the biggest tragedy of mankind’ because of its centuries-long duration and for the number of victims . been clearly grasped or even studied and documented by historians is the cultural resistance. I think. The enslaved realised that the masters did not see them as human beings. A key point I want to emphasise with regard to the slave trade is that heritage has been used to perpetuate the silence and invisibility of what one of the key French historians of slavery.Important places have also been hidden. Tourists speed through in their cars but they do not realise that the places they are crossing were built on violence and oppression. Throughout the history of slavery the enslaved. especially in this era of mass tourism. From the villages where they were captured in the African countryside. African feudal lords. I think is important to highlight the way the physical heritage of the enslaved Africans has been reinterpreted to hide the tragedy. like all dominated people. They kept fighting. what is highlighted is the sun. Muscle. is another part of the trade that has a bearing on heritage: the whole issue of the cultural resistance to slavery.millions. Physically fighting back. because the traces of that suffering have been hidden. from the first day of their capture until the end of slavery. A fundamental dimension of resistance to slavery that has not. in my view. When you walk through Havana. JeanMichel Deveau. We all know that. on the way to the coast. What is cultural resistance? Let’s look first at the fact that. tens of millions. They selected them by touching their muscles. from the beginning. to their arrival in the Americas and the Caribbean – they were fighting back. often by 16 . Kingston or any big Caribbean city. inside the ships where they lay in chains. Bodies strong enough to work in the new lands. in the forts where they were kept before the ‘middle passage’. the essence of racism. was the root and pillar of the masters’ mindset. despite what historians have said. sand and sea. In the context of the UNESCO Slave Route project I have called this the ‘maroon culture’ – where culture was used as a powerful weapon to escape enslavement. are hidden. The masters saw the enslaved as merely a physical workforce. even some of the forts which are beautiful architectural structures.

gave his blessing to this enterprise from the beginning. for example. Their master did not see what had happened. what he liked. They renamed Christ. While apparently worshipping Christ.’ But – and this is the most fascinating aspect of the cultural resistance – they used Christ by giving him a new identity. They had no rights because they were not considered human beings and these conditions lasted for over four centuries. What was their cultural strategy? The enslaved could not say no or refuse anything the master demanded. their inner richness and their inner life force.❛ masters. their villages and their culture but they took their intangible heritage with them into four centuries of ❜ 17 . When the enslaved were required to worship Christ they could not refuse. master. they were worshipping their own god. He demanded that the enslaved worship Mary and Christ because as you know the central institution of Christianity. darkness and violent oppression. what he ate. what made him angry or happy. the Pope. They started to rely on their intangible heritage to survive: their gods. If we have to revisit heritage we have to revisit it in two dimensions. that of their gods from their homelands – Orisha. the historic combat that profoundly shook the slave system and established Haiti as a free republic. Obeisance to the master was deemed and defined in writing as a Christian virtue that could lead people to paradise. The full story has not yet been told. Africans had been taken from their lands. because their survival was conditional on knowing how the master moved. The physical or tangible is the dimension you can see and touch. They said ‘Yes. It is one of the most incredible stories of cultural creativity and resistance. their rituals and their beliefs. such as monuments. as long as the masters converted the enslaved to Christianity. The Saint-Domingue revolution of August 1791. killed or maimed. was itself sparked by a Vodou religious service. Slavery may have been one of the most terrible tragedies of humankind as the enslaved were defined by the ‘black codes’ as goods to be used. They kept watching in order to survive. one of the most important and ignored historical episodes in the context of modern human rights. watching them very closely. what he did. They integrated him in their cosmogony and their spiritual world. But the enslaved quickly realised that the master did not see their intangible heritage. This is when the cultural resistance started and here I am touching on the dimension of heritage that has been neglected – the intangible heritage. how he ate. I will give you some examples of this intangible heritage concerning people and communities from this history. The intangible dimension – the one the masters were blinded to by their prejudice – is the one the enslaved relied on to survive.

When their masters ordered the slaves to kill a pig on feast days the masters kept the flesh and gave the enslaved the bones. which still profoundly permeates post-slavery societies of the Americas and the Caribbean. Food provides another example. to check whether the person next to them was alive. inventing from different elements. The enslaved used it and kept inventing. so important in the societies and communities descended from slavery. for example. The ethical dimension of this cultural resistance has also been overlooked. which is why the notion of family is so strong. fruit and herbs to invent a dish called Feijoada. They practiced their values in conditions of extreme suffering. We now know that the slaves used those bones. Here again is a construction. But the master saw only the dance dimension. AfroAmerican slang is still full of words from these languages. transformed. In order to survive they had to communicate with each other. meaning and purpose to their daily obligations and impositions. One of the key values that emerged from the transatlantic slave trade. Women played a central role in preserving and strengthening family bonds in these settings. is the value of family. and values to survive through cultural resistance. In the slave ships they lay tightly packed side by side. which is both dance and aesthetic movement and also a form of martial art. physical and cultural. or where they came from. The enslaved were forbidden to use any modes of physical resistance. changed and recuperated in an incredible and creative process of reconstruction.values denied to them by the prejudices of the slave traders. putting together. emotions. From the beginning they put in practice their traditional values of compassion and solidarity in order to survive . beliefs ❜ . every day. Another key dimension that remains undocumented is the role of women as central figures in resistance. I have said that the enslaved used their intelligence. Cultural resistance nourished every dimension of daily life. Yoruba and other African languages together to try to understand each other. assembling. to ❛ 18 The enslaved subverted. In Brazil. In order to connect through words and sounds in these awful conditions they invented a new language on board the ships. They found a way to communicate by putting Wolof. This is now a main dish in Brazil. they invented Capoeira. thinking that was all they deserved. and giving new sense. mixed them with seafood.Another example concerns one of the key rules of that period. a means to survive. Forty per cent of the enslaved Africans landed in Brazil. When the enslaved left the cotton fields or the mines in the evening and returned to their quarters it was their time for recharging emotionally at family gatherings. every minute.

and still is. but in some places. Another example of creative cultural resistance is the way the enslaved Africans and their descendants invented festivals and carnivals not simply as opportunities to break their isolation and get together. Heritage has been instrumentalised historically as a tool to render ❛ silent and invisible those communities that are dominated and discriminated against. exemplified by maroon cultures. Cultural resistance was the lifeblood of the enslaved. The powerful dynamics of cultural resistance. such as the island of Reunion. Heritage is both physical and intangible. Slowly and painfully cultural resistance enabled them to recapture the humanity denied to them by the slave system’s ideology of racism. preserve cultural traditions and expressions – and organise revolts and resistance. The most profound aspect of heritage is the inner heritage of beliefs. It permeated all dimensions of life through the centuries of darkness and total oppression. are still alive in the communities of African descendants in the Americas and in Europe. but also as opportunities to exchange information. ❜ 19 .slavery. values and emotions that define our humanity by linking the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of culture. Heritage in this light is a central challenge to multiculturalism. women used herbs to end their pregnancies so their babies would not be born into slavery. democratic and interactive multicultural societies. a powerful force for resistance and building equal. Women not only worked in the cotton fields and in the mines like the men. But heritage was. Herbs were also used by maroons to kill the dogs the masters sent to track them down when they were hiding in the mountains. These cultures represent a profound link between ethics and aesthetics and demonstrate the multicultural dynamics of preserving cultural identities while promoting universal values. material and spiritual.

20 . libraries and archives to the cultural and social life of the UK. He sits on the UK Executive Board of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). He is co-author of ‘Cultural Diplomacy’ and ‘Knowledge and Inspiration’. His work covers a range of subjects including culture and the arts. which looked at the contribution of museums. In particular. Samuel Jones is a researcher at Demos. he is interested in cross-cultural communications and the role of culture in international relations. museums and galleries.Samuel Jones response to keynote address Samuel Jones responded to Doudou Diène’s speech by reflecting on the role that cultural presentation has to play in providing opportunities for us to think about the past and its legacies in different ways. the think tank for ‘everyday democracy’. creativity and the communication of ideas and knowledge through the cultural sector.

Yet how many people in the City of London. It is through culture that we have a vital means of coming to grips with the world around us.’ Policy has begun to respond to the very different stories that culture and heritage can tell. That is not to say that any of these has greater truth than the other but rather it underlines the importance of culture and how we relate to each other. The second point is the idea of culture as a space where we encounter and voice different attitudes. Contemporary fiction is hugely popular. it is the DNA of our identity. This is where cultural provision can play a very important role. We need to think about what this means and in particular think about the structures. Socio-economic developments and technology have magnified the importance of cultural encounters. opinions and outlooks – the place where all our identities meet. The choices made by this huge readership reflect what life in contemporary China is like. 1 The Commission for Cohesion and Integration was a fixed-term advisory body set up in 2006 to consider how local areas can make the most of the benefits delivered by increasing diversity. a few weeks ago I read an article that really made me think. Hidden Dragon’ as I am by reading the leader columns of the Financial Times or The Economist.There are two points in Doudou’s thoughtprovoking introduction that I’d particularly like to explore. ideas. can even name a contemporary Chinese author? Furthermore. I am just as likely now to find out about China from watching films like ‘Crouching Tiger. Mass immigration. leadership and policies that are appropriate within this context. who are trying to do business with China. what do they know about the cultures that all those authors represent? What does this say about our understanding of the people we are trying to do business with? Culture has always been a crucial part of how we relate to each other but in recent years its importance has been intensified. In other words. There are encouraging signs that this is already happening. The first is the way that Doudou located heritage as both a result and manifestation of cultural interactions. the permanent settlement of disparate communities and global media have brought lots of different cultures together into greater proximity. Online and in the streets we encounter a more diverse range of cultures now than we have ever done in the past. A significant step forward in our thinking would be to consider how we accommodate all the different cultures that we engage with. We recently saw a commitment to culture in international relations here in the UK in 2007. 21 . Just to illustrate this. with around 200. when the Commission for Cohesion and Integration1 flagged up the potential role for culture: ‘It [culture] has moved from being seen as an optional extra to acting as a fundamental reference point for the personal and social lives and the well-being of communities.000 titles published annually. People queue outside bookstores before they open in the morning. China has by far the most productive publishing industry in the world: about six billion units are published each year.

This is far from saying that everybody has to know everything. and through all the cultural forms that we encounter. However. Cultural institutions are important in providing the skills by which we can interpret the different cultures around us. as Doudou puts it. everything from pots to shoes. The Equiano exhibition provided a public space within which Birmingham’s black community could represent their own thoughts on heritage and history. forced into slavery in the Caribbean and finally his struggle for freedom and his emergence as a prominent figure in eighteenthcentury London. food and so on and it is bound up in society as a whole. The curators had used Equiano’s story to present a very different context of the city’s sense of its own heritage and identity. we are not taught to do this now. Culture impacts on every aspect of our lives through attitudes. many of the slave ships were equipped with weapons and objects that were made in Birmingham’s own foundries. lifestyles. So. We need to approach these cultural encounters as a form of conversation. It is an area where policy makers and cultural providers must continue to collaborate. clothes. the industrial artefacts displayed in the same museum – and celebrated as a source of pride and regional identity – were at the same time presented as being intertwined in the terrible networks associated with slavery. However. It strikes me that during my schooldays we understood the past by looking at cultural forms. 22 . I think ‘cultural presentation’ has a crucial role to play as it provides opportunities for us to think about the past and its legacies in these different ways. Much of the industrial success of modern-day Birmingham is built upon trades that depended upon slavery and exploitation. I would like to take this one step further in reference to Doudou’s thoughts on heritage as an expression of human interaction. The exhibition chronicled Equiano’s life and journey as he was first taken from his home in Africa. can come in.Picking up on Doudou’s comments about slavery. Visitors to the exhibition were presented with a very different way of thinking about their own attitudes to the past. the intangible in the tangible. it is important that cultural institutions enable and participate in conversations that respond to the different cultural forms we encounter. which is of course essential to good relations within our communities. but also as places where we can learn to think anew about our past and therefore the present. including policymakers and those in education. I was reminded of an exhibition about the life of Olaudah Equiano that I saw at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. For example. This is where new opportunities for collaboration between cultural providers and people who present our heritage. not just as guardians and presenters of our heritage. They can provide the context for these conversations. from documents to paintings. Cultural institutions have a role. Furthermore. it allowed visitors to become aware of new and varied perspectives of British heritage. Reading.

Roshi Naidoo is a research consultant specialising in cultural politics in the heritage sector. Libraries and Archives. 24 . and the advisory board to discuss the Government’s response to the commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. national identity and inclusion Roshi Naidoo Dr Roshi Naidoo was one of the panel members exploring the challenges and ethical issues concerning the role of heritage institutions as custodians of history and their responsibility as mediators for shifting notions of cultural diversity and national identities.3 leadership. In 2007 she was a member of the advisory board for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s African Diaspora Research Project. She is co-editor of ‘The Politics of Heritage: the Legacies of Race’ and she researched and wrote Exploring Archives for Museums.

Proving our comfort with difference The fear of addressing Britain’s diverse history in this way seemed to be based on the worry that it would be too diffuse to rewrite heritage narratives to locate this nation as always having been shaped by migration. African and Asian descent are at the centre of the county’s heritage – in the histories of its stately homes. I made what I thought at the time to be the wholly non-contentious claim that Britain is made up of waves of migration and diaspora and that the legacies of colonialism – domestically and internationally – require closer scrutiny and representation in the heritage sector. a ‘mongrel nation’ was a troubling idea for most people. I made the point that I think many of us in this room have made over and over again.were based on some complex issues. the implication that we are all in some sense migrants and. the economies of its industries and in every aspect of its culture. that there was a preference for projects where visible differences could be marked – for example. if they were placed in the bigger context of the county’s everyday history rather than treated as an exotic add-on. I said. This add-on approach to such histories mitigates the development of an inclusive leadership within the cultural sector. by 25 . Namely. But only. were more interesting to me. This approach would not be as easy as organising a multicultural event that would visibly illustrate one’s commitment to diversity.I kid you not. The parts of the project that recorded migration stories. I declined the invitation to work with children of African descent and talk to them about African animals at a local natural history museum . particularly those of Travellers and Gypsies. The best way of explaining what I mean is by citing a few examples from my own experience. and in other experiences I’ve had in the heritage sector.The main question I want to address is whether there is a connection between the failings in creating a more diverse cultural leadership in this country and the ways in which we conceive so-called minority histories within the cultural and political life of the nation as a whole. for example. I also showed minimal enthusiasm for various multicultural festivals that were suggested. you can’t make some of this stuff up. I recently worked on a cultural diversity project in the heritage sector in a home county. to borrow a phrase. However. How would people know that it was a diversity project and that the museum sector was now being more inclusive if this approach were taken? It became clear in this case. The objections that I met from many corners although not all . we should stop tinkering around the edges and think about the ways in which. the histories of people of Caribbean. I think there still is a desire to accommodate and incorporate difference into largely unchallenged heritage narratives.

In his book After Empire1 Paul Gilroy talks about British culture being characterised as one of national melancholia. They may not help in your institution’s funding application for a community project. But this was coupled with an acute sense of loss for simpler times. Without these visual signposts how would heritage institutions indicate that they are comfortable with difference? Everyone is familiar with the policy document that always has a small black child engaged in some kind of learning activity on the front! To be critical of this can be seen as churlish and it is difficult to air some of these grievances. by taking this approach you make a long-term commitment to shifting views of what our national heritage really is. Audience figures for museums and archives show that there is still an under-representation of certain groups. as they so often have us believe? Or is it just as much for heritage sector institutions themselves? I would be less cynical if this strategy of the pursuit of visible differences went hand in hand with changing the narratives around the colonial objects in museums.brown faces on websites. Abingdon. and how does this work to secure a view of the institution as somehow ethnically neutral. There needs to be a specific appeal to difference. who seemed to occupy that place between a melancholia for a past England and a pragmatic awareness of the need for a new voice of multiculturalism. inclusive and therefore universal? Is the primary focus of these initiatives the welfare and inclusion of so-called minority communities. After Empire – Melancholia or Convivial Culture? Routledge. For people who understand British history within the binary ❜ 26 1 Paul Gilroy. They may not necessarily result in a lot of minorities instantly turning up at your museum. she talked of the first anti-racist bus boycotts in England. Such an approach would show a more profound commitment to ethnic minority audiences and demonstrate a clear shift towards new ways of framing how we all understand our collective national heritage. ❛ A genuinely inclusive approach to heritage would mean accepting the fact that we are all caught up in the same historical and geographical momentum. When I was reading this I thought immediately of a woman working on the project I mentioned earlier. But we also have to ask in whose interests is it to mark certain differences. different dress – providing the kind of evidence that allows you to tick the ethnic boxes. These shifts may not lead to immediate visible changes. However. 2004 . something acted out in her participation in World War II and medieval re-enactments. rather than desperately trying to shoehorn different histories into the same old historical frameworks. Oxford. such as when there is a sporting victory. Therefore it is only right that special attention is made to bring them in. punctuated by moments of manic celebration. For example. magnanimous.

It might be that heritage narratives which embrace a radical sameness are more enlightening or challenging than those which only foreground difference. African and Asian descent in the war. our shared mongrel identity must make us shift how we think of heritage. the special events. and Stephen Fry. What does this mean for leadership in the heritage sector and for those of us who work as consultants within it? ❛ The effect of the add-on approach in terms of people’s professional lives is this: if so-called minority histories are the extra bits. the notion of ‘contribution’ keeps these figures at a distance from all those other heroic war figures. while there is much talk of the ‘contribution’ of military personnel of Caribbean. We do the work loaded at the service-delivery end. it is not difference in its present guise that poses a threat but the fact that it was always so. Englishness. anything ❜ 27 .of a white past/multicultural present. come in for the one-off projects. add-on staff Noting and accommodating difference might not currently be the most radical move. For example. In many parts of the local heritage sector World War II is by far the most visited of all historical moments. a figure who is widely seen as representing quintessential We mostly do the short-term work. And here there is space for some acceptance of difference. but also for comedian Julian Clary. This is different from consultation and dialogue with a community. What if such soldiers and sailors didn’t simply ‘contribute’ to the war but won it? Does this interfere too much with our national myths? How do you bring these people back into the main narrative? So. for example. for example. such as projects to do with perennially new audiences. We are seldom asked about acquisitions. a recent series of the BBC family history programme Who Do You Think You Are? located a migrant background not just for British Asian film director Gurinder Chadha. This is most clearly captured in meetings when it is mooted that we should ask communities what they would like to see within our heritage institutions. communities and learning. the people who do this work are perennially the extra add-on staff. the talk for Black History Month. the temporary exhibition and the online exhibition. To make a migrant connection with figures such as these is in fact a very important step in shifting our understanding of Britishness. We are phoned up at short notice and asked to throw something together for a project with very little acknowledgement given to the fact that we have a field of expertise. Add-on histories. actor and impressionist Alistair McGowan. For example. the Surrealists is a specialised field that requires expertise. This is implying that while an exhibition on.

Stonewall is running a great anti-bullying campaign at the moment which says. We really need to get over the fact that some Brits are not white or of English descent. I think it is a sentiment we can borrow. But we become fragmented within the sector. Some of us actually also know about European art. It really is time to move on. Hollywood films and the history of punk rock etc. Caribbean histories and cultures comes from essentialised community knowledge. ‘Some people are gay – get over it’. say. 28 .to do with. This leads us to the idea that consultation and specialist input should be provided free of charge because either the consultants are just expounding some essentialist folk knowledge. our racial identities either over-determined or dangerously ignored. There is also very little interest in the other things we know. I have been lucky in the last few years to work with some culturally diverse people who have broad knowledge. or they should wish to do things for the community as a piece of voluntary social work rather than as career development.

29 . Lonnie Bunch is a renowned historian. national identity and inclusion. He also served as the President of the Chicago Historical Society where he launched a major outreach initiative for diverse communities. national identity and inclusion Lonnie G Bunch III Dr Lonnie Bunch was one of the panel members speaking at the session on leadership. author. an exhibition which explored the history. He addressed the challenges that affect the way American museums address questions of race and diversity and the implications that they may have for the heritage sector. curator and educator. He previously worked at the Smithsonian Institute in senior curatorial and management roles and developed for the Smithsonian ‘America’. culture and diversity of the United States. In 2005 he became the founding Director of the National Museum of AfricanAmerican History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.leadership.

I want historians like you to disappear. I really do.’ He threw me off because he then signed the letter. Then he said something that I think is so important: ‘After all. and the implications that they may have for the work that you are doing here in the UK. While remembering can cause great pain. the wonderful James Baldwin. ‘Best wishes for your continued success!’ I love America. I would argue that no one can deny that during the last 15 or 20 years in museums all over America. I would argue that despite what the author of that letter wanted America.African-American culture as well as issues around race. That we are unconsciously controlled by it and that history is literally present in all that we do. writing in the 1960s in his great novel The Fire Next Time. or indeed any country. I want the museum to disappear. the question that they have tried to answer is ‘What do you do about (and you can fill in the gap) African-Americans or Asian-Americans – what do you do about them?’ What you see in these museums are literally hundreds of exhibitions that have been crafted during the last 15 years. He then went on to say things like: ‘…God I hope you do not get this building built. While no one can deny ❜ 30 . He says something that I really think captures what it is we need to remember. Even more importantly.’ In the States that means you are in trouble! What the letter writer asked me was. that reminded us of how good we were?’ He wanted to know why we needed a museum that explores questions of race and African-American culture. On the contrary. it also opens the possibility of healing. ‘What happened to the Smithsonian I love? What happened to that museum that used to celebrate America. It began. America’s greatest strength is its ability to forget’. It seems to me we are only made better when we remember. He says: History does not refer merely or even principally to the past. ‘Dear Left-Wing Historian. it also brings I want to take a moment and share with you some of the challenges that I think affect the way American museums wrestle with questions of race and diversity. ❛ great power. I am struck by the words of one of my favourite authors. By that I mean when it remembers the great challenges that the country has experienced.Let me begin by quoting a letter that I received recently. While remembering really does reveal great hurt. is better off when it remembers. The importance of remembering is simple. the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us. The importance of remembering The crucial point is what do we remember and what do we forget? Often we know that what is forgotten in America are the questions of diversity . I hope you go away.

It’s true to say that African-American history and issues of race are no longer on the fringe of the museum profession in America. I would suggest to you that there are primarily four challenges that really limit the ability of these museums to do effective work. Yet. A prism that says obstacles such as discrimination were simply challenges hurdles to overcome . in essence what these museums want to do today is simply shine a light and say: ‘There were black people in America. compromises and the broken alliances. they have failed the expectations of today’s audiences. The prism of optimism I would argue that the first challenge that museums face when they wrestle with race is their failure to transcend the rosy glow of the past. it is full of tacks and rips and uneven steps. My point is that museums. what you see is the past through a prism of optimism. Langston Hughes: ‘Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. most are silent. because people needed to realise that there were people of colour in America. That people did it because that was going to happen in the great history of America. Likewise there are museums that look at the urban unrest of the 1960s but again most remain silent. as many of the symposium speakers have already said.’ They are creating exhibitions that in some ways would have been better 50 years ago. While there are a few museums that have explored lynching and violence. interactions and the difficulties of race in America. 31 . But rather than creating exhibitions and programmes that reflect the clashes. They fail to mention the depths of violence in America.that museums have changed dramatically. ‘We want to explore the fact that African-Americans were here too. A prism that suggests that progress and equality were somehow inevitable. they are still left on the outside or on the fringes.’ This poem suggests that the path to equality is not linear nor is it without setbacks and defeats. But I would suggest to you that the rhetoric of change really does not match what needs to happen to museums.’ But. when one looks at museums that explore race in America.and people did that with some effort. my major concern is simple: most of the museums in America that wrestle with race do it on a superficial level. To quote a poem by one of my favourite authors. Too few mention the arbitrary abuses of power. While there have been great changes in ‘who’ we interpret and what stories we tell. I feel what is lacking here is a commitment to explore the full range of the African-American experience. the devastating effects of generations of poverty and discrimination. Neither am I saying that we should explore the negative. the horrible effects of lynching. Their notion is to say. I would put it to you that change is on the surface. Rather than exploring the complexities. I am not calling for museums to victimise people of colour. Too few museums tackle the harsh realities of black life.

colour and region. I would argue that the third challenge is really that of ambiguity. Yet very few exhibitions in America explore this complexity. In this music and literature one is introduced to a black world that abounds with differences based on class.in their desire to placate criticism. Sam Cook or even LL Cool J. I would argue American museums fail to help visitors understand the conflicts. negotiations and the shifting coalitions that have comprised the African-American community and other communities of colour. have created exhibitions that obscure as much as they illuminate. Embracing ambiguity From monolith to mosaic The second challenge that I believe shaped American museums is the inability of resisting monolithic depictions of the past. What’s presented is a striving middle class as an example of what the black community was. One is struck by a richness in the mosaic of African-American life when one reads African-American literature. Museums in America do that all the time with great aplomb. the challenge for American museums is to realise that the complexity that they explore in other communities is the same complexity that needs to be brought to the African-American experience. American museums fulfil a need in America. ❛ 32 By rushing to this monolithic depiction of the past. Our goal should be to provide opportunities for audiences to embrace ambiguity. whether it’s by an urban poet like Langston Hughes or in the work of playwright August Wilson or when one taps one’s toes to Aretha Franklin. In some ways. Americans love simple answers to complex questions. I would suggest that one of the signs of a successful museum. Frequently these museums have created exhibitions to satisfy this American need. is and will always be. gender. By helping our audiences find nuance and agency we help them understand that ambiguity is a better lens through which to understand life rather than as simple victors. ❜ . exhibition or programme is if the audience over time becomes more comfortable with ambiguity and complexity. I think that American museums fail miserably when it comes to that. challenge and struggle. this human desire for celebration. In doing so the exhibitions fail to provide audiences with a richly nuanced history that is replete with joy and success but is also ripe with difficulty. Too few American museums go beyond simple celebration. comfort and closure.

we are nowhere near the promised land. Cornelius Holme. and perhaps the biggest challenge. touched and informed by diversity. One of my favourite museums is a large state museum in the south of America. failed in our museums to even begin to present interactions among African-Americans and nonAfrican-Americans. I think I like being on this plantation in the middle of Alabama by myself. it is on our highways. It has a huge exhibition on slavery and there is no mention of any non-African-American. That museums have failed to centralise this story so far is the essence of what people have missed when going to American museums.’ It seems to me that. Far too frequently African-American culture is segregated and remains in the dark corners of the museum. every day. we have ❜ 33 . We have missed that and I think that is one of the great challenges. or it is trumpeted as a special attraction that is more exotic than instructive. I would argue that segregation is alive and well in American museums. its impact is not. Let me close with a quotation from an enslaved African who was asked in an interview in 1937: ‘Now that slavery is over and most people who were slaves are gone. race is vitally important when you are wrestling with these questions of how to re-centre African-American culture. is the need for American museums to find a new integration that re-centres the African-American experience and the experience of people of colour. by race and by complexity. said: ‘Though the slavery question is settled. In essence. it is in our manners. it is in our courts. what should we remember?’ This man. It is in our politics. ❛ What is missing is the new integration that encourages visitors to recognise that the key to understanding American identity is to understand the questions of race. all the day. while change has occurred. it is in our thoughts. ‘Oh. all the day. The question is with us always. Either African-American culture is interpreted as an interesting and occasionally educational episode that has limited meaning for non-AfricanAmerican visitors. every day.’ Think about what a gift museums could give if they could only help their visitors understand that they are shaped. One of the things that is so interesting in America is that in 1954 the Supreme Court declared that segregation should be outlawed. However. I would suggest to you that while there has been great change in America. It is almost as if slaves said. They have missed the opportunity to use the richest of African-American culture as a wonderful lens to help us understand what it means to be an American.A new integration Lastly.

He has worked at the Smithsonian Institute since 1984 and prior to that was a humanist administrator at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington DC. He has lectured and written extensively on the politics of culture and cultural policy.4 leadership and change in the twenty-first century James Early James Early was one of the panel members speaking at the session on leadership and change in the twentyfirst century. He is a board member of a number of national and international organisations. Washington DC. James Early is Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. 34 . Smithsonian Institute. The session took a reflective look at the issues and ideas needed for bold innovative heritage leadership to advance cultural democracy and inclusion.

democratic participation. Governance does not descend from some place on high beyond the imaginative. Brazil or in Nigeria the same questions pertain. The use and misuse of culture Yet we talk about culture as the soft side of life or as a soft power. cultural professionals. Earlier today. We have not thought deeply enough about articulation of the more complex nature of culture and the special.are not being presented as points of view and skill sets to fashion the public space in which we all have to live and to be governed in. But in some cases the problem is not about white male or Euro-centric dominance of leadership. will organise ourselves. There are rituals of governance. creative and performance traditions in the arts are often conflated in discussions about culture and cultural policy. or marketoriented lawyers. often not trained or experienced professionally in culture – foreign policy specialists. We are clearly dissatisfied with this leadership. someone quoted a line from the late African-American poet June Jordan: ‘We are the ones that we have been waiting for’. political appointees. Different aesthetic. Governance is one reflection of culture. as it is referred to in the foreign policy departments of Britain and the United States. We are more immediately attracted visually and emotionally to the arts and thus artists. One of the previous symposium speakers reminded us that our deliberations are about governance. distinctive role of artists and the arts within culture. which includes cultural identity. The point is that there is no one else who will come to lead. Heritage. If we do not organise ourselves there are bureaucrats. There are imaginative creative ways – integral to arts making – in which governance is conceptualised. We are the ones we have been waiting for! Our discussions are often about how we are going to follow the leadership that controls heritage institutions. Whether it is here in Britain. But it is also about how we. cultural policy.the anthropological sense of culture . We embody culture in all its complex manifestations. imaginative. The topic of this symposium. is about the power of definition in the first instance. after which the less serious or soft dimensions of life are dealt with. In that light. When speaking about the rubric of culture many of us are often really talking about the arts because we work directly in the arts or with artists. for example – who are already 35 . the artists and the arts occupy a unique dimension of culture so as to be subjects of special attention. Legacy and Leadership: Ideas and Interventions. We are the only culture-producing species on this planet that we are aware of. In countries such as Nigeria the issue is often about ethnic-specific dominance. and more recently economic development. creative expressions of culture makers. This is to imply that economics and military might are the more serious issues of life. organised and implemented.If you look around the room today what you are looking at is history on the one hand and twenty-first century leadership on the other. because different indigenous ways of knowing and doing .

They talk about our disciplinary fields and professional skill sets within culture and the arts in the narrow or functionalist terms of cultural diplomacy. foreign policy. national identity. artistic or intellectual concerns. but as professionals whose disciplines of work provide deeper entrée and context for the pivotal issues of the twenty-first century.seeking to define what constitutes heritage. To use Doudou Diène’s terminology: ‘They are instrumentalists’. It is called ‘embedding anthropologists’ into our domain – the cultural arena. legacy and national identity. for example. and languages for example. This kind of functionalist diplomacy or policy gives practical and utilitarian concerns priority over aesthetic. praying. we also have trans-national identities. For example. Anthropology is one of the humanistic disciplines that underpins the more encompassing context or meanings of culture. who is organising the so-called war against terrorism in Iraq. ways of worshiping. which have little to do with the intrinsic dimensions of the arts and culture. in all of our countries has to do with national identity: who is a Brit today? What are the implications of the answers to what accrues to whom as heritage. economic and political validation? A UK government minister. And all of our countries are facing a major crisis of national identity. What is this crisis? The substance of the immigration crisis. He also noted that in this global moment in which. we do have national identities. not just for me as an American cultural professional. including immigration. People in governance or policy makers are being very explicit. Culture and identity Doudou Diène alluded to the fact that all of the major conflicts in the world today are centred in culture: ways of knowing and doing. The use of culture to further economic or military dominance is born anew in the United States Government. So we must take ourselves seriously. sending the great African-American jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie around the world to foster US national interests. If you are black or you are brown. while Dizzy played his music to sincerely engage the aesthetic interests and humanity of people from other nations and cultures. yes. economic prosperity. it is the quality of the person who is admitted. but for all of you. says it is not just a question of the quantity of the immigrants admitted into the country. not as a sector separate from the serious dimensions of life. and socio-cultural. If you are Eastern European with natural blond hair and green or 36 . in being recruited and directed towards narrow instrumentalist goals. particularly the major imperial powers of the West. war and a just peace. Will poets and dancers and artists be far behind? I think they will not be far behind in my country or your countries. talking about immigration in the United Kingdom. has a plan. US Army General David Petraeus. then you are going to be targeted in addition to race and ethnicity for a cultural evaluation of fitness to be accepted within the country’s national identity and its past and future heritage. legacy.

and all others in our diversity are characterised. The decisive cultural question in that example is based on your clothing: are you Muslim? The policy crisis around national identity is centred on the attempt by those who are in power to hold on to static. These perspectives stop short of addressing the issue of national identity. I see the colour of your skin but I want to know whether you are a Catholic or Protestant. I see my black brothers and sisters from the African Diaspora but it does not mean that I feel like you. if not directly rooted in. they will seek to find out about you culturally. of an intangible quality evolved through history making. That is all I can tell you. the descendant of enslaved Africans in the United States. what your rituals are and what your cultural background is. Without an appreciation of what has been accomplished we too have distorted views and understanding about what capacities we have to build upon to advance beyond today’s problems and to take full advantage of today’s opportunities. a practitioner of traditional African or Asian religions.❛ blue eyes but you are not wearing a certain kind of dress. They are elements of a larger complex of interior feelings and meaning. I may know the geographical location of historical origin of my family but race and cultural identity are more than mere geographical designations of family origins. So that. essentialist historical perspectives of what culture and legacy are about. I have heard almost nothing about the progress we have made over the generations despite continued obstacles. or about the progress still to be made. It allows us to understand the possibility of new worlds because we – our cultures – have created old worlds. that inner spirit that Doudou Diène was talking about. On the opposite side of this power equation – and I want to be really frank with you about my feelings – we. Even if I do the DNA test it would not be a qualitative cultural marker or answer because I still would not have the historically evolved emotional connections. coalescing over time. in what we refer to as heritage. legacy and cultural identity. as an African-American. Culture is about that imaginative and creative perspective informed by. I am an African-American. which is a rubric under which we. I was not born in Jamaica 37 . of immigrant communities. I generally agree with the complaints but I have not heard many of them accompanied by transformative perspectives about what we want national identity to become tomorrow and in the future. I must be concerned that in this room there are Europeans or Americans from various cultural backgrounds. are very prosaic and eloquent in our ability to complain about the problems and failures with respect to diversity being implemented in our professional cultural arenas. For example. I have heard many cultural-centric and ahistorical perspectives about the particular cultural groups ❜ we come from or represent. prior developments that we are direct inheritors of.

So. if I occupy a position I must be concerned with every expression of culture. we the multicultural and multiracial professionals in the symposium (including gender and sexual orientation) have to take very seriously the resources of values. heritages. That is not the discourse I have heard today.hate the policies of the United States. cultural. If national identity is to be truly representative of the parts that comprise the official whole we. Our discussion has been far too much about our individual group and not about how we.or reared in Trinidad. the multicultural sectors of the nation. all of us who are progressive. because many in the world – including Western Europeans and people of colour . legacies. That is why the General perpetrating this vicious war in Iraq is embedding anthropologists. It connects and runs across everything. That is why the issue of cultural diplomacy is being talked about in the United States today. those of us committed to identity as vibrant not simply inherited and certainly not inherited from one historically dominant group – we must become the mainstream! ❛ In addressing our local and national cultural policy issues we must not lose sight of the global movement that influences those distinct but connected realities. pots of money. We must seriously value the work areas we have studied very hard to prepare ourselves in and not accept or relegate ourselves as some sidebar ethnic. We have to take ourselves a lot more seriously and be more proactive about taking leading roles in culture. because he understands the transversal and the contextual nature of the arenas in which we work. this last forum is focusing on cultural democracy and what it means. We must inform and fashion a vibrant national identity and not accept or be comfortable with individualised attention. the arts and society and not be inserted under the narrow scope of functional objectives plotted by policy makers. Essentialist notions about racial identity that suggest that somehow we as individual groups in our multicultural nations can alone deal with the question of national power – in this instance cultural power and policies – must be reconsidered. who are committed to culture as living and not static. In this regard. We. or artistic sector in relationship to the mainstream. Culture and democracy Moving onto transformative perspectives. histories. special initiatives and the like. but simultaneously with every person’s and group’s culture. obviously first with my own. and plural identities we possess. the marginalised and often discriminated ❜ 38 . albeit that they are important circumscribed instruments to prime progress. consider the UNESCO construct of culture as a transversal factor. must take full ownership of the whole national enterprise. As a black American who is a cultural leader. policies.

those issues are important. Yes.against. you won’t keep anything. We have to be engaged in the major cultural policy determinations throughout society. the gay and lesbian cultural issues. to engage everyone. the young man who spoke from the Department for Culture has to work laterally with everyone’s interests in mind as well as work to move up. we have to organise ourselves. articulating who we are and what our roles are transversally. innovation and leadership. And you can’t take anything without organisation. In his leadership position he must represent the different European strands at this conference. They are not simply instrumentalists. I am trying to urge you to think of yourselves as more than a sector. This is about politics giving value and organisation to the state of cultural and culturally related affairs of national. He cannot just focus on his individual or group issues and goals if he is going to provide transformative leadership. We have been aggrieved and we must be concerned about ourselves. That is what ❜ Doing it for ourselves I want to share an instructive quote from a trade unionist who. can provide leadership for ourselves and for all. there are no reserved seats. We have to be strategic. The police are talking about culture. you won’t get anything. be transformative not just critically reactive. the Southeast Asian strands. This is about the power or authority to decide. and if you can’t hold anything.’ In the cultural arena if we want to change things. You get what you can take. Dances are being organised to help resolve conflicts. They understand that they are part of the imaginative and creative communities whose visions and expressions are critical to spiritual and material well-being. However. We have to deliberately plan and calculate the ways forward. interests. His name was A Philip Randolph and he said: ‘At the banquet table of nature. but we do not understand who we are and what our relationship is to the whole of society. legacy. on the outside of real governance and decisionmaking about heritage. This is not about a single social or cultural sector or training young people in the techniques of leadership. and all people who are here. If you can’t take anything. and you keep what you can hold. Poets are being brought in for peace sessions. ❛ period. If not. the healthcare system is talking about culture. not just local or group-specific. But only if they lead us to understanding that we are on the verge of a new long march for the transformation of our nations and our national identities. Other people understand how to isolate and use us as a sector. in his lifetime. was considered the most dangerous Negro in the United States of America – this was the term used during that 39 . then we are going to be sophisticated but marginalised people. and intersect all aspects of cultural and public policy.

History has put us here as the test cases of what the public sphere can and must be. He finished high school in two years and then went to the prestigious Harvard University where he earned a PhD. In February 1926 he organised Negro History Week. The particular historical experience from which Black History Month emerged is a universal lesson of the tasks and possibilities still ahead of us to envision and to create new nations and identities. Do not wait for anyone else to bring leadership to you. rape and pillage have now brought the former colonial people to the home of the former colonisers and we are not going anywhere except towards full citizenship. which later became Black History Month. That is why we highlight the arts in the broader more complex arena of culture. We are their descendents in many instances. It is the right and the obligation for each of us to say who we are in the language and the religion that we come from. talents. everyone in this room. Let me close on this last point – a personal point of complaint because we do not historicise. negative-cultural behaviour that avoids taking leadership. We. whose parents had been enslaved. I do not think we sufficiently believe in ourselves and in the creative people and imaginative artists with whom we work. the shortest month. national identity. We have been victims. We are citizens. are the crucible. as Black History Month. That story. Slavery. So. the multicultural minorities. Someone complained. often against tremendous historical odds.makes our work as cultural and arts professionals so distinguished and crucial. Woodson chose February because it was the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. go forth and become instruments of transformative leadership. though not equally so. negotiated. We are the ones that we have been waiting for! 40 . to enter the public space and build a fluid national identity that does not see itself in opposition to other identities or to a shared. Too often we leave the public arena to the so-called mainstream. because the artist is so inspiring and provocative in every nation in the history of humankind.’ That is completely untrue and indicative of a reactive. represents the power of us stepping forward on the issue of cultural democracy. settling for set-aside and particularised institutions on the margin. colonialism. He entered high school at age 20 and strategically organised himself despite the complex problems he encountered as a result of the legacy of slavery and the racism that he faced. in its wider application. rather than what are we going to do to advance and transform the national identity of our nations through our special lenses. not just immigrants. That is why we are always looking for what politicians and business people are going to do for us. and productions along with other leadership sectors in society. ‘We are given February. This view avoids taking responsibility for the historical work and legacy of transformation left by the 20 year old Carter G Woodson in the United States. Every group here has a similar story about how their heritage and legacies have come to be celebrated. Black History Month is now celebrated all over the world.

art and culture and is the author of volumes of short stories. She was the first woman to present the Sir Lynden Pindling Memorial Lecture. She gave a Bahamian perspective on the challenges facing the heritage sector and the need for bold and transformational leadership. and a recipient of a Silver Jubilee of Independence Medal for Literature. produced and directed six historical documentaries for Bahamas National Trust’s series A Proud and Singular Heritage. 41 .leadership and change in the twenty-first century Patricia Glinton-Meicholas Patricia Glinton-Meicholas was one of the panel members speaking at the session on leadership and change in the twenty-first century. the first winner of The Bahamas Cacique Award for Writing. She has written. poetry. Patricia Glinton-Meicholas is an author and broadcaster and President of The Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies. and several works of satire. She has written extensively on Bahamian history.

but also attempted to curtail the self-determination of the enslaved in the New World. Is not the impact of forced national constructs exemplified in the destruction wrought in Bosnia. limited potential. The slave system not only snatched a potpourri of ethnic groups from their native milieus. Colonisation and cultural domination have given birth to notions of intrinsic inferiority of subjugated lands. In The Bahamas self-imaging has further been distorted by an all-pervasive tourism industry. The arbitrary division of the globe in pursuit of economic and political pre-eminence has forced into unstable polities aggregations of disparate ethnicities with frequently adversarial beliefs and ambitions. peoples and cultures. Issues of identity and disaffection. Many countries have actually reached the point of combustion. with ethnic conflict supplying kindling and demagogues happily providing accelerants. which has fractioned and factioned the world. Beaming directly to a majority black nation by cable and satellite transmissions.The challenges of the twenty-first century are drawing heritage and culture leaders centre stage. strongly influenced by the harmful construct of manhood that this antisocial way of life has engendered. African heritage came to be equated with invalidity or. For the sake of the industry history. A variant can be observed in the relationship between the British of European origin and nonwhite immigrants from former British colonies. The same drama attaches to intra-Caribbean migration. we are overdosed on the powerful imagery of the thug lifestyle. We understand the challenge of ethnic issues emanating from what Michael Hechter. Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. We are the ones who know that many of today’s challenges were conceived in rampant imperialism. terms ‘internal colonialism’. US media do not favour positive images of non-whites. at best. Interventions begin with understanding. heritage and culture have been reinterpreted for more palatable consumption by tourists and. More and more young men are offering violence to their peers. until recently. Rwanda. While acculturation is expected. My country also suffers the effects of US dominance and increasing cultural hegemony. In fact. members of the core culture tend to place restrictive terms on access with automatic 42 . We are the ones who know enough of the underlying causes to promote understanding. and attempts to impose political and cultural hegemony are fragmenting the world. distanced in meaning from the people. focusing on the relationship between a core English culture and peripheral ethnicities he calls the Celtic fringe . Iraq and Kenya? Heritage and culture leaders understand that the transatlantic slave trade bequeathed its own pernicious legacies. As a consequence Atlantic slavery has devised a convoluted mess of prejudices and identity issues that pose a constant threat to self-imaging and self-esteem within the African Diaspora. race and ethnic discrimination.

The fringe demands to be recognised as having equal rights and. I should very much like to see the clause in Adam’s will that excludes me from a share of the world. of learning. A new and responsible leadership Heritage and culture leaders are being offered the unique privilege not only to play a part in defusing the explosive potential of this age but also to reveal the spectacular good it is incubating. Too much scholarship is a high-wire act that draws gasps of wonder from the audience but sends audiences home emptyhanded.’ Conflict arises because humanity resists non-entity and the engulfment of those values and customs that define individual or group identity. Human solidarity does exist at the level of basic needs and the desire for survival. itself just a goosestep away from ethnic cleansing. They share the complaint of Francis I of France: ‘The sun shines for me as for others. It requires eschewing politically expedient solutions that privilege one ethnicity over another and rhetoric that promotes resentment in the name of protecting heritage. Bollywood. creoles and fried rice. of mutuality and of change. There are no easy solutions but a certainty upon which we can rest our hopes. In this age the attainment of our goals and the sustainability of our programmes will depend on the buy-in not of the few. Diverse cultures are hardly fungible but can co-exist in peace and mutual benefit. ideas and energy to contribute much needed renewal to our societies. heritage scholarship and leadership should be dedicated to bringing meaning and solving problems. reggae. journeys of fresh discovery. They will not entertain the ‘foreignness’ they view as societal and cultural pollutants. that a sense of validity be promoted for all cultures but not posited as a ‘gift’ from a selfordained superior culture or derived from the declension of another. Many believe that the success of our initiatives depends on serving up our souls on silver platters to powerbrokers. Are we equal to the task or is it time for reinvention? Effective leadership cannot sequester itself in an ivory tower of exclusivity and esoteric scholarship while the world devolves into atavism. but of the ❛ The fringe is more than kilts. talents. It bodes ill to lend wings to those who are but a half day’s journey from demagoguery. It is quite the opposite. carnival. It starts with mutual intelligibility. It requires. To do so requires boldly engaging journeys on roads less travelled. what is more. Rather.implications of inequality. Newcomers are expected to leave heritage and cultural identity at their homeport like unscanned and suspect baggage. however. ❜ 43 .

The soul of Junkanoo lies in jerrybuilt design and construction centres called shacks located at the heart of working-class communities. unbroken link with the African past. Most important. seeking out uniqueness as key elements in defining Bahamian identity. age and social status. creativity and validity of an often-discounted element of society. This amalgam of art forms presents a vehicle for a society-uniting language. it was offered as impeccable evidence of the intelligence. The challenge is that many of them now view heritage and culture professionals as purveyors of dust. our masquerade tradition. The lessons of Junkanoo Junkanoo began as an amalgam of African rituals that the enslaved practised in secret. Collective preparation and performance promote extraordinary bonds across lines of gender. With the rise of tourism the ruling oligarchy began to encourage the masquerade. There is much to be gained in turning away from the penury of factional thought and prejudice that fears and springs to oppose difference and change. is instructive. Our musicians have developed unique Junkanoo rhythms and our artists a Junkanoo palette. A tradition-affirming change came when black Bahamians began to go abroad in numbers for university studies. entrepreneurship and improved human relations. Junkanoo offers a lesson for twenty-first century heritage and culture leaders. The passion with which Bahamians espouse Junkanoo.many ordinary men. with the development and inclusion of people as a first concern. Junkanoo craft is now practised in our schools. Inclusion is the vital element in Junkanoo’s persistence and pervasiveness. We must convert the artefacts of heritage and culture into education. Our work must always be transformative. positive outlets for energy and strategies for understanding. recognising its potential as tourist-attracting exotica. women and youth. precocity and irrelevance. Junkanoo fitted the bill. We need to connect what we do more closely to our people’s sense of self. They resisted positioning the masquerade as a Caribbean carnival. promoting it instead as part of Bahamian spirituality and a precious. self-worth and survival. ❜ 44 . It was prohibited by law. They returned with a new vision of heritage and culture. from which lack of high social or economic status cannot separate them. ❛ Even the cold stones of our museums and galleries must take on a consciousness that speaks of life and progress. Symposia such as this can encourage us to cooperate and draw from the cornucopia of diversity new products and methods of approach for the classroom. for fear that gatherings of blacks might threaten white rule. We must convince them of ownership.

pregnant with heritage identification. But knowledge is not enough. a visceral utterance. We need a rallying cry for the twenty-first century. as the DNA for unity. but also for recovering and privileging the links that connect us. When Junkanoos go to the shacks to collect their costumes. The renewed heritage leader must similarly cry out ‘I come to get me. 45 . I come to get us!’ Anything less makes us unfit for this great work of reconciliation in which we are now called to engage. they declare. If we cannot achieve a semblance of unity among us. we must first believe. ‘I come to get me’. how can we promote it to others? We must embrace all elucidation of heritage and culture as discoveries of new facets of ourselves as members of the human family. taking responsibility not only for raising long-buried bones of heritage.Heritage and culture leaders need to become forensic anthropologists. If the salvation of our world and the realisation of its potential lie in the promotion of humankind’s common heritage and shared future.

the Science Museum. She is an arts and heritage consultant and educator. In 2007 Temi curated A Visible Difference: Skin. Race and Identity 1720-1820 for the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. who has worked with mainstream heritage organisations including English Heritage. the National Maritime Museum.5 transforming heritage leadership: challenges and goals Temi Odumosu Temi Odumosu has provided a commentary on the symposium’s value and legacy for the sector. National Gallery and Tate Modern. She is researching her PhD at the University of Cambridge on the representation of African people in eighteenth and early nineteenth century English satirical prints. Since 2003 she has been a project consultant and writer for the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage. 46 .

Legacy and Leadership symposium was the understanding that effective. dynamic and innovative cultural leadership must be informed by principles of equality. thinking and values needed to support and inform the future of heritage and cultural leadership.‘. Consequently the presentations and dialogue that took place sought to address how cultural democracy and cultural enfranchisement would be embedded as central values for a twenty-first century heritage sector. many thoughts and ideas were shared with an overarching sense of urgency.’ June Jordan (1936–2002) At the core of the Heritage. In this context. Ultimately the presentations and discussions approached the critical notion that heritage is intrinsic to the individual and collective human experience. Throughout the symposium discussions national and international heritage leaders and practitioners talked about the similarities between the delicate and complex issues and ideas that they were grappling with.And who will join this standing up and the ones who stood without sweet company will sing and sing back into the mountains and if necessary even under the sea: we are the ones we have been waiting for. political and cultural landscape within which heritage is being conceived and transformed. creative diversity and respect for difference. This was not a formulaic discussion on policies or models of leadership but rather an exploration of the ideas.. 47 . cultural inclusion.. issues. The dialogue raised a number of organisational management issues but what also emerged was a more complex awareness of the wider social. reflecting an understanding of the grave responsibilities and the cultural privilege with which heritage leaders have been endowed.

are natural products of its intercultural exchange.1 ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for. in which even the most experienced citizen may lose the way. was a critical context for a dialogue around change options for the leadership of the heritage sector. Its role. Vintage. heritage and cultural democracy. particularly in relation to the Olympics.2 It is not an exhaustive analysis but rather an attempt to resignal key priorities noted by speakers and respondents in keynote presentations. themed panel papers and discussions. The sheer range of communities resident in London is visibly evident. Commonplace slogans such as ‘the world in one city’ centre on the idea that ‘every race.3 Peter Ackroyd It is only fitting that the story starts with London. pp. The city’s energy and excitement. ‘Poem for South African Women’ in Passion: New Poems. colour. rather than presenting a daunting challenge. its cultural responsibilities and its aspirations to deliver the Olympic and Paralympic Games rich with the diversity and inclusiveness on which the city won its 2012 bid. collaboration and cultural ownership. too.However. Although London was not the focus of the symposium discussions it was certainly the cultural and political backdrop. 2001. Diversity policy documents continue to remind us that 40% of Londoners are from an ethnic minority group and over 300 languages are spoken. sights and sounds. p2 . In synthesising this rich body of evidence four areas stood out as fundamental leadership priorities for the journeys ahead: London and the 2012 Olympics. half of stone and half of flesh. sustained and principled efforts to move cultural leadership forward. 1980. ❜ 48 1 June Jordan. that this labyrinth is in a continual state of change and expansion. ❛ London and the 2012 Olympics London is a labyrinth. and governance and creative engagement. it is curious. its smells. It cannot be conceived in its entirety but can be experienced only as a wilderness of alleys and passages. This was best articulated by several speakers who quoted the memorable line from the African-American poet June Jordan. The key message that emerged from the proceedings was a call for committed. courts and thoroughfares. the inspirational exchange that took place seemed to transmute the staid leadership criticisms of the past into an encouraging appeal for self-belief and transformation of heritage concepts for the benefit of society at large. Beacon Press. 3 Peter Ackroyd.’ The following narrative outlines a number of recurring themes and conclusions emerging from the symposium proceedings. 42-43 2 Quotations in this text are taken from the original symposium transcript. its global role. nation and religion on earth’4 live here. It is often said that London has been shaped by its diversity. London: The Biography. 1977–80.

in addition to waves of forced and voluntary migration to metropolitan centres in particular. 2001.Hence the relatively peaceful co-existence and cooperation between London’s continually burgeoning multi-faith and multi-ethnic communities. colour. more nuanced social and cultural frameworks? • How can the sector explore and/or construct national heritage narratives that are informed by the nation’s intercultural dynamics and histories? • At what point does the sector take a more proactive stance to change its internal monocultures so that heritage professionals (from the ground up to leadership) reflect the culturally diverse and eclectic face of the nation’s cities? 4 See: Leo Benedictus. war and conquest around the world.uk. as well as creating a sustainable cultural legacy. trade.theguardian. Within London’s intricately woven history and heritage are the stories. These include: • How can London’s heritage and cultural institutions begin to meaningfully engage with the complexity and diversity of the city and its many communities? • How can they reinterpret their collections within wider. p3 49 . London: The Biography. ‘Every race.that is the propagation of Britain as an eclectic melting pot of multiple communities . it is deemed to have prompted white British people to call for a return to the Old England. This view has been used to bolster the claims that multiculturalism has fuelled separatism and extremism between migrant and British-born minority communities. Some commentators have argued that the encouragement of multicultural values . London’s role within these histories and debates – as the political. acceptance and inclusiveness. marriages and deaths of a whole range of citizens.comes at the expense of a cohesive set of national values based on Britishness rather than difference. It cannot be overstressed that this city can be seen to ‘harbour the secrets of the human world. contributions. Such complex intercultural dynamics are deeply embedded in the long and tumultuous history of British imperialism. Friday 21 January 2005 5 Peter Ackroyd. have consolidated Britain’s intrinsic connections to the rest of the world. Similarly. participation and empowerment.co. Symposium discussions surrounding the Olympics reflected key questions that present challenges to heritage leaders. Centuries of British exploration. nation on earth’ published on www. economic and cultural heart of Britain – is therefore significant. is often cited as an example of British tolerance. heritage organisations are forced to rethink approaches to cultural diversity as a necessity for delivering the Olympic aims of inclusion.’5 As London prepares to welcome the world in 2012. births. Yet others perceive Britain’s multiculturalism as a positive mechanism for social change and as the vital element needed for the development of shared national values that are informed by diversity rather than inhibited by it. Vintage.

outlined its ambition to inspire and involve the widest range of communities in London. The adoption of more inclusive and humanist frameworks would ultimately enable people to value themselves and each other. there are a whole heap of different connections to culture that can be made.embracing carnival. ❜ 50 . fashion. Giving culture such a broad application enables the public and voluntary sector. particularly young people. This dynamic and youth-focused Cultural Olympiad may provide the leadership of the heritage sector with the much-needed impetus to push the boundaries. encouraging broader participation with the sector.’ The Cultural Olympiad is the key aspect of the games linked specifically to the work of the heritage sector. as well as private enterprise. These creative economies can therefore be seen as vital mechanisms for social and economic regeneration. and heritage is one of them. will be a vital part of this initiative. reminded us that: ‘we cannot underestimate the real opportunity this represents. He illustrated his point saying: ‘If you look at Nigerian women in Dalston who make spectacular outfits for their daughters or how digital companies operate in very small studios in Shoreditch. Within this strategic framework Khan argued for broader concepts of culture that enable London communities to engage with their heritage through commercial as well as traditional means. Ultimately the development of these new paths and approaches further highlights the necessity for London’s heritage sector to make its collections and buildings welcoming places for the city’s communities.’ Within this Olympic context the word culture has become synonymous with all creative and cultural activities .Roy Clare. Furthermore. then Head of Culture for London 2012. to be included and engaged. In this context culture is everywhere. theatre. Libraries and Archives Council. science. Doudou Diène Central to the discussions around change for the cultural sector was a call to revisit established notions of heritage in an effort to encourage new frameworks that situate cultural diversity and cultural pluralism at its foundations. food. architecture etc. This process of cultural empowerment. Engaging with young people and their unique experiences and modes of cultural expression. In addition he reinforced 2012’s aim to encourage Londoners to participate in sports and cultural activities – within their local communities as well as on a national platform. it would contribute to a better understanding of our individual and collective histories and heritage. ❛ Heritage and cultural democracy All notions that are the basis of identity construction have to be revisited. Chief Executive of the Museums. Keith Khan.

for the acceptance of society at large. The expansion of the European Union. Asian and Caribbean descent communities buried within over 500 years of British history. In its place were side steps in the form of one-off projects. archives. This type of response is also evident in the sector’s sporadic and frequently inequitable engagement with culturally diverse communities and grass-roots organisations. contributions and agency of African. as well as the heightened focus on national security as a result of anti-terrorism measures. green pastures and stately homes are heritage stereotypes that dominate the traditional view of Britain’s history and culture.conceived within the wider-ranging cultural democracy agenda. initiatives and cultural celebrations that were advocated as a make-do alternative. the UK’s museums. This had minimal impact on heritage 51 . Rosy cheeks. historic libraries and the historic environment were significantly challenged by their responsibilities to engage with histories and heritage concepts outside of the traditional framework.’ The conflation of heritage and national identity as being one and the same. are all issues that have sparked new debates on the age-old question: What does it mean to be British? It has been continually acknowledged that in Britain notions of heritage have always been limited and that heritage has been predominantly used as a mechanism for maintaining a model identity of Britishness . Symposium presenter Patricia GlintonMeicholas noted: ‘Newcomers are expected to leave heritage at the home port like un-scanned and suspect baggage. was offered as a critical aim for twenty-first century heritage leadership. the swelling of UK towns and cities as locations for asylum seekers. These ‘secrets’ include the presence. country farms. Immigration control has been high on the UK’s political agenda for several years now. educated middle-classes. Consequently the heritage sector’s reaction to its new responsibilities has been to present these hidden histories as add-ons to the main narrative. The sectoral shift needed to embrace and reflect the cultural dynamism that a broader perspective on history and heritage would engender never really happened. has naturally had an impact on the general perception of heritage and culture as the preserve of the white. The question of how this knowledge can be integrated into mainstream heritage narratives has only seriously begun to be addressed within the sector during the last ten years. In spite of their critical roles as custodians of British and world cultures. In the face of changing demographics concerted efforts to redress imbalanced perspectives within the traditional discourse have revealed hidden histories. This static view of Britain’s identity fails to reflect its interconnectedness to the rest of the world and hence unwittingly supports a populist discourse that seeks to bolster the false notion of a homogenous Britain. Yet the holistic vision of heritage as a rich and multi-layered/multi-ethnic/multi-faith cultural interaction seems to be at odds with recent political priorities in Britain.

Such notions of heritage cannot be perceived exclusively through a closed institutional lens that fails to engage with respective communities or honour their expertise. belief systems and methods of cultural empowerment and appropriation that are often immeasurable and undocumented. cultural and ethical values. Dr Atul Shahis. or it is trumpeted as a special attraction that is more exotic than instructive. offered an example of how heritage concepts from his own faith community could be used in a mainstream context. He argued that the Jain culture might offer important environmental solutions that have been overlooked due to narrow and Christianised conceptions of heritage and culture. 52 . Thus. driven by inclusive cultural leadership. and in the media at large. This colonisation of African culture is one of the thorny issues that sits uncomfortably on the agenda of heritage leaders who advocate for change in the sector. Within this vision Diène called for a re-engagement with forms of intangible heritage that encompass spirituality. identity and enfranchisement are the focus of a collective reclaiming of history and its various social. He said ‘Far too frequently AfricanAmerican culture is segregated still in the dark corners of the museum. the negotiation of intangible heritage necessitates a community-focused dialogue. Either African-American culture is interpreted as an interesting and occasionally educational episode that has limited meaning for non-African-American visitors. yet no connections had been made between that heritage and contemporary debates around global warming and the environment – in which sustainability is a key issue. In his keynote speech Doudou Diène conceptualised heritage as ‘the ultimate expression of a multicultural. Many felt that these myths had been influenced by the ethnographic distortions of Africa and African history that still abound in museum and archive collections. a respondent from the organisation Diverse Ethics.’ As a result. He noted that the Jain religion and culture had the ethos of sustainability at its root. the whole project of revisiting British history is permeated by the idea that there was somehow ‘a white past and a multicultural present. who should be informed by more nuanced concepts of heritage and identity.’ Symposium presenter Lonnie Bunch reinforced this view by referring to a similar kind of marginalisation that takes place in American museums. dynamic interaction’. Symposium presenter Roshi Naidoo noted that the recent drive to diversify heritage has been subtly punctuated by ‘an acute sense of loss for those simpler times where you did not have to be politically correct or talk about diversity.day-to-day practice or organisational ethos. in which memory. Several respondents were moved by this concept since it offered an alternative cultural approach to the long-standing negative mythologies surrounding African history and culture in particular.’ What became clear over the course of the symposium was that the UK’s heritage sector would be not be able to make a radical shift towards meaningful inclusion without strong vision and clear direction from its leadership.

Bollywood. Legacy and Leadership symposium. She urged: ‘The fringe – that is us – is more than kilts. as part of the culture of leadership. Patricia Glinton-Meicholas said: ‘symposia such as this can encourage us to cooperate and draw from the cornucopia of new diversity products and methods of approach for the classroom. But we have become fragmented within the sector. and what is more.’ Naidoo added: ‘Some of us actually also know about European art. identity.’ ❜ 53 . Knowledge transfer and the unification of cultural expertise were perceived as vital components in the enrichment of heritage practice and the development of new professional networks. We have to develop. value and collective agency. Creoles and fried rice. ❛ Collaboration and cultural ownership We have a history of struggling against one another. was therefore proposed as a necessary aspect of leadership and legacy development. Several speakers referred to these processes as ‘circles of identification’ that celebrate our differences and highlight our ‘radical sameness’. ‘our racial identity is either over determined or dangerously ignored. for entrepreneurship and for improved human relations. Such an approach to heritage in the twenty-first century must also engage with newer forms of identity construction that take on board the recent role of technology and the environment on our individual and collective value systems. Hollywood films and the history of punk rock. The fringe demands to be recognised as having equal rights.’ Presenter Roshi Naidoo spoke of the continuing frustrations of African.’ Fundamentally the symposium dialogues around heritage and cultural democracy sought to illustrate the fact that heritage cannot be fixed or uniform but rather it is the product of multilayered processes of human interaction. She noted. The need to develop ways in which local. national and international dialogues and interactions could take place. a culture of struggling for one another. itself a critical means of principled knowledge transfer between cultural practitioners. in order to support and empower diverse practitioners and wider cultural communities. carnival. heritage and culture become positively embedded in our sense of place. James Early The Heritage. The symposium consensus was that drawing on international experience and expertise could be a support mechanism for globalising cultural efforts.The recognition and integration of multicultural perspectives and expertise into a mainstream societal context was noted by presenter Patricia Glinton-Meicholas. talents. In so doing. represented a prime example of collaboration and cultural ownership in practice. We certainly have histories where others have struggled against us. reggae. Asian and Caribbean heritage professionals who are only ever consulted with regard to initiatives related to their respective communities. ideas and energy to contribute much-needed renewal to your societies.

Cultural institutions are important in providing the skills by which we can interpret the different cultures around us. He said: ‘culture impacts on every aspect of our lives through attitudes.’ Samuel Jones from Demos.Connections. self-worth and survival … We must tie what we do to people’s lives and. Roy Clare concurred: ‘[Libraries] are fundamentally the closest to local democracy of any of our organisations or institutions. they respond to local community needs. pointed out that ‘Libraries are repositories of culture’. particularly in relation to the newly established Equality and Human Rights Commission.’ A broad spectrum of symposium practitioners were eager to encourage collaboration between policy makers and cultural providers in order to fashion a more relevant and reflective framework for heritage and cultural provision. was the area in which a fluid relationship was still difficult to achieve. where we used to watch Bollywood films after dinner. Reading the intangible in the tangible. and speaking to the complexity of identity. and that their role is central to heritage and cultural debate.. responding to Doudou Diène’s keynote speech. We must convince them all of ownership. at the most basic. interaction. A respondent from the question-and-answer session spoke about this in the context of her own experiences.’ 54 . it was felt. from which lack of social or economic status cannot separate them. clothes. As a person of African decent I would hear Hindi songs and when I hear these songs now. stating that: ‘We need to connect what we do more nearly to our people’s sense of self.’ Ralph Adams. straight away I am drawn back to fond memories of my heritage. a symposium respondent.’ Her perspective confirmed how identity construction and cultural ownership are often informed by continual dialogue and exchange with other cultures. their mental health. reiterated the idea that popular cultural forms can engender a more dynamic engagement with heritage. decisions about how to grow them are made locally. He said ‘we have got to engage across government in a much more powerful way. Symposium presenter Sandy Nairne called for a dialogue between the leadership of the heritage sector and mainstream government. They are funded locally. They can provide the context for these conversations. highlighting the ways that diversity enriches and connects all of us in unique ways. lifestyles.we need to approach these cultural encounters as a form of conversation. Moving towards a practical application of cultural collaboration as a means of achieving cultural ownership and empowerment. food and so on. She said: ‘As someone who was born in Trinidad and Tobago. This. The important work and approaches of public libraries in community cohesion and partnership were identified as a model for future change efforts. their survival. dialogue and exchange were pervasive ideas that recurred throughout the symposium.. She advocated leadership approaches that bind entrepreneurship to culture. Glinton-Meicholas spoke further about the need to engage with creative economies outside of institutional structures. I grew up next door to Indians..

remains one of the most difficult challenges for the heritage sector. Clearly. with the development and inclusion of people as a first concern. and its relationship to cultural diversity and cultural democracy. photographer Jennie Baptiste. even with goodwill. Beyond the cultural diversity imperative. male and privileged board members on almost all of London’s mainstream heritage organisations has only served to strengthen the view that any change reported by the sector is still on the surface. and when we are talking about issues that concern them at these conferences sometimes I think you need to actually go around to the London boroughs and get a youth representative to come along and get feedback from them. responsibility and ‘pride of place’.’ An important conclusion that emerged from the symposium was the need for consultative dialogue that develops into principled collaboration. for which there still appear to be to be no answers: ❛ Governance and Creative Engagement Our work must always be transformative. There was a sense of urgency to move beyond the obligatory talking shop. This can only be achieved through proactive and determined leadership. She said: ‘Young people have a voice.’ Governance. The rich dialogue that emerged from the symposium proceedings offered a number of dynamic approaches to heritage. One of the participants. Such concerns were punctuated by pertinent questions from symposium speakers and participants. reminded practitioners of the need to engage more closely with the young people they hope to reach out to. the lack of leadership support and direction often mitigates innovation and risk-taking beyond tried and tested boundaries. the dynamics required for this significant shift call for a focused and equitable strategy of engagement to achieve positive and sustainable outcomes.’ The predominance of white. legacy and leadership development for a twenty-first century heritage sector. But as Roy Clare urged: ‘None of this architecture that we are talking about will change until we shift governance. Patricia Glinton-Meicholas ❜ 55 . Symposium speaker Jude Woodward said: ‘The boards of our major cultural institutions across London do not in the slightest degree reflect the real character of the population of this city. Even the cold stones of our museums and galleries must take on a consciousness that speaks of life and progress. This institutional inertia has been foregrounded as a reason for the limited and slow rate of change within heritage organisational culture.The concept of broadening engagement and advocacy for culture was also linked to pertinent issues concerning young people. practitioners within heritage organisations have observed that. to sharing power.

and to where?’ asked Colin Prescod. • ‘What is heritage? From where are we inheriting what we proclaim to be heritage? Who is to define heritage? Who is to shape it. symposium presenter. Too much scholarship is a high-wire act that draws gasps of wonder from the audience but sends them away empty-handed. as a dark continent. • ‘How would people know that the museum sector was being more inclusive if we didn’t have multicultural festivals or projects?’ asked Roshi Naidoo. That is what makes our work so distinguished and crucial. Poets are being brought in for peace sessions. symposium keynote speaker. seemed to offer an antidote to the ‘inertia’. still exists. for what purpose?’ asked Doudou Diène. conserve it and for what reason. and the location of culture within a wider societal context. They are not simply instrumentalists. • ‘When will the sector move from handwringing to action?’ asked Clara Arokiasamy. they understand that they are part of the imaginative and creative communities whose visions and expressions are critical to material and spiritual well being. Patricia Glinton-Meicholas warned: ‘Effective leadership cannot sequester itself in an ivory tower of exclusivity and esoteric scholarship while the world devolves to atavism. The healthcare system is talking about culture. advocated a renewed selfbelief within culture. the sector continues to impede its own development through an antagonistic relationship with its cultural responsibilities. and for an exploration into its transformative potential in the governance of 56 . symposium chair.• ‘Exactly who is leading what. Early reasoned: ‘The police are talking about culture. for a reassessment of leadership. symposium panel chair. So what are our custodians and gatekeepers going to do about it? And what are we all going to do to help them out of the morass into which we seem to have fallen – on that particular issue and a number of other issues – over the years?’ asked Baroness Lola Young. preserve it.’ This call for renewed self-belief. the symposium explored how future leadership strategies can negotiate the James Early. culture. However. speaking frankly about the cultural shifts needed to effect change within heritage and cultural leadership. Dances are being organised to help resolve questions of conflicts. He went on to discuss how narrow notions of heritage and culture had implicitly restricted the means though which the sector perceived itself – suggesting that not only are we ‘more than just a sector’ but also that culture itself is the fundamental basis from which all elements of public and private life are expressed and conceived. • ‘This notion of Africa as an uncivilised space. ‘challenges’ and ‘acute sense of loss’ expressed in critiques of the UK heritage sector. symposium workshop presenter.’ Looking ahead.

context. Nairne supported this with a quote by an Australian indigenous artist. ‘The point is about taking responsibility yourselves’. those kinds of qualities do not come from having sat in one particular kind of position. as our audiences become ever more global in reach. The sector was called upon to break the inbred circles of influence and career progression that perpetuate its workforce demographics – not only in terms of ethnic background but also in terms of initial and graduate education.’ One speaker from the sector reminded participants how important it is to ‘simply apply’ when board appointments are advertised. However. It was agreed that in order to enable experienced practitioners from more diverse cultural and professional backgrounds to move ‘from small time to big time’. perception and intention towards the global heritage and culture effort.ways that a society engages with culture and heritage.’ The concept of sharing authority and power resonated throughout the discussions on diversifying the heritage workforce and its governing bodies and in the repeated calls for new voices and interpretations of heritage. Media and Sport (DCMS) – the recruiter of board members for the UK’s national heritage institutions – was presented with a key challenge: to re-evaluate the exclusive criteria for board appointments within the heritage sector. If you want somebody who is tenacious and clever and all the rest of it. Baroness Lola Young urged: ‘The DCMS have to think about the kind of criteria they use to appoint people. in the sense of looking much more broadly. the sector had to redress and expand upon its notions of inclusion. Ultimately some of the first changes that need to take place have to be from within – a change in attitude. we are in danger of failing to connect with them because of the narrowness of our own leadership supply side. Sandy Nairne concluded that accountability and creativity stood out as the two key aspects of the leadership change process. In a sense. What we do know is that we can exchange our culture better if we learn how to share the authority and the power. any of us. preservation and cohesion for collections and their histories. vibrant and multicultural ethos and working environment. to venture ‘beyond the museum’ in order to enrich and support the institution’s critical role in developing research. this sentiment without internal change evades the pressing concerns surrounding the core institutional barriers inhibiting the development of a more culturally and intellectually diverse sector workforce and its governing bodies. he urged. saying: ‘We make a mistake if we think that we.’ It has been clearly outlined that the heritage sector. I think there really does need to be a shift. own our own culture. During the symposium proceedings the Department for Culture. security. Roy Clare succinctly addressed the critical 57 . thus far. David Kershaw highlighted that: ‘We are missing out on a huge pool of creative leadership talent and what is more. has been challenged to rise up to its cultural and ethical responsibilities by building a more inclusive.

At present you need to live the question.shift needed in a leadership approach: ‘Unless governance engages with the issues that we have discussed today .’6 Through ten letters. Rilke mentored the young Franz Krappus at the start of his creative journey. • Resist monolithic depictions of the past and engage with the complexity and ambiguity of the human experience. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. They echo Roy Clare’s advice for leaders to engage with the issues that continue to challenge and shape the heritage sector. p35 . a number of conclusions emerge as potential actions and/or recommendations for future leadership development . shows how mentoring can provide a necessary roadmap and springboard for the blossoming of young talent. • Reposition heritage and culture as core aspects of identity construction. • Challenge the homogenising impact of narrow ‘nationalist’ narratives by engaging with dynamic and complex forms of heritage and identification.. adopting a humanist approach to heritage practice – putting people and their communities at the centre of their priorities. Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. • Build on and wholly represent the UK’s commitment to protect the diversity of cultural expressions.. 58 6 RM Rilke. It is a question of experiencing everything. social empowerment and twenty-first century education. not oversees. His advice on the value and necessity of experience. Foreword by K Nerburn. we will not move forward. without even noticing it.and I mean engages. Conclusions: a leadership mantra Through an exploration of the themes discussed in this paper. Afterthoughts In his advice to an aspiring writer who sought guidance on his new poetry and on the large questions and human challenges that affected his work.engages with the issues. the poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote: ‘Have patience with everything that remains unresolved in your heart. find yourself experiencing the answer. 2000. not manages . Leaders were therefore urged to: • Ensure that museums engage with the ebb and flow of life. Do not look now for the answers. translated by JM Burnham. • Challenge institutional inertia in order to welcome new and culturally diverse talent and ideas into heritage and cultural organisations. Perhaps you will gradually.to strengthen and re-vision organisational culture and approaches to heritage practice. Letters to a Young Poet. now philosophical inspiration for all creative practitioners..’ • Work in collaboration with policy makers and cultural practitioners to implement cohesive change within the heritage sector. New World Library.

The national commemoration of the abolition of the slave trade in 2007 illustrates how the sector was profoundly challenged by the unanswered questions. The need to re-address the intellectual discourse shaping heritage narratives. Leadership and legacy are inextricably linked. material or literary) is never objective. have done little to shift the perception that they offer all the answers – or at least the definitive answer. His concerns and the views of other symposium speakers and participants offer another critical question: ‘When will young academics and curators from culturally diverse backgrounds be recognised as a critical component to the survival and development of the sector’s discourses?’ Heritage leaders are urged therefore to acknowledge that. There were gaps in knowledge and narratives that could have explored interesting critical problems (or simply questions) for visitors to engage with. As repositories of knowledge and as educational institutions. the science of change’. This clearly demonstrated how heritage collections were unable to curate or exhibit a tidy picture of the past. in addition to power. instead perpetuating the conventional constructions of ‘villains’. museums. complexities and ambiguities of the slave trade and its legacies. particularly in a curatorial context. Collections were sometimes limited and documentary evidence fragmented and often biased. build for the future and create a meaningful legacy are commonplace. It is also true that history (visual. Heritage institutions. ‘victims’ and ‘heroes’. aspirations to inspire young people. Rilke’s advice to the young writer was not only to seek answers but to also love the questions and this advice is central to discussions about how creative and dynamic cultural leadership can be developed. Much of the reason for this traditional approach lay in the predominantly Eurocentric curation of 2007 exhibitions in mainstream institutions. particularly when documented by the human hand. from which change within the sector should be conceived. The historian Marc Bloch wrote that history is ‘in its essentials. It is true that heritage collections provide some of the ‘proof’ of history.Young people are the legacies of our social and cultural frameworks and interactions. knowledge production and the development of mainstream heritage discourses are processes that must also be shared. archives and libraries have been traditionally perceived as places to get answers. 59 . Across UK cultural policy. was an issue raised by session respondent and emerging leader Machel Bogues. But it seems that these ideals now need to be more than a rallying call and become the fundamental basis that informs an intercultural and intergenerational conversation. however.

6 circles of interaction, dialogue and exchange
Janice Cheddie
Dr Janice Cheddie has provided a commentary which reflects on the symposium and the issues it raised about the relationship between culture and heritage and between diversity, leadership and creativity. Janice Cheddie is a researcher and writer on visual culture, cultural democracy and ethics. She has worked as a development consultant for the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage and the Heritage Diversity Task Force since 2005. She was an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London from 2000 to 2005. She has recently taken up a position as senior lecturer in art history and art education at the University of the West Indies, Cavehill Campus, Cavehill, Barbados.


Sometimes at an event, a phrase or an idea seems to capture the synergy and excitement of the moment in an elegant and exhilarating way. It was thus with June Jordan’s Poem for South African Women, originally delivered by the African-American poet to the UN assembly on 9 August 1978, to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of a demonstration by black South African women against the injustice of the apartheid regime in Johannesburg. The spirit of Jordan’s poetic line ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for waiting for’ resonated throughout the Heritage, Legacy and Leadership symposium, capturing the ethos of this groundbreaking initiative. This poem’s last line managed to encapsulate the aims and ambitions of the Cultural Leadership Programme and The Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage to widen the talent pool of Britain’s cultural leadership. How was it that, some 30 years after its original delivery, Jordan’s poem struck a chord echoing the aspirations and challenges facing many of the of the heritage practitioners, policy makers, senior managers and heritage stakeholders attending the symposium? The simplicity of Jordan’s poetic utterance reminded the participants that the role of leadership lies not outside the gathered individuals – waiting for a mythical leader who will bring change – but within each individual. Jordan’s sparse poetry urges cultural workers to stop waiting for change to emerge, calling for those involved in cultural processes to seek out

and create the circumstances, conditions and leadership necessary for cultural change. In this sense, ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for’ can be taken as a clarion call to those of us tasked with the role of making, shaping and participating in culture. Furthermore, Jordan’s poem speaks to one of the central themes of the symposium, namely the question of cultural democracy. By invoking the concept of ‘we’, the poem locates leadership as part of a collective democratic process that needs to be embedded within the leadership of London’s cultural institutions.

Cultural memory and memoralisation
It is significant that, in addressing politicians, policy makers and government officials at the UN, Jordan’s work further highlights the relationship between mainstream culture, heritage and memory. Her poem bears witness to an event that was not highlighted within world history – but through the mobilisation of her cultural memory and her poetic voice, Jordan utilises the power of memory to place unrecorded histories into the public sphere as an act of memoralisation. Doudou Diène, in his keynote speech, recognised the role of cultural memory and memoralisation within the development of heritage. He also signalled the central role of women in preserving and transmitting cultural memory and tradition through intangible heritage. He asserts that, whilst heritage professionals and institutions play


an important role in preserving and protecting the past as custodians for the future, there must also be a recognition of the role intangible heritage plays as an intrinsic aspect of human culture. Both Doudou Diène and Lonnie Bunch cited the power of cultural memory as an act of memoralisation, locating its use as a significant aspect of a culture’s democratic and ethical impulse. Furthermore, both speakers asserted that these values are intricately linked to our understanding and development of heritage and culture. The seminal role intangible heritage plays within our understanding of the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade was further explored in the symposium workshops. The year 2007 saw an unprecedented number of commemorative events staged within Britain’s heritage institutions to mark the parliamentary abolition of the British slave trade in 1807. Britain’s heritage institutions have predominately held the histories and records of the slave owners and the traders, while the memory of enslaved Africans, ‘the ghost of other stories’, is often missing. In order to address this gap many cultural institutions turned to intangible heritage in order to revive and honour the humanity of the enslaved and their descendents through music, dance, poetry and oral traditions.

The use of intangible heritage humanises and brings into living history, artefacts and documents, re-enacting the presence and memory of the enslaved.

This process of humanising history helps to embed the contributions of enslaved Africans into institutional and national consciousness. These cultural interventions remind us of the importance of intangible heritage in preserving the cultural traditions and humanity of the enslaved, maintaining the link between cultural memory, heritage and acts of memoralisation.

The power of definition
Exploring the process of intercultural dialogue and reciprocity as a key part of heritage, Diène drew upon his own experience as Project Manager for UNESCO’s Integral Study of the Silk Roads: Roads of Dialogue. As part of the development of this project he and a group of colleagues were taken on a site visit to Buddhist sculptures in China. These ancient sculptures are located by Chinese officials as premiere examples of Chinese heritage and tradition. However, as one of Diène’s colleagues pointed out, these sculptures bore significant hallmarks of cultural reciprocity and exchange between China and the rest of Asia. Though not immediately recognisable, the signs could be seen in the sculptures’ dress and physical features.


heritage and the public sphere The central point of the exchange and debate that took place throughout the symposium was the relationship between culture and heritage. Change Agents. These workshops allowed participants to look at specific case studies to explore how a new culture of leadership could be fostered amongst mainstream and diverse heritage stakeholders. documents and stories of London’s heritage. The afternoon session included a series of themed workshops that focused on the themes of: 2007 Commemoration. and how these models could be embedded within institutional structures and practices. This serves as a timely reminder as London’s heritage institutions. material and social entanglements present in the artefacts. academics and community-based individuals and organisations. Speakers from mainstream institutions had tended to position heritage – collections. This led to a discussion in the morning session about the opening up of mainstream institutions to new models of governance. and Developing Heritage Leaders. but also as a mechanism to close down meaning and to lay claim to monocultural exclusivity. Thus the power of definition can have multiple faces: it can be used by heritage institutions and national governments to empower and enhance intercultural dialogue and exchange. Campaigns and Advocacy. The workshops also sought to examine how more equitable partnerships between mainstream and diverse communities could be developed in order to widen the pool of heritage expertise and intelligence and to explore the links between Britain’s heritage and the rest of the world. space. ❛ These multiple intercultural histories and dialogues can only be accessed and made known through collaborative research and investigation between heritage professionals. Another workshop sought to explore how to utilise London’s position as a world city to facilitate international exchange and cultural cooperation. Culture. ❜ 63 . belonging and the authorising of who has the power to speak – is a socio-economic and political process. artefacts and documents etc – within institutions. aesthetic. Global Interventions and Exchanges. ownership and accountability. academics and stakeholders seek to re-examine the multiple points of origin and the deep cultural.Through the use of this example Doudou Diène reminded us that the power to define through ‘naming’ – a sense of place. Diène’s remarks remind us of the importance of an inclusive power of definition in opening up the multiple narratives within London’s collections.

Thus Early and GlintonMeicholas critiqued the holding on to essentialist notions of identity. democratic and ethical. taking forward the notion of intercultural dialogue and exchange to circles of interaction and inter-relationship between human cultures. Reiterating Diène. James Early and Patricia Glinton-Meicholas.a shared culture and heritage. exploring the ethical dimension of heritage. transforming and being accountable for what is produced. Early. Nairne’s analysis sought to present diversity as a key factor in the drive for creativity. Many of the afternoon speeches extended and highlighted some of the themes in the morning discussions. Presenter Sandy Nairne supported these views by producing an analysis that synthesised the relationship between diversity. ethnicity. excellence and innovation. but rather an appeal for ‘radical sameness’ as an ethical relationship that holds. that human cultures ❜ 64 . Early asserted that this inter-relationship between individuals and communities can be achieved only through the creation of a ‘radical sameness’. gender. shared and preserved equally. Early and Glinton-Meicholas returned to Jordan’s sentiment – cultural leadership is not about institutions but about understanding each individual’s role in creating. Naidoo and Glinton-Meicholas later argued for recognition of our fluid identities that reflect our intercultural pasts and our globalised futures. leadership and creativity. Early and Glinton-Meicholas argued that individuals and communities – the ‘we’ of Jordan’s poem – have an ethical responsibility in sharing. modernising and democratising culture. Extending this concept further Diène. and a democratic impulse to make sure that all cultures are valued. most forcibly argued by Early. consumed and circulated within cultural processes. faith and sexuality. cultural exchanges and openness to explore what we have in common . class. ❛ Broadening the notion of culture as transformative. It is in this sense. Furthermore. sought to place culture outside the institutional frame into a wider anthropological and social context. legacy and leadership. within its non-hierarchical structure. This call for ‘radical sameness’ is not a return to concepts that privilege the view of the western male subject’s denial of difference. Two of the symposium presenters. Mobilising this concept of culture they both placed culture at the centre of individuals’ and communities’ lives and interactions. Early and Glinton-Meicholas asserted the importance of globalisation in the production of trans-national identities which create the need for greater intercultural dialogues and exchanges. have at their centre a shared notion of humanity that values and respects difference across race.As the delegates returned from the workshops the symposium took a new direction.

❜ 65 . culture and cultural leadership cannot be simply about institutions but more precisely about the power of individuals. inform and deliver a shared heritage.❛ If ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for’ is to be taken seriously as a call to action. communities and institutions to shape. manage.

Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism. Director. Commissioner. Researcher. Chair. xenophobia and related intolerance for the United Nations Commission for Human Rights ♦ Samuel Jones.7 appendix symposium programme City Hall. Smithsonian Institute The panel explored the challenges and ethical issues concerning the role of heritage institutions as custodians of history beyond a monocultural framework and their responsibility as mediators for shifting notions of cultural diversity and national identities. Institute of Race Relations. Chair. arts and heritage consultant Panel members: ♦ Roy Clare CBE. National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage. Chief Executive. Director. Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage Custodians or gatekeepers: leadership. and Heritage Task Force Member ♦ Dr Hilary S Carty. Cultural Leadership Programme ♦ Jude Woodward. respondent to the keynote address Workshops The abolition 2007 commemoration. national identity and inclusion Panel Chair: ♦ Baroness Lola Young OBE. Equiano Centre 66 . Museums. Cultural Leadership Programme ♦ Dame Jocelyn Barrow. Director. co-editor of ‘The Politics of Heritage: the Legacies of Race’ ♦ Sandy Nairne. representation and ownership case study Workshop Chair: ♦ Caroline Bressey. Demos. Chair. Lecturer in Geography. London 22 February 2008 Welcome remarks ♦ Colin Prescod. Libraries and Archives ♦ Dr Roshi Naidoo. Keynote address ♦ Dr Doudou Diène. Symposium Chair. Director. University College London. Mayor’s Office ♦ David Kershaw. Senior Policy Advisor Cultural Strategy. National Portrait Gallery ♦ Dr Lonnie G Bunch III. racial discrimination.

Alchemy Cultural Enterprise ♦ Oku Ekpenyon. Heritage Lottery Fund Panel members: ♦ Nima Poovaya-Smith. Chair. Rendezvous of Victory ♦ John W Franklin. consultation and equitable partnerships. Director. Director of Partnerships and International Programs. Birmingham City Archives Global interventions and exchange Workshop Chair: ♦ Prakash Daswani. Heritage Diversity Task Force. Vice-Chair. Change agents. London Committee. film programmer and promoter ♦ Clara Arokiasamy. ♦ Keith Tinker. while engaging in a dynamic exchange around the way forward for the commemoration of legacies. Director. Reader in History. National Museums. Cultural Director. performance artist 67 . Museum in Docklands This workshop explored how international partnerships and exchange can enhance cultural pluralism in the heritage sector. National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Black and Asian Studies Association. Chair. Chair. Smithsonian Institute The UK 2007 Commemoration of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807 brought into sharp focus ongoing issues related to representation and ownership linked to programming. Jurisconsult. The Bahamas ♦ Chantal Girondin. Head of International Museum of Slavery. Middlesex University ♦ Martine Miel. educational consultant and historian ♦ Marika Sherwood. Institute for the Public Understanding of the Past ♦ Hakim Adi. international business strategist ♦ Izzy Mohammed. independent consultant and advisor ♦ David Spence. Liverpool ♦ Helen Weinstein. Black History Foundation. Director. Joint Co-ordinator. Community Outreach and Education Officer. South Pacific.Panel members: ♦ Richard Benjamin. Grassroots Rising Panel members: ♦ Lassell Hylton. Memorial 2007. research fellow. Director. Former Cultural Attachée for France. Black and Asian Studies Association. Chair. Institute of Commonwealth Studies ♦ SuAndi. Black Arts Alliance. campaigns and advocacy Workshop Chair: ♦ Esther Stanford. Panellists explored the lessons learned from 2007.

Developing heritage leaders Workshop Chair: ♦ Naseem Khan OBE. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Adornment ♦ Errol Francis. Training and Development Officer. London 2012 The panel reflected on the issues and ideas needed for bold and innovative twenty-first century leadership to advance cultural democracy and inclusion. Head of Culture. Victoria & Albert Museum. Panellists shared Closing remarks ♦ Makeda Coaston. professional inequalities and disenfranchisement. author and President. Bright-i Training Consultancy ♦ Caitlin Griffith. Asian and minority ethnic advocacy reflecting on how lessons learned can inform the principles and professional practice of heritage leadership. Greater London Authority Senior Cultural Strategy Officer and Project Manager. their perspectives on ways forward to ensure that Black. Arts Council England ♦ Sue Hoyle. Deputy Director. Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage 68 . Director. Asian and minority ethnic leaders are being identified. Museums Associations Exploring key professional and leadership development schemes. this workshop shared approaches. Director. writer.The role of the change agent is critical in highlighting and lobbying for solutions to combat cultural exclusivity. Cultural Heritage Policy. Director. Head of Professional Issues. Bahamas Association for Cultural Studies ♦ Keith Khan. School of Oriental and African Studies Panel members: ♦ James Early. nurtured and integrated into the heritage sector. The workshop explored experiences and approaches to Black. The Clore Leadership Programme ♦ Joanna Tong. Leadership and change in the twentyfirst century Panel Chair: ♦ Tao Wang. researcher and policy advisor Panel members: ♦ Margot Rodway-Brown. Centre of Chinese Studies. Inspire Programme Manager. challenges and outcomes and reflected on the implications for embedding the legacies of these programmes. Smithsonian Institute ♦ Patricia Glinton-Meicholas. Chair.

We are grateful to a number of individuals who have supported the editing and production of the Heritage. Thanks also to Johanna Thompson and Linda Kiff from the Greater London Authority for their production support. We would also like to extend warm thanks to the many individuals who helped shape the concept. finding links and sparks of divergence among perspectives from the UK. particularly Mariam Agbaje. 69 . creativity and energy inspired this event. We also owe a strong vote of thanks to all the plenary and workshop presenters. We would like to thank these organisations for their generosity. Senior Strategy Officer at the Greater London Authority and Project Manager for the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage (MCAAH). whose meticulous planning and delivery underpinned the smoothrunning of this international event. Legacy and Leadership report. Europe and the Caribbean. expertly steered the dialogue.acknowledgements Heritage. The Museums Association. The symposium was made possible by the support of the Museums. Special thanks must go to the symposium curator and animateur Makeda Coaston whose vision. who set the framework for our discussions. which was established to build on the commitment to promote the heritage and histories of African and Asian Communities in the capital and to more broadly facilitate increased access to London’s shared heritage for all Londoners. The British Council. and English Heritage. Legacy and Leadership symposium represents the Cultural Leadership Programme’s and the MCAAH’s continuing commitment to working in partnership with the heritage sector to foster effective and inclusive leadership. the USA. Renaissance London. Heritage. Diane Pengelly and Janice Cheddie for the Greater London Authority and Kim Evans and Becky Allen for the Cultural Leadership Programme. Legacy and Leadership: Ideas and Intervention was conceived and developed by Makeda Coaston. The symposium’s Chair. content and thoughts represented in the symposium and this report. The initiative forms an important strand of the work of the MCAAH. Colin Prescod. The Heritage. Libraries and Archives Council. Legacy and Leadership was made possible through the skilful event management of Beverley Mason and the Medar Psyden team.

To download this publication or to find out more about the Cultural Leadership Programme see www.org. Please contact us if you need any of these formats.Heritage. County Durham Designed by tangerine. and on audio CD.uk You can get this publication in Braille. It took place on 22 February 2008 at City Hall. © The Cultural Leadership Programme 2009 ISBN 978-0-7287-1445-8 Printed in England by HPM. in large print. London.culturalleadership. London . Legacy and Leadership: Ideas and Interventions was an international symposium presented by the Cultural Leadership Programme and the Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage.

www@culturalleadership.uk .org.

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