Teodora KONACH
(Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland)

Keywords: intangible cultural heritage, digitalisation, disrupted cultural continuity, controversial heritage, local communities

In current literature heritage is perceived as providing a special sense of belonging, but also it reflects the complexities of how communities define and negotiate their identity, symbols and memory. Strategies for heritage preservation and safeguarding pertain simultaneously to the regulation and negotiation of the multiplicity of meaning in the past and to the mediation and arbitration of the cultural and social politics of identity and belonging. Engaging with intangible culture in heritage institutions raises the issue of participatory museology and evokes ideas of cultural inclusion and dialogue, but also hints a new exclusivity inherent of the power of self-representation, as groups that had historically been marginalized are now actively involved in museum work. However, the new role of local communities, as holders of intangible culture expressions, may be a difficult task considering the areas with disrupted cultural continuity. Based on a qualitative research conducted by the author in local communities in selected Polish cities (Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw) in 2016-2018 the presentation will address and discuss the dynamics of intangible cultural heritage digitalisation taking into account the local communities involvement in metropolitan areas with disrupted cultural continuity. The author will analyse cultural institutions’ strategies for the visualisation of expressions of intangible cultural heritage considered ‘controversial’ or ‘foreign’ by the local communities. The analysis will start with a short theoretical introduction to the visualisation techniques and their role in the intangible culture heritage preservation, than the methodology used for the research will be problematized (Community-Based Participatory Research in the field of cultural studies) and the final findings from the study will be presented, with an emphasis on the new technologies’ impact on the intangible cultural heritage initiatives and their potential as a mediator at local level for the identification and safeguarding of the controversial cultural heritage.

Relevance for the conference: The paper will discuss the new role of the digitalisation strategies in the intangible cultural heritage identification and presentation with regard to the local communities social and cultural empowerment and the potential of visualisation programmes in the processes of democratising the curation of artefacts in cultural institutions.
Relevance for the session: The presentation addresses the panel’s topic by analysing new digitalisation strategies in selected Polish cities with disrupted cultural continuity aiming to involve the local communities in the identification and curation processes of intangible cultural heritage, which revealed many areas of tensions between the local authorities and the communities’ members over expression of the intangible culture considered to be ‘controversial’/’foreign’ by the communities.
Innovation: The presentation will investigate in an innovative way the new technologies’ impact on the intangible cultural heritage initiatives as a platform for mediation at local level, giving voice to groups that had historically been marginalised in the museum work.
• Whaley S., Cisneros R.K.,Sabiescu A. (eds.) 2018. Digital Echoes: Spaces for Intangible and Performance-based Cultural Heritage. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Kapralski S. 2011. (Mis)representation of the Jewish Past in Poland’s Memoryscapes: Nationalism, Religion, and Political Economies of Commemoration. In: E. Lehrer (ed.) Curating Difficult Knowledge. Violent Past in Public Spaces. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.