Rebelah: Reimagining cultural heritage means redefining identity as well
What is cultural heritage? Why do we think of certain elements as heritage and not of others? Who has established it this way? Why? When? What connection does that heritage have with me?
These are some of the questions that we have asked ourselves throughout the REBELAH project and that the people who have participated in the project pilots have asked themselves.
In the first pilot we worked with people who belong to minority groups, in the second pilot we worked with people who work with minority groups. With both groups we were able to observe that when they were asked to think about the concept of cultural heritage, all the participants had similar responses, they all conceived heritage in its traditional definition, as a representative element of the history and culture of a certain territory.
Through the pilots we have been able to challenge that conception of heritage and go one step further. We have discovered the different perspectives that make up cultural heritage and its relationship with us as individuals and with other aspects, such as power or intersectionality and how, consequently, cultural heritage is related to minorities and can be a tool for inclusion and exclusion.
Thus, we have reimagined cultural heritage both through the presentations of experts in the field, such as Mar Griera, Dídac P. Lagarriga and Rafa Crespo, as well as with the activities and exercises carried out by La Xixa Teatre.
Reimagining cultural heritage is a process that can be difficult due to the complexity involved in breaking with the established outlines behind the concept, not only of heritage but of other aspects that are related to it, such as identity, due to the connection between the two.
Reimagining cultural heritage implies reimagining identity and this process can generate different results, it can mean a redefinition of the place we occupy, of our relationship with it and with the society that inhabits it, of how we occupy it. It can mean strengthening our identity, creating links with what we did not understand as ours or revaluing what we consider ours and making space for it and giving it a voice and place in this reimagining.
During the implementation of the pilots we have seen this happen. We have observed how participants of the first pilot reimagined heritage and made it theirs, and how participants in the second pilot started being aware of how cultural heritage could be and is more than what they had imagined until then.