Participatory Heritage. Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland, eds., for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. London, U.K.: Facet Publishing, 2017. 213p. Paper. $74.98 (ISBN 978-1-78330-132-2).

Michael Ryan


If you work in a college or university library and have ever tried to partner with a community group or heritage organization or are contemplating doing same, you will probably be well served by looking into this slim volume. Comprising nineteen short case studies, the book provides a wide variety of examples of the challenges and issues faced by institutions trying to collaborate with “participatory heritage” groups. Occasionally the partnership succeeds, but often projects pursued with the best of intentions end in frustration and disappointment. The very definition of participatory heritage offered in the introduction implicitly lays out the problems for formally organized, professionally constituted institutions: “Participatory heritage could be thought of as a space, a space in which individuals engage in cultural activities outside of formal institutions for the purpose of knowledge-sharing and co-creating with others. Those engaged with participatory heritage collaborations tend to place importance on content and less importance on medium, process, or professional expertise; thus they acknowledge a diversity of expertise and operate from a premise of shared authority. The collaborations are bottom-up in nature, as they emerge from connections among individuals rather than organizations.” (xv)

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