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Tangible Cultural Heritage in Process


Aura Kivilaakso, PhD student

University of Turku, Degree Program in Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, cultural heritage studies



Culturally sustainable built heritage – an ethnologist’s perspective on listing of buildings

Sustainability is a hot topic both in cultural studies and in architectural design. In architecture, the concept is attached to things like the durability of construction materials and the flexibility of floor plans. Cultural studies examine questions such as how to contribute cultural continuity or how to support locality. Yet sustainability has been widely recognized, buildings and even whole areas are torn down in the name of cultural development. It seems that it really isn’t the design that makes buildings unsustainable, but the culture. What can an ethnologist do to promote a better understanding of culturally sustainable development?

Among architects the dilemma of sustainability is real. As it is, technical professionals have almost entered the same research area as European ethnologists; for example, by studying traditional building techniques. Accordingly, today’s ethnologists have discovered a new opportunity. They’ve started to study opinion and attitudes towards housing, living and listing of buildings. In addition, ethnologists analyze the practicalities of building protection and the cultural phenomena surrounding it.

In doing so, print media is an interesting resource. Newspapers maintain numerous references to community planning – maintaining the current social atmosphere. Combined with a cultural analytical approach, print media offers many answers. With hindsight it reveals to us the cultural trajectory of a phenomenon known as building protection.

What type of thinking has made it possible to protect entire neighborhoods? By highlighting the arguments printed in newspapers, I explore building preservation as a social, temporal, regional and political phenomenon.

In my talk at the SIEF conference, I examine the public image of Käpylä Garden City’s protection propagated by the local newspaper. The focus of the presentation is on the articles published before and retrospectively after the local protection decision. My sources show that in print media, listing of buildings is not always determined by architectural value. For the local resident, it is sometimes easier to either advocate cultural, social or time modifiers, while architecture is an argument used only when quoting professionals or authorities.


Anna Nadolska-Styczynska

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń



Individual and Museum. Some Remarks by Practitioner and Historian of Science

Problem of the role played by individuals in Polish museums is a very interesting and complex subject. It can be considered in several contexts, however three of them seem to be the most interesting for the author:

Individual and the shaping of museum collection

Individual and the character and program of museum activities

Individual and the everyday work of a museum.

Paper discusses these issues basing on several examples. Author describes the scientific programs of selected Polish ethnographic museums, created by distinguish Polish ethnographers. She shows achievements but also indicates the difficulties which the creators of ethnographic collections have met, as well as problems faced by museologist in everyday museum work.

Author, basing on her own professional experiences and the history of selected Polish museums, tries to show how important for these institutions (for their nature and character) are/were these individuals, for whom working in the museum was/is a specific way of life.


Laura Puolamäki, MA, PhD student

University of Turku, Degree program in Cultural production and Landscape Studies



Individual Views and Shared Landscape

One landscape has many faces. It depends on the spectator´s eye, how we evaluate the things we see. Trained eyes, with expertise on landscape matters, pursue to read the landscape from the official documents and measureable data. Peoples´ eyes, with intuition and inherited knowledge, pursue to read the landscape from landmarks built out of memories, experiences, beliefs and social boundaries.

This paper examines the different views we have to landscape as local people and experts and ways to merge them. The empirical data was collected during a Nordic PhD course in Iceland.

European Landscape Convention brought lived landscape, an approach and evaluation based on personal landscape experiences, to the discussion of the experts and authorities (Council of Europe: 2000).

Peoples´ perception of belonging and of cultural identity is central to the notion of landscape of ELC. It is not enough to protect and improve the material signs of the past. Instead, we should ‘identify’ the landscape by recognizing what the landscape values are that people share. (Brunetta & Voghera: 2008)

We would need established practices for inventory of perceived landscape. They would not only help us to meet aims of landscape policies set in the European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe: 2000), but also to protect the intangible cultural heritage attached to landscape as defined by UNESCO (World Heritage Convention: 1972, Convention for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage: 2003).

In Krogh´s Model for Landscape Comprehension (2008) landscape is read through constant perception, cognition and action. Krogh´s model could answer to the question of identifying the landscape by recognizing shared landscape values.

Syse (2010) has argued for merging the local and expert knowledge through the practise of generating and sharing experiences. Environmental education is a mediator between people, information and landscape. Participative methods, which are successfully used in environmental education, could enhance the merging process.


Christiano Tambascia

Campinas State University, Centre for Gender Studies



Constituting ethnographic collections and building academic renown

From being an unquestioned facet of the anthropologist’s activities in the field, the act of collecting ethnographic objects, by the time colonialism was showing signs of exhaustion, became one of the most evident examples of the hierarchical relationships the critics of the anthropology’s flirtations with the colonial administration denounced to exist between ethnographers and their informants. Considered to be tangible metonyms of the culture anthropologists ought to investigate – and save, as it could be endangered – ethnographic objects entered a circuit of values in which authenticity had a privileged hierarchical position in the economy of knowledge, and helped legitimize the colonial enterprise in Europe. My aim is to investigate the strategies taken by some anthropologists who collected ethnographic objects that were to be sold to European museums, as means to gain access to academic positions. While some ethnographers succeeded in obtaining prestige with their ethnic art expertise, others remained restricted to a lesser prestigious milieu: intermediaries who provided information others analysed. In order to exemplify the different ways collecting ethnographical objects interfered with academic renown, I will focus on the contrast between the possibilities available to the Brazilian – born German – ethnographer Curt Nimuendaju, whose museums’ commissions funded his research, and William Fagg, who established himself as an African art scholar in the United Kingdom. While Nimuendaju struggled with the “information and objects gatherer” position available to him, Fagg managed to escape the restrains imposed by the continuous devaluation of the collector’s work in the academic field. This contrast will help investigate the academic rules in a changing discipline, and also put in perspective the needed revaluation of the status of tangible culture displayed in the museums today.

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