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Abstracts Session 2

Heritage, Communication and Individuals

Maarit Grahn, PhD student

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



Cultural Heritage as Part of Corporate Identity and Image

Cultural heritage is a symbolic part of culture and locality. Communities and groups utilize intangible and tangible cultural heritage to maintain and strengthen their identity and culture. In this presentation, I will study the use of cultural heritage in economic context. I will point out that also companies, especially old family businesses, can be regarded as cultural heritage communities.

History can be regarded as a basic and important component of corporate culture, corporate identity and corporate image. An organization without a history will be more apt to changes than an organization with a strong history. The past lives in the organization’s memory. Companies utilize their cultural heritage actively to build their identity and corporate image. In business studies this kind of use of history is called history management.

My representation is a historical analysis of how an old family business has in the long-term consciously maintained and reproduced its cultural heritage and utilized it both in the company’s internal and external activities. As a case I will use the Finnish family business A. Ahlström Corporation. I will show how the company has through corporate museums and exhibitions, places of memory and several publications built its identity and corporate image. In this context my representation focuses on the West Finnish Noormarkku ironworks that can be regarded as symbolic capital and a place of memory for the globalized company. My study shows that cultural heritage is an endless historical communication process. In different times, the interpretation and the ways to utilize cultural heritage get new forms.

Torunn Selberg, Professor

University of Bergen, Institute for AHKR



Norwegian pilgrimage, heritage and the individual wanderer

In many parts of the world an increasing interest in pilgrimage is taking place, something that has been described as a pilgrimage renaissance. Also in the protestant country of Norway such an interest is an increasing phenomenon.  In local communities with pilgrimage traditions from Catholic medieval times, narratives, memories and heritage tied to almost forgotten pilgrim-traditions are being brought to the foreground. The old pilgrims-roads and heritage and monuments along these roads are being restored. Government institutions like the Directorate for heritage, department of culture and dept. of environment are together creating what – in a Norwegian contexts – is being named ”an adequate pilgrimage product”. Due to various historical reasons this product is very much tied to heritage.

During the Norwegian summer time, more and more individuals are walking the restored pilgrimage roads. An important part of the pilgrimage renaissance is the many stories told by the individual walkers about their experiences along the roads. These narratives are being published in various media; among others pilgrimage magazines and pilgrimage sites (homepages) on the Internet. This demonstrates the increasing place that stories and ideas tied to pilgrimage has within contemporary popular culture, which also means that a kind of pilgrimage narrative tradition is growing.  A question to be asked to these individual stories is to what extent and in what ways the connection between pilgrimage and heritage (emphasized in official contexts) are being expressed in these narratives?

Hans-Jakob Ågotnes

University of Bergen, Institute for AHKR



Narratives of industry, narratives of heritage

The industrial community of Odda, during the last 100 years organized around the centrally placed chemical plant, has for some years now been engaged in a debate over the destiny of the industrial remains. After the company closed down in 2003 there has been an intense debate over the use of the industrial site. The aim of protection authorities (the Directorate for Cultural Heritage) is that «cultural monuments and history shall be the basis for new growth». It is important to preserve «national and international natural and cultural values, and to lay the foundation for a more attractive and varied community». But locally the opinion is also voiced that the whole structure should be demolished to give room for new functions and activities.

The emotional energy in the conflict points towards an interpretation that stresses differences in subjective value systems. People in the community have seen their home place as a place to be proud of because of its productive achievement (“The founding stone for welfare society was laid down here”.) The question is why some people draw the conclusion that the factory should become factory, while others want to get rid of the reminders of the industrial history. What meaningful place has this specific past in the life worlds of people engaging in the current debate? And how is it expressed in individual stories and other forms of utterings?


Irina Sheleketova, student

Moscow, Russia


Wayang as an object of Intangible Heritage

In 2002 Indonesian shadow theatre Wayang was included in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Heritage. And what are the consequences? Is it becoming more popular for foreign tourists and so has more money for developing? Or is it more simple, hiding differences between districts, and looking like attraction for tourists? Of course we cannot give a definite answer. This year I’ve conducted a brief research at Bali and Java Isles (Indonesia).

During my field work I met several Masters of Wayang, whose biographies and stories can show us different varieties of the Wayang life. At Bali it is very close to Hindu religion, it is usual to see Wayang in different ceremonies.

In the Central Jawa, in the cultural centre of Indonesia (Jogjakarta) authentic tradition of Surakarta is a basic and normal Wayang for UNESCO. From this region this kind of puppet theatre spread all over the world. Wayang  is one of the “places of interest” for tourists and all performances are adapted for touristic aims.

Muslim religion has a great influence on culture of Jawa, but Wayang is also used for ceremonial purposes, especially in marriage. But some scientists believe that “Muslim Wayang”, which has round puppets in contradistinction to flat leather puppets in East Jawa, appeared much later and because of Chinese influence.

So in my research the main question was if Wayang saves its traditional features or not in modern life. The main aim of my research work is to discover the perspectives of saving the traditional features of Wayang in contemporary society.


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