• Contrived Dereliction: employing an aesthetic of decay at mining heritage sites

Oakley, Peter, 2013, Conference or Workshop, Contrived Dereliction: employing an aesthetic of decay at mining heritage sites at Tourism and the Shifting Values of Cultural Heritage: visiting pasts, developing futures, Taipei, 5-9 April 2013. (Submitted)

Abstract or Description:

This conference presentation was delivered at ‘Tourism and the Shifting Values of Cultural Heritage: Visiting Pasts, Developing Futures’, held in Taipei in 2013. The conference was organised by Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage and National Taiwan University, in association with UNESCO’s UNITWIN international network for cultural tourism development.
This paper addressed the issue of site presentation at heritage mining sites. Oakley identified the similarities between modes of presentation given alternative names and rationales, arguing that these rely on a common visual aesthetic of decay, which is actively but covertly maintained for audiences.
The paper was underpinned by field research conducted at preserved mining sites and related heritage destinations in California, Alaska, northern Sweden, Cornwall and Wales between 2008 and 2012. The research methods were primarily participant-observation, interviews and informal discussions with staff on site, augmented by digital and library research.
Oakley argued that the appearance of dereliction at such sites relied on extensive and continual interventions on the part of site managers to support underlying site narratives linked to wider cultural constructions. These interventions are tangential or run counter to dominant conservation conventions. They are, however, key to the successful reception of such sites by visitors, who value the experience of encountering apparent abandonment and decay. The introduction of a novel term – ‘contrived dereliction’ – foregrounds the actions entailed by, and rationale behind, this type of presentation. These outputs offer a new perspective on practices currently being frequently employed, yet rarely acknowledged, in heritage mining site management.
Oakley presented an early version of this argument, titled ‘A mine of information’, at the 2010 European Archaeological Association annual conference held in The Hague as part of the ‘Reanimating industrial heritage’ panel.

Subjects: Other > Veterinary Sciences > D400 Agriculture > D440 Rural Estate Management > D445 Heritage Management
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2013 20:50
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:45
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1461
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