Week 5 – Cotton

Kaufman says that community cultural development—using art and culture as the drivers of community development—is an underutilized tool in representing the history and shared experience of marginalized communities whose material heritage may no longer stand. How can preservation incorporate similar activist strategies into its practice? I believe this is an area where preservation can become more proactive and engaging with such communities—and potentially bring more minority members into the field of preservation. If our profession only puts this site on a register or installs an interpretive plaque, we may have increased the community’s visibility and recognition, but we may not have increased their involvement in the practice or their ability to continue promoting and preserving their own heritage. Arts-based and community-sourced efforts to commemorate absent or destroyed physical heritage allow communities to create landmarks with strong connections to their current community context, creating a sense of “placefulness” that extends from the present to the past.

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