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New Book: 'Caring for Cultural Heritage' by Dr Charlotte Woodhead
Dr Charlotte Woodhead, Associate Professor at Warwick Law School, has taken a unique and exciting approach to examining cultural heritage law and ethical initiatives in the UK in her new book, 'Caring for Cultural Heritage'. By adopting the ethics of care, Charlotte explores how legal frameworks, guidance, and non-law instruments enable various communities to care for cultural heritage because they care about it.
This book offers a new approach to deal with the fragmented way in which cultural heritage objects, places and practices are cared for in the UK. She adopts the approach of Joan Tronto who talks of nested practices of care and draws together as such practices, the common law, legislation, guidance, ethical codes, self-imposed restrictions in institutional policies and also civil society and public participation initiatives that all care for cultural heritage.
Reframing the law and other non-law instruments as caring for cultural heritage shifts the focus away from rights and ownership towards responsibilities, which are central to cultural heritage. Charlotte analyses who has responsibility for the care of cultural heritage, analysing these as communities of care.
“This book analyses how the UK as a community and network of communities, cares for cultural heritage through nested practices of care. The practices range from international law down to public participation initiatives. Care can be used in a precautionary, preventative, quotidian or reactive way to look after those places objects and practices which communities across the UK and internationally care about. By using an approach centred on the ethics of care it helps us to understand how we look after cultural heritage on a day-to-day basis but also how we can respond to claims for contested heritage and for objects where communities are challenging the current possession of them by museums.”
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