The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of contemporary storytelling in preserving built heritage, as a mechanism for extending the useful life of buildings.
The authors adopted a qualitative action research approach to consider the role of storytelling. A creative, multi-method approach (i.e. a “Brisbane Art Deco” publication and associated marketing campaign) was used as a case study to explore the contours of such an approach and its efficacy in engaging the community.
This paper highlights the potential of contemporary approaches to heritage storytelling, including utilising digital technologies, to engage a diverse range of people that may not have otherwise participated. The authors propose the value of taking a creative and whole-of-society approach – such as that used in this case study – to heritage storytelling.
The case study discussed provides a phenomenological insight into one version of “contemporary heritage storytelling”. The findings have immediate implications for prioritising research into storytelling for the preservation of built heritage.
The case study demonstrates opportunities for community engagement through storytelling and highlights potential strategies to effectively contribute to a greater societal value of cultural heritage.
This research contributes to theory and practice around the management of cultural heritage, and highlights the usefulness of employing such a strategy to reach and engage a broader audience.
This development of the case study discussed in this paper was made possible by the Brisbane City Council through the Lord Mayor’s Helen Taylor Research Award for Local History; and the auspice organisation, the Art Deco and Modernism Society. The authors would like to acknowledge those involved in the Brisbane Art Deco project, including: mentors, contributing authors, photographers, designers and the local community for their support and research assistance. The project was recognised in the 2015 National Trust Queensland Heritage Awards with a Silver Award for demonstrating excellence in the interpretation and promotion of Queensland’s history and cultural heritage.
Wilson, K. and Desha, C. (2016), "Engaging in design activism and communicating cultural significance through contemporary heritage storytelling: A case study in Brisbane, Australia", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 271-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-10-2015-0039Download as .RIS
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