Transformations and Change – How heritage contributes to change at social, political and economic and environmental level


text by Rosa Cisneros, C-DARE Coventry University.

Dr Amalia Sabiescu  is researcher at Loughborough University London and is teaching a module for students of an MA in Media and Creative Industries. The module is titled ‘Heritage industries in the digital age’ and is taught in presence, but often invites guest lectures to offer interventions online.  For the Module, Sabiescu invited Coventry University’s artist-researcher Cisneros to discuss tangible and intangible heritage in relation to communities and identities. The session explored the role of heritage as an instrument for change and development, with a particular focus on empowerment, voice and cultural affirmation in marginalised communities.

image from Cisneros’ presentation

Cisneros discussed several projects in relation to digital technologies, inclusive practices and Roma heritage. The title of the talk “Roma heritage, activism and change” briefly touched on contemporary developments in relation to digital media and the potential that platforms and tools offer in relation  to social transformation.  Case studies such as The Missing Voices Project, the Urban Villages: Digital Scrapbooks project and  LIFESTRINGS screendance film were all shared. A key aspect of the lecture was the EU-Funded project WEAVE where the application of sociocultural impact, capacity building, and the communicative methodological approach underpinning the project’s LabDays was expanded on. Europeana as a platform, its content, metadata aggregation processes and storytelling were also expanded on in relation to the Roma community.

EU-Funded WEAVE project and Europeana slide

Sabiescu shared the following readings with the students ahead of time and they were encouraged to explore the connections between dance, tourism and cultural policy: 

  • CISNEROS, R. (2022). Urban villages: The Roma’s digital scrapbooks—changing narratives one image at a time. Creative Activism Research, Pedagogy and Practice, 307.
  • Crawley, M-L., Whatley, S. & Cisneros, R. K. (2020), Towards hybridity: dance, tourism and cultural heritage In: Performance Research. 25, 4, p. 125-132.
  • Cisneros, R., “Roma Heroes, Superpowers, and Human Agency: Exploring Taboo Topics in Independent Theater Hungary’s Festivals” in Howlround Creative Commons Roma Retrospective 21 – Read here 

Lastly, the students were encouraged to engage with the various projects, resources, materials and films. The session concluded with a discussion and invitation to explore generative projects that plunge into tensions current within the Cultural Heritage sector.


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