IHBC Yearbook 2021

32 Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 engineering, and maritime exploration, while mostly skipping over any links to the Dutch East India Company (VOC),8 which would mean better understanding their connections to colonisation and slavery. Also here, we can ask who is this for, who is centred? What, and who, is being cared for, by caring for this heritage in this way? Erasure of stories can happen, however much we care. The ‘Jewish district’ of Budapest for example, saw acute gentrification and touristification as a result of the success of ‘ruin bars’ like Szimpla Kert (Simple Garden). 9 These bars, which started to use dilapidated ‘ruins’ in the Jewish district for informal alternative, non-conformist, non-consumerist underground culture, became incredibly successful. Their ‘success’ helps maintain the physical heritage of the area and creates a stronger local night-time economy. And although Szimpla reinvests its profits in urban activism and anti-gentrification initiatives, it is not enough to counter the displacement of residents, and the rapidly changing local identity. There is also significant Jewish tourism in the district, and this easily leads to a focus on a ‘tourism’ story, whereas there is not just one story, layer, or community, and the question is how to make sure multiple voices and stories are told and heard. This is also important in terms of visual presence, including practices, events, clothing, cuisine, and gathering, and with it the restaurants, cultural institutions and commemorative spaces in the district. As in that room in Stirling, looking at the presentation about the Glasgow School of Art, there is no doubt in my mind that the people involved in all these OpenHeritage cases care. I would even say that many of these projects would be impossible without people who care. But that doesn’t mean we should not question who they (we) care for, and who feels cared for by them (us), and what the intended and unintended results of this care work are. What I wanted to show is that using the term care instead of conservation can help us see the importance of people-centred work, but also put it in a different light. The term draws attention to the fact that none of these restoration or conservation projects is about the buildings only. They are about relationships, whether these are between people, between people and heritage, and between people through heritage. In other words: caring for places shouldn’t be separate from caring for people, neither in the way we do projects, nor in the funding or policies. And indeed, (re)establishing and facilitating the necessary networks, trust, mutually supportive communities, and spaces is not easy, especially after long periods of neglect. The other point is that neither the work undertaken in the name of care nor that in the name of conservation, is inherently good. How you care, and who and what you care for is selective. Which people are centred in a people centred approach, who gains, and who stands to lose if care is withdrawn or imposed? Proposing this different lens, shows how conservation includes and excludes – it asks us to think about how we select who we care, who we conserve, for, and also who not, in the buildings and the stories we focus on. I hope that thinking about conservation as care can broaden our view, and shift our perspective, and enrich the way we ‘do’ conservation – as a practice of care for one another and our environment. 1 https://openheritage.eu/high-streetsunderland-great-britain/ and https://historicengland.org.uk/ services-skills/heritage-action-zones/ sunderland/ 2 https://openheritage.eu/praga-districtwarsaw-poland/ 3 https://openheritage.eu/2018/11/22/ lviv-jam-factory/ 4 http://jamfactory.tilda.ws/ 5 https://openheritage.eu/timeline/ living-memory-exhibition/ 6 https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/ rebelwomen/ 7 https://openheritage.eu/2018/11/22/ the-navy-yard-amsterdam/ 8 https://dutchreview.com/culture/ history/voc-dutch-east-india-companyexplained/ 9 https://openheritage.eu/2018/11/22/ jewish-quarter-budapest/ Loes Veldpaus is a researcher at the School of Architecture Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. She was educated an architect in the Netherlands (TU Eindhoven) and now undertakes social research in the context of heritage, urban governance, and adaptive re-use. Her current work focusses on heritage planning and policy, and the political nature of heritage, and what people think heritage is and does. Rebel Girls workshop Heritage Open Days 2019, 170 High Street West Sunderland, in the background the Rebel Women of Sunderland exhibition