Participatory Practices in Arts and Heritage

MACCH (Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage of Maastricht University) will hold its annual conference on 17 March in the Van Eyck and on 18 March at the Bonnefanten Museum. Theme of the conferencte this year is Participatory Practices in Arts and Heritage.


In recent decades, ‘participation’ and related notions such as ‘community engagement’ and ‘co-creation’ have become increasingly commonplace in the vocabulary of policy makers, politicians, academics and practitioners. Building on Arnstein’s seminal ladder of participation (1969) continued efforts have been undertaken to create new frameworks for building participation in arts and heritage worlds – online and offline. Museum policies and practices tend to prioritise visitor engagement over the traditional focus on collecting and preservation (cf. Simon 2010, McSweeney and Kavanagh 2016). Similarly, heritage worlds see an upsurge in participatory governance models favouring the expertise of local communities rather than that of trained professionals (cf. Waterton and Watson 2013, Schofield 2015). Yet, although new forms of audience and community engagement as well as models for ‘co-creation’ are flourishing, the development of ethical frameworks, the jurisdiction concerning intellectual property rights, and theoretical reflection and critical assessment are lagging behind.

This conference aims to fill this gap by offering a critical space to scrutinize participatory practices and their economic and legal frameworks. How can art and heritage worlds learn from participatory practices and reflection in other domains? What are good practices for public participation? What are the pitfalls and limitations of participatory development? How can we understand and respond to the seductive claims of participation as an instrument for social innovation and related – often naïve – assumptions of radical shifts in power relations? (Cooke and Kothari 2001)

Registration and programme: https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/events/participatory-practices-arts-and-heritage-0 




Van Eyck Academie

I hereby subscribe to the Van Eyck newsletter