How does the cultural environment influence and impact on the design of strategies for heritage sites in different parts of the world?

“There is no agreed-upon definition of strategy that describes the field and limits its boundaries. One common contemporary definition [in Western thought] describes it as being about maintaining a balance between ends, ways, and means; about identifying objectives; and about the resources and methods available for meeting such objectives.”
Lawrence Freedman

Strategic thinking today is dominated by the Western liberal script. The study program World Heritage Studies with its broad range of students from different cultural and regional backgrounds presents a unique opportunity to examine the influence of different cultures on strategic thinking and practice especially in heritage management. Central questions are:

  • How do other cultures interpret, structure and practice “strategies” or policies?
  • Does strategic thinking in different parts of the world follow the same, similar, or different lines as in Western thought?
  • How do other cultures find a balance between “ends, ways, and means”, how do they set priorities?
  • What do the differences or similarities in strategic practice tell us, about the underlying values and forces in different cultures?

How do the states of Brandenburg and Saxony develop their particular cultural strategy for the transformation of the Lausitz after the end of the coal-based power generation 2038?

The Lausitz is the second largest German brown coal (lignite) regions and faces a far-reaching structural change when Germany stops the coal-based power generation 2038. Considering the identity-establishing power of culture and the particular creativity in the Lausitz, arts and culture have to play an important role in this transformation process. There are two major question in this respect:

What is the contribution of arts and culture to development and promotion of the Lausitz in terms of quality of life and the rootedness of its inhabitants in the region?

How can artists and other creatives make the Lausitz their “Heimat” as their centre of activities and production? How can they, at the same time, become an integral part of the overall economic development with their particular contributions to the regional, national and international arts and culture scene?

The states of Brandenburg and Saxony are preparing an own cultural development plan for the Lausitz. The chair will be accompanying this strategy development and be critically analysing this process and its different proposals.

How does the self-presentation and self-marketing of tangible cultural heritage affect our historical understanding and historiography?

Case study – Berlin’s architectural heritage and changes in historiography:
For many tourists Berlin’s attraction lies in its recent history. Over the last 150 years the town has seen enormous political, economic and cultural upheavals. Berliners have lived in five different political systems – Empire, Weimar Republic, Third Reich, German Democratic Republic and Federal Republic. All these have left major traces in and around the city. Visitors to Berlin and Brandenburg enjoy going to see the original sites and following the narratives of the historic events. Many of the historic sites have lost their original purpose and had to find new ones – very often as a memorial to particular events or a certain period in time. Over the years, the presentation and interpretation of Germany and its history in these sites had to adapt, sometimes even several times. Different views on history have to be considered as much as changing attitudes and expectations of audiences. In many cases, conservation decisions were affected. This development will continue. Presently the debate about Germany’s colonial past leads to a reassessment of historiography.

What differences are there in the management of tangible and intangible heritage?

Intangible Heritage – Tradition, Change and Modernization – Oberammergau Passion Play

The Oberammergau Passion Play is registered on the German Tentative List for Intangible World Heritage. The development of the Oberammergau Passion Play in the last 100 years serves as an perfect object to research questions central to intangible heritage and its management

  • The question of authenticity of intangible heritage in general and of the passion play in particular;
  • The dialogue between tradition and modernity, contemporary adaptation of traditional practices and expressions, obligation to change vs. limits of acceptable change;
  • Forms of community participation in the transmission of intangible heritage (cultural production and tourism management);
  • Intangible heritage as tourism experience;
  • Impacts of tourism on the local community and the passion play;
  • The link between economic benefit and cultural change;
  • Marketing as approach to communicate cultural significance and to improve visitor experiences, education and entertainment.