Hand in Hand

Homelessness, heritage and collaborative approaches to the material past

Authored by: Rachael Kiddey

The Routledge Companion to Contemporary Anthropology

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415583954
eBook ISBN: 9781315743950
Adobe ISBN: 9781317590675


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‘This whole project has given me positivity, focus + hope’, the message read. Handwritten, in black marker pen, the message formed part of a montage in which Jane (a homeless colleague) had annotated photographs and maps, excited to be co-curating an interactive public heritage exhibition. The words ‘positivity’, ‘focus’ and ‘hope’ are not often associated with homelessness but this is what Jane felt she had gained from taking part in the Homeless Heritage project. The project was originally conceived of over the spring of 2009. Back then, I worked for a small, independent community arts group called the Peoples’ Republic of Stokes Croft (P.R.S.C.). Stokes Croft is a small urban neighbourhood in central Bristol (United Kingdom) which was, at that time, a deprived and much neglected area of the city. The P.R.S.C. group formed in part in reaction to an aggressive onslaught of rapid planning decisions which were felt to threaten the independent, if shabby, character of ‘The Croft’. Part of my job with the P.R.S.C. was to research the architectural and cultural history of the area and use existing heritage protection legislation to speak up at planning meetings in favour of planning decisions that had conservation and reuse, rather than demolition and replacement, at their heart.

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