Territories of discourse: Salford’s communities in a changing landscape

Catalani, Anna and Panas, Pam (2014) Territories of discourse: Salford’s communities in a changing landscape. In: REHAB 2015 : an International Conference on Preservation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings and Structures, 22-24 July 2015, Porto.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


The relationship of history and memory is always rather problematic. This is due primarily to the dissonance that may exist between an approved authoritative historic discourse and a more social, emotional and collective one. The contemporary meanings of (and the discourses attached to) historical sites and buildings are often depending on the new and different uses they have for their local communities, rather than by their acknowledged historical value.

This paper will look at how iconic historical sites and buildings can be re-valued, rehabilitated and re-used for the educational and social benefits of local communities and how much the local communities effectively drive these processes of rehabilitation and reuse. Specifically we will be focusing on a set of historical sites and building in Salford, United Kingdom, that is to say: Ordsall Hall (a Tudor manor house, currently transformed into a museum); the Weaste Cemetery (Salford’s first municipal cemetery, dating back to the 19th century and nowadays important not only for its commemorative function but also for being a historical and ecological resource) and the Salford Lads Club (a recreational club of the early 20th century, which still is at the centre of the social and sporting life of its local community). These are key, historic sites of the Salford area: although they all share a strong history/memory connection, they are very much different in the ways their history is transmitted, celebrated, attended or in some cases, even ignored by the local community.

Throughout this paper we will address the following questions: what is the social meaning of the aforementioned iconic heritage sites and buildings? To what extent they have been re-valued and re-habilitated as ‘historic sites’ by their local community? And how much of their historical meaning is truly valued and preserved by locals, in comparison to their social one? We will argue that these historical sites and buildings are not (primarily) acknowledged by their local community for their historical discourse: they are rather valued for their contemporary social and cultural relevance, which almost narrows the gap between the past and the present and allows their creative re-use and rehabilitation, through a domestication of the past.

Keywords:Heritage, Identity, Local communities
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V320 Social History
L Social studies > L900 Others in Social studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:17842
Deposited On:10 Jul 2015 09:13

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