Achieving heritage preservation in the era of projectification : A study on Interreg cross-border projects
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The aim of this thesis is to explore, how projects as short-term policy instruments address cultural heritage preservation using Interreg cross-border projects as an example. Projects have become a prevalent form of public policy implementation in current societies. This phenomenon been referred to as “projectification.” The EU is considered to be among the drivers of the project society, notably due to its funding programmes, such as the cohesion policy. The latter represents an important source of funding for the heritage sector, as traditional government funding has diminished. While the impact of projectification has been studied in the field of cultural policy, research has barely touched upon heritage. The thesis builds on the concept of institutionalised heritage and literature on projectification. Projects are considered as an expression of today’s heritage governance. Interreg, a funding programme under the cohesion policy, was chosen as an example through which to study heritage preservation in the context of projectification. To this end, four projects from two Interreg programmes were sampled. Semi-structured interviews with the project managers were conducted. The data was complemented with the programme documents, as they provide an important framework within which the projects operate. The data was analysed using qualitative content analysis. The analysis showed that both programmes and projects can reinforce or dissolve existing power discourses on heritage preservation. Although heritage is given many roles, most prominently it is presented as a resource for tourism. Actions carried out during the project, are considered to support heritage preservation in two ways; by concretely preserving heritage and by raising awareness. Projects are considered important for heritage preservation notably for the funding they provide. Although there is optimism on the durability of the project results, conceptualised through actors and actions, the analysis indicates fragmentation. As such, the projects contribute to the most recent policy documents, which recognise heritage’s broader value on society. Power-structures built in the “project” hamper some of the de-authorisation efforts that projects and programmes can otherwise contribute to. Projects can secure a certain maintenance and recording work, but they mainly address the future of heritage preservation through a hope of popularity and future projects. Therefore, while the long term objective of heritage preservation is an underlying factor, the preservation in the projects is done in and by the present. ...
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