B3: Emotions in Heritage


In their research project ‘Emotion networks and emotion networking’ Hester Dibbits (Reinwardt Academy and  Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Marlous Willemsen (Reinwardt Academy and Imagine IC) are working together with lots of participants with different (scientific) backgrounds. During the research they focus on capricious constellations of people who all have feelings about a (prospective) heritage item, though not all similar feelings. 

They are trying to get answers on the following questions:

  1. Position shifts: Does the exercise bring about feelings of empathy  or mutual understanding? Do participants change position in relation to the object and each other? 
  2. Heritage wisdom: Do participants become “heritage wise”? 
  3. Visualisations: How do we visualize emotions and how does this facilitate the interaction? 
  4. Making religious heritage: How do we “make” religious heritage through emotion networking? What is religious heritage?
  5. Emotions: What are “emotions”? Socialized feelings

Piet van der Ploeg (University of Groningen) emphasizes the importance of involving socio-psychological and pedagogical notions in this kind of research and gives the advice to cut the research in pieces, so different scholars can contribute to finding answers. 

Goal of the research is ‘Wisdom in heritage’, which means the competence which enables people to relate in a critical way to heritage, to discuss it, being aware of the social dynamics around heritage, and one’s own and other positions in the network. “Make students ‘heritage wise”, says Hester Dibbits. “We would like to encourage a dialogue about the process of heritage making and position shifts in the network, about social interaction and cultural dynamics.”

More information:

H. Dibbits and M. Willemsen (2014) ‘Stills of Our Liquid Times’, in: S. Elpers and A. Palm (eds.) Die Musealisierung der Gegenwart, Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 153-174. 

J. Rana, M. Willemsen and H. Dibbits (2017),“Moved by the tears of others. Emotion networking in the heritage sphere”, in: International Journal of Heritage Studies

See also session A4