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Djabarouti, J., 2020.

Dynamic interpretations of preservation: the case (encasement) of the Hill House

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:Cultures of Authenticity 2020
Venue:Centre for Research in Communications and Culture, Loughborough
Dates:5/11/2020 - 5/11/2020

Authenticity and memorialisation are significant factors when interpreting and conserving built heritage. The historic building as memorial is rooted in notions of the collective, representing shared human practices of remembering. A preservationist imperative therefore exists, with these buildings needing to withstand the eroding effects of the environment in order to fulfil their intergenerational memorial duty. Equally, the authenticity of these buildings has a preservationist position, with their interpretation as 'authentic antiques' encouraging the extreme approach of preservation by encasement - utilised at monuments (Suenos Stone), ruins (Hamar Cathedral), and buildings (the Hill House). Set within the comparatively recent explosion of intangible cultural heritage literature, a theoretical heritage landscape of contrast is evident: the static preservation of heritage monuments, or the dynamic recreation of heritage communities. Consequently, preservation is often cast into doubt as an approach that only reinforces an authorized heritage discourse. Using the case of the Hill House Box, Scotland, this paper demonstrates how a preservationist approach conversely has the capacity to engage contemporary communities and encourage dynamic conceptions of existing built heritage assets - what could paradoxically be defined as a dynamic preservationist approach. The paper concludes by demonstrating how this dynamic preservation can actively force new contemporary interventions that may become memorials of the future; as well as encourage new contemporary practices through the re-animation of the built heritage experience. Lastly, this preservation paradox questions the usefulness of conservation classifications within the contemporary heritage sphere, particularly as heritage becomes increasingly concerned with multiplicity over one true narrative or approach.