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Djabarouti, J., 2022.

Translating Change: A Continuity of Craft Heritage at Coventry Cathedral, UK

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Journal of Heritage Management
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Volume/Issue:7 (2)
Pagination:pp. 167-185

Change is historically seen as incompatible with built heritage. Paradoxically, change can charge heritage with enough cultural activity to facilitate its ongoing valorization. Change may therefore be better understood as a collection of recreations by contemporary societies, like how UNESCO portrays intangible heritage. However, to understand built heritage in this way, interpretative approaches must reconceptualize physical sites as constantly evolving in response to their ever-changing sociocultural context. Expanding on the history of linguistic analogies for architectural interpretation, this article explores 'translation' as an analogy that can illuminate constantly recreated traditions at built heritage sites. Using the Grade 1 listed Coventry Cathedral, UK, the craft traditions associated with the site are used as a vehicle to reconceptualize built heritage as constantly recreated in relation to temporal traditions (or ICH), which both perpetuate and transform the physical building across time. The article concludes by suggesting physical changes made to the site have simultaneously sustained and changed its craft traditions. Through constant recreation or translation, the site has maintained a commitment to its history whilst continually responding to present-day social needs. This not only ensures relevance to contemporary society but also creates a rich foundation for translation of its heritage into the future.