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Djabarouti, J., 2022.

Negotiating the spirit of place: towards a performative authenticity of historic buildings

Output Type:Chapter in a book
Publication:Cultures of Authenticity
Brief Description/Editor(s):Hermanová, M., Skey, M., Thurnell-Read, T.
Publisher:Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley
Pagination:pp. 29-42
Number of Works:23

This chapter explores the utility of an existentialist understanding of authenticity for the historic built environment. Historic building conservation and adaptation has long been synonymous with objective authenticity, which is falling increasingly out of step with both the contemporary understanding of heritage as an intangible social process, and the redefinition of building conservation as the management of change. Drawing on the existentialist idea of authenticity as a dynamic process of intra- and inter-personal negotiations, this theoretical contribution works towards a revised framework that suggests focus should be placed on how built heritage practitioners can perform authentically, rather than measure authenticity. The concept of 'performative authenticity' for historic buildings - underpinned by 'participation', 'locus' and 'action' - is outlined as an approach that can foster a more relevant and applicable concept of authenticity for contemporary building conservation and adaptation practices.