Prof. Caitlin De Silvey (UK) – Cultural Geographer (University of Exeter)

How might a focus on material process and persistence, rather than preservation and permanence, reorient heritage practice? What new relationships with the past (and the future) emerge from intentional accommodation of transience and decay? When change is inevitable, can we move past discussion of loss and ‘letting go’ to think instead about metamorphosis and ‘letting be’? In her 2017 book ‘Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving’, Caitlin DeSilvey explores these questions, and others. In this talk she revisits one of the book’s key sites, Orford Ness/Suffolk, to share ongoing research carried out as part of the Heritage Futures research project. Her discussion of archaeological and creative practice in this dynamic landscape highlights arts of noticing and listening which suggest the contours of a reconfigured, post-preservation heritage sensibility.