Professor Siân Jones.
Professor Siân Jones.

Siân Jones, Ph.D. is Professor of Environmental History and Heritage University of Stirling, UK.

An archaeologist by training, her research is interdisciplinary. She has conducted extensive research on heritage management and conservation, with specific interests in social significance, authenticity and conservation practice. Her books include The Archaeology of Ethnicity: Constructing identities in past and present (Routledge 1997), Early Medieval Sculpture and the Production of Meaning Value and Place (Historic Scotland 2004), and a special edition of International Journal of Historic Archaeology, focusing on memory (2012).


' "Dynamic and ever-changing": shifting relations in the politics and practice of heritage in Scotland' 

In March 2014 the Scottish Government published Our Place in Time - The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland. In it the historic environment is defined as ‘the cultural heritage of places’, combining tangible and intangible elements (‘stories, traditions and concepts’). There is also a strong emphasis on its ‘dynamic and ever-changing’ nature, alongside statements about the importance of inclusiveness, diversity, social value, and benefit. In this paper, I will argue that the Strategy offers a progressive vision, but that in practice a traditional, static concept of heritage linked to the idea of the nation often prevails. Drawing on case studies from across Scotland, I will discuss how people at the geographic, cultural and/or political margins contest authorised heritage practices and the discourses associated with them; highlighting the dissonant and fluid nature of heritage in uncomfortable ways. I will conclude by arguing that movement forms a rich seam running through people’s relationship to heritage places, as they grapple with the kinds of displacement and dislocation that characterise the modern world. Until this social significance is explicitly acknowledged and accommodated within heritage management and conservation, the dynamic and diverse nature of heritage will remain elusive.