WA’s State Cultural Heritage Policy

Wow. I’ve been away from this blog for a month. I’m teaching at UWA this semester and it seems to have taken over my life. Normal programming should resume shortly.

In the meantime, I’ve just become aware that the WA State Government has released its first ever State Cultural Heritage Policy. NSW has had one since 1996. Qld released a 10-year strategic plan in 2009 (no doubt after years of work).

The most exciting thing about this tiny document (at just 4 pages, 3 of which are pictures) is that the words intangible heritage appear. And, this is actually pretty exciting. I’m pleased to see that both the Heritage Council and the National Trust (WA) worked on this document and will continue to work together on ‘Action Plans to underpin this policy’. I know that NTWA has been heavily involved in the collection and interpretation of intangible heritage in the last few years. Why am I so excited about intangible heritage? Because that is the place where most women’s heritage is found.

My thesis, written last year, discussed the representation and inclusion of women’s sites in the Register. In it I argued that because of the ways the database is structured, the practices of collection, catalouging and sorting heritage and a focus on ‘place’ have led to a serious underrepresentation of women in the Register. This is further compounded by the ways history is researched for the Register. If you’re interested you can read the entire document here (make a cup of tea before you start!).

The Register of Historic Places is also being reviewed and public consultation is open until June 10. You can read the consultation paper here or complete two online surveys here and here. I’ll be sending in my written submission (in the form of my thesis) regarding these issues.

Oh and in other news, the National Trust (WA) has updated its website – now nice and shiny! Hooray!

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