You will need to read the instructions carefully and start your research early.
Part 1 – All students: This first part of this assignment is an analysis of the stakeholders in a real cultural heritage use/management issue that is currently (since Jan 2016) generating conflict and has appeared in the media. You will provide a brief outline of the issue and then a table identifying the stakeholders (see below). NOTE: Please do not choose a purely natural heritage management issue – this unit primarily deals with physical/ archaeological heritage. Please see notes below if you choose a task you have a professional interest in.
Part 2 – Choose an option: The second part of the assignment can be completed in one of two ways (summarized here, but read detail below). You will need to include in the title of your essay ‘Essay Option’ or ‘Land Court Option’:
Essay Option - Using your case study, follow it with a broader analysis of this type of situation or conflict, drawing on relevant literature. You could use your case study to explore issues, such as how heritage significance is constructed (such as changes over time), differing concepts of significance and value (for instance cross-cultural concepts, or conflicting social agendas), the political/economic/social basis for how heritage is identified and managed (who wants to do what, for what ends), the legal basis for heritage protections, how management (physical conservation, interpretation) of heritage is conducted and different, etc. Draw in your case study as required.
Land Court Option - Take the case study and imagine that it is appearing in the Littlecity Land and Environment Court. You will be appearing as an expert representing one of the groups in the conflict (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the side you’d ‘naturally’ go for), and your task is to write up the script of your presentation. You will be someone who is well-informed about the topic as a whole, can calmly argue against others’ views, and provide convincing evidence for their own arguments, as well as point to areas of agreement between different parties. This will also involve additional research on the situation you are considering and on relevant contexts within heritage literature as required to make your ‘case’, rather than a purely emotive or ad hominem (ie villifying an individual or group) argument.
In past years members of the class have found this a very useful exercise in understanding how compartmentalized, fragmented and oppositional stakeholder perceptions of heritage issues can be.
Stakeholder Analysis (all students)
You are required to identify a real cultural heritage use/management issue that is currently generating conflict and provide an outline of it in written and table form. The necessary prerequisites for a suitable topic are the following:
a) Currency: It must be current and topical. The issue must have featured as a story and attracted headlines in the media (newspaper, radio, television) since 1 January 2016. The item must be in the popular media (or the on-line version of the same), rather than primarily on an individual’s, group’s or company’s website or blog site, although such information sources may provide valuable supplementary information and ‘evidence’.
b) Cultural heritage use/management issue: it must be a cultural heritage issue relevant to the unit. Issues will usually be a land use issue, such as a development proposal or a moveable heritage management issue, such as artefact curation. It may be in Australia, or, (if you check with me first) outside Australia. It may include tangible or intangible heritage, historic or Indigenous heritage. Although it may include a natural heritage component the conflict should be primarily about the cultural heritage issues.
You are advised to choose an issue that is of a local scale – not a major national issue (e.g. mining effects on Aboriginal cultural heritage) because this will be too large an issue to deal with adequately in the time available. However, focusing on part of a national issue, for example, the heritage conservation consequences of a particular local activity (e.g. is a sand mine a threat to Aboriginal sites in northwest Victoria?) is acceptable. Generally, for land use issues, the best guide is whether it is possible to indicate the location of the problem on a local map.
c) Conflict: there must be a conflict about the issue, there must be at least 2 “sides” and several groups with opposing or contrary ideas and opinions about the issue (please choose a conflict with enough “substance” to support worthwhile research, please do not choose a conflict that is minor in the sense that not many people know about it or are involved in it, for example the only parties involved are a developer and the council). You will be preparing a hypothetical argument for presentation to a legal court, so the issue should lend itself to being researched for this, ie. you should be able to research the arguments and evidence of the parties (for a general introduction to what adversaries do in court see relevant section.
Frankel (1991, 109-116) argues that the earth rings near Sunbury, north of Melbourne are associated with Aboriginal initiation ceremonies (similar to bora grounds in NSW). This argument is based on excavated evidence and on ethnographic analogies with other parts of Australia. However, suburban development near Sunbury is planned which will destroy the earth rings. The development proposed is a housing estate. When the developers’ plans are not approved by the Victorian Archaeological survey, they take their case to the Planning Appeals Tribunal, claiming that the earth rings are not Aboriginal in origin, and that, even if they were, they are not of value. Legal advice is sought to argue the case and employ expert witnesses. Various interest groups are represented at the hearing:
- Archaeologists who believe in preserving the rings
- Archaeologists employed by the developer
- The Victorian Archaeological Survey
- Sunbury Aboriginal community
- Planners employed by the Sunbury Local council
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Members of the Parliamentary opposition
- The developers
- Residents of Sunbury