Heritage Education as an Effective Approach to Enhance Community Engagement: A Model for Classifying the Level of Engagement.

HERITAGE 2022 - International Conference on Vernacular Heritage: Culture, People and Sustainability (2022)
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Seeking consensuses from the public is difficult, this also applies to the heritage sector, particularly in heritage preservation. ‘What, why and how to preserve?’ are the core of debates in the field and the differ- ences between points of views are basically due to the difference in valuation. In order to know everyone’s needs, views and expectations better and for sustainability, involving the community for preservation be- comes fundamental. Education, an experience which does not only provide opportunities for enlightenments and widening horizons, but also introduce various concepts in terms of moral, ethical and social through systematic instructions. Having such great impact to community, promoting heritage education can be an effective approach awakening public consciousness on heritage preservation, and thus, enhancing people’s responsibility towards heritage, for both tangible and intangible, and developing a sustainable future for heritage through public engagement. However, it is necessary to understand the structure or the level of engagement prior setting the goal for heritage education. A model for classifying the level of engagement from performance is proposed for clarification and appraisal. This model is part of the research project of Community Engagement with Heritage in Macau which has an intention to examine its level of community engagement and give suggestions. This essay will first discuss community engagement, then classify the levels of engagement with models and lastly argue heritage education can elevate the level of community engagement which ultimately achieves the aim of heritage preservation.

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Teng Wai Lao
University of Macau


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