The heritage, arts and culture communities in northwest B.C. will soon have an opportunity to share experiences and ideas that will help inform provincial heritage policy.
Heritage BC — a provincially funded non-profit that supports heritage awareness and conservation across B.C. — is hosting a series of roundtable consultations where the subject of B.C.’s heritage in the context of culture and community will be explored.
Consultations will take place in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Haida Gwaii (Skidegate and Massett) at the end of September, and are open to professionals working and volunteering in museums, and archives as well as archaeologists, local planners, elected officials, cultural workers as well as the general public.
Paul Gravett, the executive director of Heritage BC, said the goal of the consultations is to allow local people within their own community to have a role in defining what heritage is as well as what its impact is on the local economy and environment.
“In profound and subtle ways, heritage has shaped B.C.’s communities to what we see today,” he said in a press release. “The provincial roundtables will help to shape strategic development and program delivery for years to come, ensuring heritage remains relevant, contributing to the future vitality of communities.”
The communities will fill out a feedback report following each consultation session. Gravett said these reports will be compiled into a single document, which Heritage BC will then take to the province.
“What I hope is that the province will learn how people are managing and view heritage in their lives, and that it will help them to understand what is needed going forward in these communities,” he said.
The province engaged in a similar process in 2008, but Gravett said the perception of heritage has changed significantly in that time. For example, he cited how First Nations communities have taken greater ownership over their own culture.
“First Nations have a much stronger voice in heritage, they’re recognizing their heritage more,” he said. “Also, the general public is talking a lot more about First Nations.”
Heritage BC will visit Terrace on Sept. 24, Prince Rupert on Sept. 25, Skidegate on Sept. 27 and Massett on Sept. 28.