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Cross-cultural heritage. Understanding cultural heritage in a globalized world

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ATCK-HER (Cross-cultural heritage. Understanding cultural heritage in a globalized world)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-08-31

My research project explored how people with a cross-cultural childhood and a multicultural identity as adults (known as adult Third Culture Kids, or TCKs) develop a distinctive way of using traditional forms of cultural heritage. Adult Third Culture Kids are a particular type of migrant defined by high international mobility during childhood. As children they grow up experiencing multiple processes of social encounters, cultural integration or assimilation, and departure. As adults, they embody multicultural identity and lack a sense of belonging to any specific culture. Consequently they are not well described by traditional discourses of cultural heritage, particularly those that promote both notions of heritage as a form of common national inheritance, and values contoured by state borders. Instead, they understand common forms of national and local heritages as a source of embodied cultural capital, useful while crisscrossing countries. Researchers in social psychology have demonstrated that adult TCKs either have a multicultural identity or multiple cultural identities, and that in any of both cases there are no signs of a confused cultural identity. The question thus guiding my research is how these cultural identities are represented, or better say, feel represented, by current discourses and narratives of cultural heritage, or thereof/alternatively, how places and materialities are used by this particular heritage community on the move as collective memory landmark.

For society this project has been important to show that contemporary models of migration are more diverse than the traditional pull-and-push factors. People not only move from other reasons than necessity, and move also to multiple destinations, and back and forward. This is creating a different citizen’s cultural profile, which goes beyond the traditional bi-cultural paradigm. This is specially evidence, for example, in Europe where workers move depending of quality and family interests, and for Erasmus students finally establishing themselves in third countries and creating mixed families.

The overall objective have been those of understanding how this multiple migration is affecting our perceptions on the uses and meanings of cultural heritage beyond also the national-state narratives, and creating a embedded multicultural identities which increasing will characterize the citizen of the future.
All MSCA-IF (CAR panel) my project included three aims: first, to develop a research project; second, to improve the quality and the international academic profile of the researcher, and finally, to outreach the research results to all kind of audiences. Accordingly, in terms of research I first reviewed most relevant academic literature on the sociology of globalization, the geography of migration, migration studies, anthropology of mobility, the mobilites turn, sociology of cosmopolitanism, multiculcultural studies, social psychology, international education, contemporary heritage theory, the politics of heritage, and migration and heritage studies. After, I designed the research methodology, in this case, an e-survey on heritage and TCKs (55 questions; 149 participants), and the subsequent in-depth interviews. Then, I analysed the result obtained, and framed them in relation to critical heritage studies, the sociology of globalisation, migration studies, and the mobilities turn. Finally, I prepared all these results for peer-reviewed publications, conference’s papers, guest lecturing, academic teaching, and popular outreaching (see below section on Outreaching activities)

In terms of training and transferable skills (that is, to enhance researcher’s academic skills and comptences), I enroled the course “Higher Education Pedagogic” (7,5 credits), at Linneaus University (a required course for academics to teach at Swedish universities). I also submitted research projects: on migration and cultural entrepreneurship in Sweden (2016 Kamprad Family Foundation), on cultural heritage, elderly care mobility and media technology (Swedish Research Council 2017), and on contemporary heritage, airports and e-ethnography (2017). Furthermore, I develop several interdisciplinary initiatives between my MSCA project and Department of Media Technology, and the department of Design (LNU). With the former to develop project proposals, papers at conferences, and publications on the TCK, social media, and media technology. With the later to both develop the interfaculty research group “Transdisciplinary and sustainability”, and to co-develop an interdisciplinary course program on migration, cultural heritage and homeness. This collaboration has resulted in several course’s modules teaching (2017-2018). And finally, I also developed administrative work at LNU, like being the delegate and member of the Organizing Committee of Bridging Ages Annual conference 2016 “Let's do it! Social cohesion through applied heritage and the Time Travel method”, (13-16 September) and representing the department of archaeology at the Lnu’s integrationsnätverket samverkan, or

In terms of outreach activities, I have published 7 papers (3 published, 3 accepted, 1 submitted), and I signed a contract for publishing and edited book on migration and heritage in Europe (2018; together with A. Catalani). I have also chaired sessions and presented papers in several national and international conferences, like Association of Critical Heritage Studies 2016 Conference, 2016 Families in Global Transition conference (FIGT16NL), European Association of Archaeologist (2017), Norrköping University (2017), Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (2017), and Linnaeus University (2017). I have also been invited as guest lecture in several universities, like University College Dublin, University of Göteborg, Humboldt University, University of Barcelona, and Linnaeus University.
This project has both evidenced the existence a new migration phenomenon, that is of the Third Culture Kids as a consequence of today’s forces of globalization, and explained how a multicultural identity results from this new scenario. The results show that adult TCKs distinguished between material culture denoting movement and that denoting multiculturalism. The former tend to recall spaces and materialities of mobility (e.g. means of transportation, airports, passports, embassies, migration offices, etc) as representations of the experience of in-betweeness. The latter is usually represented through conventional forms of intangible heritage. This obviously has reframe the margins, the notions and the uses of cultural heritage today.

I have discussed all the results of my research in the context to multiculturalism, sense of place, sense of belonging, and homeness among people on the move, which provide a strong multidisciplinary approach to heritage.

The project has open new research topics, that I will explore in the future:
o exploring e-participative forms of defining cultural heritage (eg., airports);
o exploring the notion of EU Faro Convention’s cultural heritage communities in the context of multiple migration;
o the International Baccalaureate curricula and the discourses of (multi)cultural heritage;
o cosmopolitan memory and the heritage of human rights.