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Diverse Spaces

Identity, Heritage and Community in Canadian Public Culture

Editor(s): Susan L.T. Ashley

Book Description

Diverse Spaces: Identity, Heritage and Community in Canadian Public Culture explores the presentation and experience of diversity and belonging in public cultural spaces in Canada. An interdisciplinary group of scholars interrogate how ‘Canadian-ness’ is represented, disputed, negotiated and legitimized within spaces, media and institutions. The volume begins with contributions that draw attention to contested and exclusionary places within official public culture, and then offers alternative narratives that assert voice and remap public spaces. Contributors take a close look at actually-occurring engagements with culture, heritage and community, and the erasures, conflicts, compromises, failures and successes that have emerged.

Special attention is paid to ‘multiculturalism’ as a central concept in the ideal of ‘diverse spaces’ in Canada, and the perspectives of people from many cultural backgrounds who seek to engage with cultural, historical and social knowledge within these spaces. The authors in this book examine, analyze and theorize why and how Canada’s diverse peoples have publically expressed or contested different histories, different identities and different forms of community.

Places of official culture inspected in this volume include national, provincial and local museums and monuments including the Canadian National Museum of Immigration and Windsor’s Underground Railroad monument. Alternative spaces addressed by contributors look at (re)presentations and (re)mappings through public art and performance, both individual and community-based, such as the photographs of Jeff Thomas, the personal narratives at the Sikh Heritage Centre, and the chalk memorializing of politician Jack Layton.

These chapters will resonate with a broad range of scholars examining how nations and citizens address culturally the liberty, equality and solidarity implied by the concept of ‘diverse spaces’. Though primarily intended for graduate students, researchers and professors in cultural studies, sociology and Canadian studies, the interdisciplinary nature of the questions raised will also appeal to international scholars in cultural policy, arts and cultural management, performance studies, museum and heritage studies, and cultural geography. Importantly, this book will be of interest to professionals and practitioners in institutions, agencies and associations of the public arts and culture sector both in Canada and internationally.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-5147-3
ISBN-10: 1-4438-5147-7
Date of Publication: 01/11/2013
Pages / Size: 250 / A5
Price: £44.99


Susan Ashley is a Senior Lecturer in Cultural Management in the Department of Arts at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. She holds a PhD in Communication and Culture from York University, Toronto. Dr Ashley is a critical cultural studies scholar interested in the ‘democratization’ of museums and heritage institutions, especially in relation to access and expression by minority groups. Her research on heritage, subjectivity and representation has been published in books by Routledge and Ashgate, and in journals like Museum and Society and the International Journal of Heritage Studies. Dr Ashley also has 20 years of consultancy experience coordinating and conducting projects for heritage sites and museums across Canada.