Photosharing on Flickr:intangible heritage and emergent politics
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- International Journal of Heritage Studies, 2010, 16 (4-5), pp. 352 - 368
- Issue Date:
This paper argues that Flickr, a popular 'photosharing' website, is facilitating new public engagements with world heritage sites like the Sydney Opera House. Australian heritage institutions (namely libraries and museums) have recently begun to employ Flickr as a site through which to engage communities with their photographic archives and collections. Yet Flickr is more than an 'online photo album': it is a social and cultural network generated around personal photographic practices. Members can form 'groups': self-organised communities defined by shared interests in places, photographic genres, or the appraisal of photographs. These groups are public spaces for both visual and textual conversations - complex social negotiations involving personal expression and collective identity. For one group, the common interest is the Sydney Opera House, and their shared visual and textual expressions - representations of this building. This paper argues that such socio-visual practices themselves constitute an intangible heritage. By drawing on the work of scholars Jose Van Dijck and Nancy Van House, Dawson Munjeri and Michael Warner, the paper proposes that this enactment of intangible heritage is implicated in the broader cultural value of the Sydney Opera House.
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