Heritage – What does it really mean?

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Date: 16th May 2022

Author: Jade McGhee

Type: Blog

The question that surrounds our Connecting People and Places Exhibitions, is what does heritage mean to you? If you take time to search the actual definitions you will see that there are three different answers. We think that is because heritage is open for interpretation, it means different things to individuals, depending on the cultures they grew up around, their location or the family they are surrounded by. We decided to ask our volunteers to define what heritage means to them.

Heritage means valuable culture.

-Chujing Zhang, 20, Sheffield 
For me heritage means power and knowledge. The stories of my family and traditions passed down to me have become a part of me and without that I would not know who I am. I am here because of the people before me, so by knowing my heritage I am empowering myself and my people before me.
-Melanie Henao, 21, Leicester
Heritage covers a variety of things under its umbrella. To me, heritage is a sense of belonging. It’s about the people and cultures that have come before and how understanding values, traditions and artefacts handed down from previous generations has enabled your unique, inherited sense of identity. Heritage ultimately helps us understand and explain why we are the way we are.
-Anna O’Neill, 38, Liverpool
Heritage for me represents a reverence and respect for the past in acknowledgement that it paved the way for our present everyday lives. It is something I feel honoured to be a part of in this community in particular, with all the history and culture that Leicester holds.
-Bliss Warland-Edge, 26, Leicester
Heritage means memory, culture, legacy, sentiment, livelihood, it means everything that was a part of a previous people’s history, whether that is buildings, traditions, rituals, practices, anything that demonstrates the significance or presence of a previous community. Being a second generation immigrant, it means everything my parents and their parents set up to make a living in the UK, the communities that were established, the ethnic enclaves that were formed, the import grocery shops that were opened and the culture we brought from our respective countries to a foreign place.
– Nabiha Qadir, 22, Cambridge

Heritage has been a societal selection of cultural historical markers, which means it shifts and changes with the society it represents. To me I prefer thinking of heritage as an expanding and moving idea, and not a static place in the past.

-Charlotte Vinsen, 28, Liverpool
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