Heritage management and place branding: where are the links? How do they support each other? We caught up with Susanne Fredholm of the Department of Conservation at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, who - together with Krister Olsson - recently shared her research insights into heritage management in the academic journal Place Branding & Public Diplomacy.
Susanne, do you remember the first time you heard about place branding in connection with heritage management?
In 2014, I worked on a case study for my PhD thesis on how the surviving core of pre-1900 buildings in Cape Coast, Ghana was being utilized to empower and develop the local community as part of a sustainable pro-poor tourism strategy.
In Cape Coast I was intrigued by the fact that heritage site management was integrated into strategies aiming to create a strong place brand. But the complexity of people’s engagement with the past, people’s sense of place and the notion of heritage was simultaneously reduced almost to a technical matter.
I wanted to know more about how the abundance of heritage practices, as well as novel ideas on the potential use of historic environments that I heard of during my time in Cape Coast, could be better recognized and employed in place branding strategies.
I was moreover triggered by the challenges and untapped potential for heritage professionals in such contexts, and how heritage planning, in combination with place branding, can better benefit the local community.
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