Overcoming Barriers to Equality and Diversity

Adebimpe Ademosu, Trainee at Next Step Initiative and the Inclusive Museum Heritage Project, reflects on BEFS’ Heritage & Diversity event and overcoming barriers.

What a great event! I found the format of the conference very interesting and unique. The set-up was arranged in such a way that all participants could engage, learn and share their thoughts about different ongoing projects. What a brilliant way to learn and share ideas!  Travelling back from Edinburg to Glasgow I couldn’t stop reflecting on some of the key topics that were discussed during the conference, especially some of Dr Rebecca Madgin’s talk, one point of which was, “what we value and who we value”. I personally agree with this phrase and it will live with me forever. Also, I have come to the conclusion that no one should be denied opportunities to keep or preserve his/her cultural heritage or historical values, regardless of his/her social class, ethnicity, race, or religion.

Heritage projects should protect everyone. People in power or the policy maker should be very sensitive when using the word tangible and intangible when describing people’s heritage, because all heritages have significant meaning, carries values, and also brings back the memory of the past to those that own them. Therefore, heritage policy should preserve, protect and recognise everyone irrespective of their social status or ethnicity.

Diversity on the other hand is about accepting the fact that we are different in a variety of ways which can also streamline to “what we value and who we value”. However, it is very important for all policy makers to put in place laws that recognise, respect and value these differences with no influence from any social stratification. I think policy should not be made to exclude people who don’t have a voice or have no expertise on how to preserve their heritage but policy should be able to guide them and help them to preserve that which they cherish with no form of intimidation.

One other question I asked myself during and after the conference was: why do people preserve their heritage? And for me, I think it highlights the uniqueness in every individual or group, it also evokes memory of the past and it helps to keep memory alive.

From a personal perspective, I believe in order to overcome barriers to equality and diversity it is very crucial that we all understand that;

  • Heritage is about everybody
  • What people value differs
  • Our historical values made us who we are
  • Heritage should protect everyone
  • Heritage and diversity can only be successful if policies are targeted to represent everyone regardless of their social class, race, ethnicity or religion.
  • Heritage symbolises historical significance or cultural relevance and holds many untold stories but the already unveiled stories should not be hindered by policy makers because it is also an identity of the generation to come.

Finally, let us all know that, “Heritage is much deeper than what we feel or think, for those that own it; it is inspiring, a learning process and a representation of identity that can contribute to intergenerational values”.

Adebimpe Ademosu, Trainee at Next Step Initiative and the Inclusive Museum Heritage Project.