Keynote abstract - Discursive crossings in liminal spaces

The IMP project unravels the challenges of conceptualising the liminal spaces that are imagined between museums and bearers and carriers of intangible heritage elements, sometimes also framed as source communities. Binary Oppositions; ‘Contact Zones’; Tyranny of Authenticity; Unfathomable  Fluidity; Agency/s for Revitalisation; Sites for Safeguarding and ‘Coloniality and Contextuality’. It is my argument that the contextuality and ‘atmosphere’ of museums, their collections and the location of associated living heritage elements command the respect of deeper and more rigorous interrogation. Illustrative case studies have the proclivity to museumise and freeze in time living heritage through the narratives of ‘self and the other’ or ‘as it once happened’ in the anthropological past. What kind of interdisciplinary persuasions and paradigmatic shifts do museums need to consider? Do they engage with or consider ‘grassroots globalisation’? Has museology evolved to internalise the constitutive embeddedness of the dynamism and democratic intent of the UNESCO 2003 Convention on Safeguarding Intangible Heritage? Are museums ready to go beyond chameleon like transformations? Can they negotiate the imperatives of the marketplace or sustainability and address the poverty of methodologies - ‘users’ ‘audiences’ ‘stakeholders’ ‘community engagement’? Do they have the capacities and capabilities to address the First Voice and SDGs? What of the human face of globalisation and  developing communities of practice to rootedness in ethics of engagement? These and many other challenges are opened up by the five encounters of the IMP project. The pathways for the future are ‘untrodden’ and liminality of safeguarding beckon the future institution of the museum to the ‘third space in the heritage sector’ and as to ‘how it can become inclusive’, a central concern of my professional and academic journey.


Dr. Amareswar Galla

An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi & Australian National University, Canberra, Amareswar Galla is currently Professor of Inclusive Cultural Leadership & Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership (ICICL), Anant National University, Ahmedabad, India - Founding Executive Director of the International Institute for the Inclusive Museum, Australia/India/USA) ( ( He was formerly Professor of Museum Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane and prior to that Professor and Director of Sustainable Heritage Development at the Australian National University, Canberra; until recently Chief Curator, Amaravathi Heritage Town (birthplace of Mahayana Buddhism) India; former Vice President, International Executive Council of ICOM, Paris (2004-2007); former President of ICOM Asia Pacific Executive Board (1998-2004); Cofounder of ASEMUS Network (2000 – 2001); youngest participant in drafting the Nara Recommendation of the World Heritage Convention, 1994; Founder inclusive museum movement in Leiden, 2008; and Chaired the drafting and adoption of the ICOM Cultural Diversity Charter, Shanghai, 2010. An accredited mentor/facilitator of UNESCO for the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention, his extensive publication record ranges from World Heritage: Benefits Beyond Borders, Cambridge University Press & UNESCO Publishing, 2012 (French and Korean translations 2013) to Heritage Curricula and Cultural Diversity, Prime Minister & Cabinet, Australia, 1993.