Cluster Five: HeritageLab – Heritage Creation and Management

The HeritageLab, the cross-cluster nexus of DHAKIRA, serves both as a methodological framework and research focus to study inclusive and sustainable heritage management models. Enriching output and formalizing interdisciplinary study, this synergetic hub stimulates research and collaboration across the fields of heritage, memory studies, material culture and sciences, social sciences, archaeology and conservation, museums and digital heritage and humanities.

As one of our signature programs, the Dalma Island Project illustrates the HeritageLab approach: Maritime archaeologists, digital humanities researchers and marine biologists are currently sharing drone and underwater imagery to identify, analyze and map sites and assess the decline of sea life. Meanwhile, ethnographers are collecting oral histories from aging sailors and fishermen, as well as the younger and expatriate fishermen. To further examine the intangible aspects of Dalma’s heritage, DHAKIRA has established a first Heritage Majlis on the Island as a community-based platform for heritage recording and presentation in the UAE context. We have also hired an Emirati researcher from Dalma Island in order to put the collectyion and interpretation of heritage in the hands of the local communihty, while providing guidance as/if needed.

These initiatives have led to the establishment of community programs, including the development of films and volunteer groups to teach or re-introduce sustainable fishing methods to the Island, benefiting not only the environment but also the local economy and community cohesion.

Using and expanding its existing global network, DHAKIRA’s research and output on Dalma Island could be shared, for example, with other fishing communities in our global network, as they also work towards sustainable fisheries that are guided by sustainable heritage methods adapted for the modern environment.

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