Resilience Thinking in Museums: Industrial Heritage, Urban Regeneration and Civic Engagement

Grete Swensen


Resilience thinking refers to the need to be prepared for the unexpected and unknown. Museums have learned to adjust to societal changes, not least because of the recent global pandemic, which has necessitated the introduction of new ways of activating a diverse public. We discuss how resilience thinking can function as a promoter of the adaptive reuse of industrial heritage by including local heritage knowledge in the ongoing regeneration of former brownfield sites. The current sectoral barriers in the planning system prevent museums from being central participants, despite their well-established local anchoring. Intangible heritage can provide coherence and connection between old buildings, including technical structures and new buildings/infrastructure. This allows for options for museums to voice ongoing creative and critical input and appear as spokespersons for civic involvement. Museums’ ability to facilitate local involvement needs to be acknowledged in urban planning.


industrial heritage; museums and civic engagement; resilience thinking; intangible heritage; heritage as social benefit

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Copyright (c) 2023 Grete Swensen

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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