‘Card game: How the citizens of Athens experience the city’s cultural heritage during the crisis’. Reflections on values-based management

Introduction

The ‘Card game: How the citizens of Athens experience the city’s cultural heritage during the crisis’ was held at the Athens University Museum, Athens, Greece, on 10 January 2015, within the framework of Archaeological Dialogues initiative.
Citizens of Athens of differing backgrounds, both archaeological and non-archaeological ones, participated as players in the game - specifically: archaeology, archaeology-museology, pedagogics, law, and computer engineering. The players (as well as the attendees) were selected through an open call-invitation via social media. The game was moderated by Ioannis Poulios and Elena Papagiannopoulou.


Image: The Athens University Museum
(photo by Elena Papagiannopoulou)

Aims, and methodology

The aim of the game was threefold:
a) to study how the citizens of Athens (of differing backgrounds, i.e. archaeological and non-archaeological) are connected in their daily lives to the city’s cultural heritage during the crisis;
b) to demonstrate similarities and differences in their views on issues pertinent to the protection of cultural heritage; and, finally,
c) to attempt to bring these differing opinions together and, moving further, suggest ways through which citizens, as a unified body, can become involved in the protection and management of this heritage.
The game formed a platform for dialogue among citizens of differing backgrounds. The methodology applied was based on the core principles and practices of values-based management: stakeholder/interest groups, values, authenticity, and planning process methodology.

Description-structure of the game

Before the beginning of the game, all participants (i.e. the players, the attendees, and the moderators) were given a guided tour of the Athens University Museum (where the game was hosted).
At the first part of the game, the players were addressed a series of questions (some of which were given to them in advance to prepare, while others ad hoc) on how they – as citizens of Athens - experience the city’s cultural heritage and how they can participate in its protection and management. This first part ended with a ballot of all the participants to elect the ‘winner’ of the game.
The second part of the game consisted of an open discussion between the players and the attendees, who managed to function as a unified body. The discussion focused on ways citizens as well as start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises can take action for the protection and management of cultural heritage, and also on ways to develop synergies among them.
The game concluded with a synopsis by the moderators. The main points of the players’ answers and of the open discussion (i.e. the first and the second part of the discussion) were pointed out, and were linked to conservation theories and practices, especially within the framework of values-based approach. Elements of a values-based approach that function in a positive way were highlighted, as well as others that need more attention.
The discussion went on after the end of the game, on suggestions for the further development of the game and also on potentials for professional collaboration among the participants.


Image: The 'players' with moderator Ioannis Poulios 
(photo by Elena Papagiannopoulou)


Post-game material / gift

The participants were sent, as a gift, a book on an innovative approach to conservation that moves beyond a values-based approach: a living heritage approach.
Poulios I. 2014. The Past in the Present: A Living Heritage Approach – Meteora, Greece. London, Ubiquity Press (open access / free to download: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bak).

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all players and attendees for their participation.
Thanks are also owed to the architectural office doxiadis+, and especially Thomas Doxiadis and Angeliki Mathioudaki, for their contribution to the preparation of one of the questions addressed to the players; and to Fay Tsitou, member of the scientific staff of the Athens University Museum, for the guided tour.


Ioannis Poulios
Hellenic Open University
PhD University College London
Elena Papagiannopoulou
MA Cultural Heritage Studies, UCL

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