#HeritageChat July 2022 – Heritage Futures

Decorative photo: A lightbulb on a stack of old booksIn July 2022, #HeritageChat discussed Heritage Futures. Our chat partners for this month’s session were Dr Leila Papoli-Yazdi and Dr Emily Hanscam, Researchers from the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures.

1.What assumptions do we often make about heritage and its relationship to the future?

2.Historical legacies are what we construct and leave behind; which historical legacies do you think will benefit future generations the most?

3.How might the challenges we face today impact on the future of heritage?

4.What lessons can future generations learn from heritage?

5.How can the heritage sector be more future thinking?

This was an engaging topic and contributors thoughtfully discussed the range of assumptions we make when we consider what the historic environment will be like in the future. Climate Change was recognised as an overarching challenge that will impact on the future of heritage. Contributors shared knowledge, research and foresight theories, and put forward ideas about how the sector can continue to be future oriented.

You can read the summary of the chat in our Twitter collection here.

Read more about the work being done by the UNESCO Chair on Heritage Futures here.

Picture: Beth Jnr on

#HeritageChat June 2022 – Citizen Science

In June 2022 #HeritageChat discussed Citizen Science in heritage. Topics covered in this chat included engaging citizens in project planning, ensuring data quality and making citizen science projects inclusive.

An image of some data in the shape of a heart

This was a quieter chat, but participants thoughtfully considered when and how to best engage citizens in heritage projects. A key suggestion was to ensure community partners are scoped out and engaged from the outset. Participants also discussed managing public expectations. Some case study examples and resources were shared about data collection quality and consistency. It was thought that citizen science heritage projects can be a popular and engaging activity, where children are also able to take part, enjoy and learn from collecting data. It was acknowledged that further work could be done in making citizen science in heritage more inclusive, and participating organisations shared their plans to grow in this area.

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Photo by Alexander Sinn on Unsplash.

New report highlights the achievements of the sector in 2021-22: HEF launches the Historic Environment Overview

People flying kites at Wellington Monument

Throughout the financial year 2021-22 the pandemic continued to have a significant impact on historic environment sector, despite the successful rollout of the vaccination programme which led to the lifting of most restrictions and the continuation of emergency funding. Notwithstanding the pandemic, we have seen some major policy changes (e.g. the funding streams replacing EU funding, the development of the levelling up agenda, etc.) which may transform the way the historic environment is managed. These update are captured in the new report ‘Historic Environment Overview (Spring 2022)‘, which is part of the ‘Heritage Counts’ products.

The Historic Environment Overview also shows the ingenuity of the sector, which responded to the challenges in innovative ways (e.g. developing digital activities, initiating programmes to strengthen resilience), harnessing opportunities such as the COP26 event held in Glasgow.

The Historic Environment Overview (Spring 2022) has been produced by the Historic Environment Forum with support from the National Trust and Historic England.

The report focuses on 5 key sections:

  1. Updates from DCMS and ALBs. 2021-22 has been a challenging year for all with a continued focus on response and recovery from Covid-19. Following the ending of remaining restrictions in spring 2022, there have been many achievements over the last year that have highlighted the importance of the heritage sector to wider recovery, and the value of the investment in the Culture Recovery Fund.
  2. The Funding and Resource Landscape. In the financial year 2021-22, funders continued to expend considerable efforts supporting existing heritage projects to survive the Covid-19 crisis, and to start building future resilience. New opportunities emerged (e.g. levelling up funding).
  3. Heritage Policy and Management.
    • Different organisations worked to support the sector and increase its resilience. Among other things, this work resulted in the development of the forthcoming Heritage Sector Resilience Plan.
    • The sector concentrated on increasing its sustainability and on contributing to addressing climate change, protecting heritage and its value for local communities. ‘Heritage Responds’, the report developed by the Historic Environment Forum, includes case studies which show how the sector is taking positive action against climate change.
    • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion continue to be priorities in the sector, with key organisations taking action to make the sector more diverse and inclusive.
    • Historic England is continuing to work to fight Heritage Crime.
    • Whilst the de-listing of Liverpool from the World Heritage List has been a blow for the UK’s otherwise considerable record of good practice over 35 years, 2021 also saw some successes, such as the inscription of 2 other sites.
    • In 2021-22 we saw some changes to legislation, including wedding legislation, and proposals to change the Treasure Act.
  4. News relating to the Planning System. This section includes also updates on development-led archaeology, local authority capacity, and important infrastructures such as HS2.
  5. Participation and Capacity Building.
    • Whilst Covid-19 threatened the sector’s, it also encouraged new ways of working, harnessing the potential of digital interaction or hybrid activities. The CBA Festival of Archaeology and Heritage Open Days are just 2 examples of this.
    • Heritage Skills. 2021 saw three major schemes commence, led by Historic England, but aiming to strengthen the resilience of the sector. Other organisations are contributing to build skills through apprenticeships (e.g. CIfA and National Trust) and dedicated projects (Rebuilding Heritage).
    • A section of the report focuses on the state of higher education in heritage, and on partnership between universities and key organisations in the sector.
    • It is generally accepted that arts, culture, heritage and nature have the potential for multiple impacts on our wellbeing. Historic England has worked to clearly demonstrate the wellbeing outcomes of engaging with the historic environment.
    • The report concludes with an overview of the heritage awards, supported by Historic Houses, the CBA and Ecclesiastical (Heritage Heroes).

#HeritageChat May 2022 – Heritage Skills

People working to preserve an ancient wall. In May 2022 #HeritageChat discussed Heritage Skills. The chat was co-facilitated by Victoria Wallworth (National Historic Ships UK) and Prof. Ian Baxter, chairs of the Skills, Education & Engagement Advocacy Group at The Heritage Alliance (HEF member). This topic is important to HEF, in fact it will be part of the forthcoming Heritage Resilience Plan, and it is tackled by a specific topic group, the ‘Heritage Skills Demand Group’.

Participants discussed issues related both to the supply side of the topic (e.g. traditional skills training, digital upskilling, professional routes in higher education) and to the demand side. Thanks to all the participants!

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture: Anne Nygard on

#HeritageChat April 2022 – Places of Worship

A man sitting in a church, with the sun light illuminating the wall behind him. In April 2022 #HeritageChat discussed Places of Worship from the heritage perspective. Climate change, redundant churches, the religious and historical significance of buildings were three of the topics tackled in April’s #HeritageChat.

Participants lively debated what does ‘sustainability’ mean in the context of religious buildings; the role of local communities and how to engage with them; community uses for historic churches; the management of historical and religious significance; threats resulting from climate change and adaptation. A lot of useful resources were shared over the course of the chat (e.g. Fundraising for Net Zero Carbon, Support Officers for Historic Places of Worship, Options Appraisals and Church Buildings Reports, House of Good Report, and many other).

This was one of the most successful #HeritageChats (for number of participants and tweets shared), with so many interesting points raised – thanks to all the participants!

You can read the summary of the chat here.

Picture: Isaac Sloman on

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