A ‘Hoot’ of Heritage Specialists

If you’re a regular follower of my blog and Facebook page, you will have seen my recent posts about the Heritage Meet-up that took place on 21 July 2018. The event was a roaring success, with the number of attendees hitting the double figures. Those attending the Heritage Meet-up came from a variety of backgrounds – archaeology, art history, museums, libraries, amongst others – and the discussion was very lively.

Key parts of our discussions included:

  • Age within the heritage sector – we noted that the sector is perceived as being for ‘older’ individuals, usually 70+. This led to us asking how we might get more young people involved in the sector – what schemes can we develop? How do we showcase the work of younger heritage professionals? What can we do, as younger heritage professionals, to engage young people through schools and colleges in an age of austerity?
  • Social class and the heritage sector – we also identified that the heritage sector has a reputation for being ‘upper class’, or favouring those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Many of those attending the meet-up did not come from this background, so we identified what ‘got us in to heritage’ – and whether we might be able to replicate some of this. We highlighted the importance of a number of key factors – such as school trips to heritage sites (throughout KS1-4), access to libraries, availability of free-to-access heritage sites in the local area, even programmes like Time Team and books like Horrible Histories – as playing a part in our interest in heritage.
  • Providing opportunities for heritage outreach – many of us identified that we have a ‘typical’ audience of people that attends our heritage events. How can we increase our outreach and impact beyond these groups? How can we foster an interest in heritage in local communities?

Towards the end of our Heritage Meet-up we all agreed that it would be excellent to build upon the links established and discussions had at the event. We will be holding further Heritage Meet-ups over the coming months, and have also created a Facebook group called The Heritage Hoot, which will allow us all to work more closely together.

5 thoughts on “A ‘Hoot’ of Heritage Specialists

  1. Thanks Naomi – I think this is a great idea – especially the schools part. Daryl and I have had discussions about how to offset vandalism in Combe Valley, where the fencing has been set alight, the reed beds and bird hide also…. Reed beds set on fire just at point in spring where young were being born. We have to explain what ‘heritage’ is to the young – or there will be far less of it. Maybe the way to do it is to give talk to local teachers and education managers and ask them what sort of materials/events they need to begin captivating their pupils/students.

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  2. Hi Naomi – had to type this all again as WordPress dumped the previous entry!

    I think this is a great idea. I have had extensive discussions with Daryl about schools liaison. The Combe Valley vandalism has been dreadful with fences set on fire and the bird hide burned down in the Filsham Reed Beds SSSI. What was even worse was the vandals setting fire to the reed beds in spring just as new life was being born.

    So schools liaison is vital and I wonder if the best way is to have a meeting of teachers and education managers first – to ask them what sorts of events and educational materials they would find useful in getting the heritage message across?

    Because several new housing estates and a primary school are being built, it would be good to have a sound pathway for the future. Daryl may have access to funds for printed materials/websites – and perhaps we could offer a competition with prizes for pupils who design the best heritage poster?

    cheers and all the best David

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    1. Hi David,
      That all sounds fantastic – I seem to remember a similar poster competition around traffic speed control around schools a number of years ago, so there are definitely precedents for this sort of engagement campaign.
      Perhaps increased school engagement (through talks, events etc) is something, as the Heritage Meet-ups develop, we can lobby for more coherently as a group.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, and hope to meet you at an event soon!
      Best,
      Naomi

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  3. Oh – so the first post did stay in after all!! How weird – after I typed it, it asked for my password and when I put it in the page went blank.

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