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.