Heritage Debate 2022: Reflections & Resources

Policy News

The Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Debate 2022 invited a spirited discussion on: ‘Heritage in 20 Years: what will matter most?’.

Wordcloud produced by participants at Heritage Debate 2022, generated using Mentimeter.

Our Heritage Debate 2022 yesterday evening (24 November) invited a lively discussion on this year’s topic: ‘Heritage in 20 Years: what will matter most?’, involving our experts speakers and presenters as well as 194 live participants.

An Overview of the Discussion

The panel.

The Heritage Alliance’s Chair, Pam Alexander OBE skilfully created a space for a spirited debate between the 5 experts who each eloquently made strong cases.

Dr Mike Nevell spoke passionately for the inherent value of our industrial heritage, and the value of heritage is retained when old buildings are placed at the centre of new design and redevelopment.

Picking up on the theme of heritage evolving in step with the modern world, Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke made the case for business value, giving first-hand experience of bringing the 17th century Mapperton Estate to life for previously un-reached audiences through the creative use of digital media.

Rab Bennetts OBE, Co-founder of Bennetts Associates and a Founder of the UK Green Council, asserted that, if real, the fictional £1 million in funding from this Debate would go a long way to critical research that will enable us all to respond better to the climate crisis.

The urgent topic of viable heritage careers was championed by Kate Geary, Head of Professional Development at Practice at CIfA [Alliance member], who stressed the importance of not only investment in skillsets and attractive wages but the critical need to inspire the next generation to all heritage roles as viable and fulfilling career paths.

With a focus on the next generation Dr Wanda Wyporksa, CEO of Society of Genealogists [Alliance member] and a historian, posed the question: “Through whose eyes are we looking, when we look at heritage?” She suggested overall that we should in fact see all other debated priorities as being underpinned by community value.

Once all views were heard, participants used the Zoom poll function to allocate their fictional £1 million in funding to which of the 5 proposed issues they believed would be the priority in 20 years’ time.

The poll results showed that heritage professionals believe Community Value and Climate Crisis will matter most in 2042.

Poll results from participants.

Sharing Key Insights

Sharing insights from the newly released Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Barometer report, for which 500 organisations were interviewed, Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director reflected on how the sector has been ingenious. She went on to emphasise the importance for heritage organisations to look to the future and plan.

“The risk landscape is ever-increasing for heritage organisations. Organisations need to address risks strategically, improve resilience, and plan, manage, adapt, thrive.”  Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director, Ecclesiastical Insurance.

Keeping the Discussion Going

To keep this year’s discussion going, we are sharing some of the key resources pertinent to this year’s debate below…

> Our dedicated event page for Heritage Debate 2022, collates over 20 blogs with perspectives on this year’s topic will remain live as a resource for the sector to reflect on into the future.

> Ecclesiastical Insurance [Alliance Corporate Partner] has published their 2022 Heritage Risk Barometer, which sets out the results of research carried out with over 500 heritage organisations on challenges facing the sector. Find further Sector Insights and Risk Management guidance from Ecclesiastical here, and find out more about Ecclesiastical’s insurance for the heritage sector here.

> Read VocalEyes’ [Alliance member] recent report Heritage Access 2022 – on the state of access in the heritage sector – and find their audio description services for heritage organisations and their free resources here.

> Learn more about the YHA [Alliance member] project Generation Green: Connecting young people with nature, and about the YHA’s vision and mission to make the benefits of adventure available to all, found here.

> Apply to Rebuilding Heritage for free 1-2-1 consultancy sessions focusing on supporting heritage organisations in light of the cost of living challenges and the wake of Covid.

> Learn more about joining The Heritage Alliance’s network of nearly 200 members here. And to discuss how membership can work for your organisation, please contact Claire at developmentofficer@theheritagealliance.org.uk.

> You can also review the discussion on Twitter and across social media by searching for the hashtag: #HeritageDebate2022.

Upcoming: Heritage Day 2023 & Heritage Heroes Awards

We are delighted to announce that our next sector-wide event, Heritage Day 2023, will be taking place in two parts in the Spring. Save the dates: 1 & 2 March 2023.

Ecclesiastical’s Heritage Heroes Awards are re-opening for nominations very soon – and will once again provide an opportunity to recognise the efforts of heritage volunteers who work to support the sector and help to secure its future. Learn how to nominate your 2022 Heritage Heroes here (by 15 January 2023).

More about our speakers

Dr Mike Nevell, Industrial Heritage Support Officer

Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, Mapperton House & Gardens

Rab Bennetts, Bennetts Associates and the UK Green Building Council

Kate Geary, the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

Dr Wanda Wyporska, the Society of Genealogists

More about our sponsors

Ecclesiastical logo

Find out more about our Corporate Partner, Ecclesiastical Insurance and their services for the heritage sector – https://www.ecclesiastical.com/about-us/

For more about our sponsors, VocalEyes’ and their audio descriptive work bringing art and culture to life for blind and visually impaired people – https://vocaleyes.co.uk/

Learn more about our sponsors, the YHA, Youth Hostel Association and their vision to bring the benefits of adventure to everyone – https://www.yha.org.uk/

Find out more about The Heritage Alliance’s Heritage Debate and our annual events here.