By Dr. Paul Burtenshaw
Cultural heritage managers are facing a variety of pressures in managing the economic aspects of heritage resources. Sites are increasingly looked upon as assets for local and national sustainable development, including job creation. Development of tourism at sites can often come with expectations to boost local or national economies. Organizations and authorities are often asked to diversify funding streams. This could include adding commercial elements to their operations – shops, products, events – to enhance stretched public budgets. And the language of heritage value now includes economic and quantitative perspectives – from approaching heritage as resources or capital to providing evaluative evidence to justify funding.
These pressures come with opportunities and pitfalls. Heritage managers increasingly need the knowledge and skill to navigate ‘economic value’ and understand how to utilize it to achieve their own cultural, social and sustainability goals.
The idea of this brand new workshop which will take place on 14-16 February, is to equip heritage managers with the capacity to understand the language of economic value, how to communicate it, and how to manage it for the sustainability of sites and their values. This includes a firm understanding of the motivations for mobilizing cultural resources for economic benefit and the different strategies that could be employed to achieve different goals. Importantly this includes an appreciation of the feasibility of, and limits to, such strategies and approaches to data collection to understand the success, or not, of attempts.
The workshop will guide attendees through the development of a plan for the creation of economic benefits for their own case studies, applying strategies to their own individual needs. This could include raising money to put sites on a surer economic footing, mobilize heritage as a sustainable resource for local businesses, or collect data to better demonstrate the value of heritage to partners and communities. As a result of the course attendees will be able to implement economic development strategies in their own locations.
*Dr Paul Burtenshaw is an expert in heritage economics, heritage tourism and how cultural heritage supports sustainable and community development.
**Find out more and apply for the workshop here.