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.
HERITAGE’s Dr Paul Burtenshaw, an expert in heritage economics, heritage tourism and how cultural heritage supports sustainable and community development, conducted two workshops on Community and Economic Development in Rwanda last month, from the 13 th -15 th and the 16 th -18 th November. The workshops are part of our HerMaP Africa initiative, kindly supported by the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program. They were produced by HERITΛGE’s Rwanda programs Manager, Eirini Oikonomidi.
The first workshop (13 th – 15 th November) bought together 26 heritage and tourism practitioners in a venue provided by RCHA (Rwanda Cultural Heritage Academy) in Kigali: the Kandt House Museum. Half the participants were from the RCHA and the other half from the RCTA (Rwanda Community Tourism Association). The building itself was an early 20 th century German colonial administrative centre but has since been renovated (2004) and houses a museum of Natural History as well as an exhibition (since 2017) detailing the history of Rwanda before and after German colonisation.
The second workshop (16 th -18 th November) was conducted at Red Rocks cultural centre in Musanze district in the Northern Provenances. It trained 13 members of the RCTA, most of whom aged under 30 years old.
This is the first year HERITΛGE is offering the Community and Economic development workshop in person and online. The workshop has three main objectives:
On one day of the Kigali workshop, the participants visited the NWC (the Nyamirambo Women Centre) which was a great insight into the work of a local community-focused NGO. The NWC works to promote and empower women through capacity development and employment. At the moment the NWC employs 50 women as seamstresses in a self-sustaining project in which profits are used to fund further initiatives. At the Musanze workshop our hosts, Red Rocks, also engage with promoting the heritage and economies of local communities. It was a valuable experience to see how they worked.
All in all, both workshops were extremely enjoyable, and we look forward to seeing how all 39 participants now come to incorporate their new skills and knowledge into local projects.