Co-ordination was high on the agenda at The Heritage Alliance’s second annual International Event this week. Along with funding and capacity building. It a great opportunity to hear about the global activities of our UK heritage sector and to make new connections for INTO. So much to learn and share.
The Heritage Alliance asked INTO to contribute to its first International Report last year. Then on 26 September, I spoke at the second International Event. And our ‘Arms Wide Open’ document even featured in the official update to the first Report.
The conference took place at London’s Chelsea Physic Garden, and was sponsored by the Scottish Confucius Institute at Heriot-Watt University. The key themes for the day were co-ordination; capacity and funding. Indeed, Kate Pugh, previous CEO of THA, identified these as the three main barriers to working internationally. Which is why she has set up the International Heritage Funding Directory. Why not check it out for some useful tips?!
Dr Lucy Blue from the Honor Frost Foundation emphasised dialogue and working in partnership to build local capacity. Furthermore Historic England is developing an expert database to enable more and better partnerships.
Recipients of THA Travel Grants highlighted the value of international travel. For instance: delivering conservation projects in Ethiopia; learning from medieval monastic connections across Europe; and teaching conservation training in Kazan, Tartarstan.
This was further underlined by Stephen Stenning of the British Council who stressed the importance of ‘face-to-face conversations’. He also said that links that existed before there were nation states can often transcend current politics. He emphasised how much could be done with a small amount of money. However he added that it was often harder to get that small amount of money than a large grant.
Giles Smith, Head of Tourism, Heritage and Cultural Diplomacy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, mentioned that heritage is a key part of the government’s climate change agenda. Which is timely as we look forward to the Climate Heritage Network launch next month.
In all, it felt like INTO was focusing on the right things. TAP-INTO Travel Grants; ASK-INTO (contacts leading to partnerships); opportunities to connect and learn as an antidote to feelings of nationalism and increasing polarisation; and finally a continued focus on climate change mitigation, adaptation and education.