South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

The Heritage Alliance launches report on heritage and the creative industries

The Heritage Alliance has released a new report demonstrating the importance of heritage organisations, buildings and places in underpinning the creative industries. The Inspiring Creativity, Heritage and the Creative industries report makes recommendations for building on the collaborative effort of the creative industries and heritage sectors to continue their fruitful partnership.

Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Heritage Alliance said: "Heritage and creativity are interwoven. This is hardly surprising because our heritage owes its very existence to the creative spirit. Whilst heritage is always, by definition, from the past, creativity is always, by definition, new. They need each other and we all need them to enrich our lives."

The report includes recommendations for effective collaboration, better evaluation and joined up advocacy, targeted training, building capacity, improved accessibility and engagement, and wider policy considerations. Amongst these are recommendations for:

  • A set of best practice guidelines for both creative industries and heritage when working together;
  • Further development of specialist roles with knowledge of how to broker relationships between the creative industries and heritage sectors.
  • Further research by heritage bodies on successful evaluation methodologies for quantitative and qualitative data collection on creative industries & heritage projects
  • Highlight the expertise available within the heritage field, through conferences, events, and a directory of heritage expertise for those wishing to work with the creative industries.
  • Heritage & creative organisations should utilise small scale projects which are locally and community-based to help the public identify and find a sense of place
  • Heritage organisations to further promote the accessibility of heritage to everyone, which is particularly well done through creative place-making projects and planned projects on diversity, including through the Heritage 2020 Public Engagement group
  • Tourism agencies to actively consult with heritage organisations and the creative industries to better utilise their projects in campaigns and attract a greater number of visitors in both international and domestic campaigns.

To read all of the recommendations, please click here. The report highlights several case studies in the South West, including:

The Man-Engine project (across the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape)

The report states that the Man-Engine project illustrates how heritage can support and inspire the creative industries; that the Cornish tradition of taking their out to the towns and villages laid the foundations for the Man-Engine; how performance, music and dance is the inheritance and the bedrock for Cornwall's creative industries; and that the commissioning of the Man-Engine was made possible through a supportive and close relationship between the World Heritage Site Partnership and the creative sector. The report states that The Man Engine project is an aspirational model of cultural governance and diverse leadership.

Creative capacity building on the Jurassic coast

The report highlights that the Jurassic Coast has worked with the arts and creative sectors since its World Heritage Site Designation in 2001, enabling sites to 'engage with complex heritage issues and ideas'. It says that these engagements have included large arts programmes, artists residencies, and community outreach activities, and that 'working with the arts and creative industries is a theme in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site’s management plan'. The report states that this displays a commitment to 'draw upon the arts sector to address their aims and objectives'. The case study goes on to state that 'engaging with the creative industries has widened the Jurassic Coast’s appeal and relevance for new audiences'. It reports that the Jurassic Coast Trust uses 'storytelling and design in partnership with communities along the site, which help democratise heritage management and interpretation [and] help us ask how we create heritage stories and who we create them for'.

St George's Hall Bristol

The report discusses the journey of St George's Hall from a parish church to a music venue, including the 2018 reopening after a £6.3million project to create a contemporary building designed to complement the historic Grade II* concert hall - 'transforming the St George’s experience for visitors and artists alike'. It mentions pre-existing connections between the venue and the arts, and the building's acoustics lending itself to being attractive to world-class performers. With interactive interpretative exhibition spaces (including an interpretive media space in the crypt from Imagemakers) and co-creation with University of the West of England, the report highlights the potential of the venue to engage with people of all ages and tell the story of St George's

The full report can be accessed by clicking here.