Who engages with Scotland’s historic environment?


West of Scotland Regional Equality Council participated in BEFS Heritage & Diversity conference.

Scotland’s Historic Environment Strategy ‘Our Place in Time’ sets out the aspiration to broaden engagement with Scotland’s communities. It is important that the historic environment in Scotland reflects our rich and varied heritage and is accessible to the widest audiences. The professionals employed in the sector must be vigilant in improving access to enjoying, studying and working in the historic environment. BEFS continues to raise the profile of this issue and highlight opportunities for practitioners.

In this vein, BEFS organised a panel discussion on Board Diversity in February 2018, with representatives from  Historic Environment Scotland, Equate ScotlandWomen 50:50, and the Next Step Initiative. Key messages included that different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences can add considerable value to board discussions and the strategic decisions they make. Diverse boards are more likely to engage in debate and challenge one another—and ultimately make better decisions for their organisations. Further reflections on the discussion can be found in these blogs: Diversity in Public Boards and Board Diversity – A Reflection, A Provocation.

In March 2016, BEFS organised a conference on Heritage and Diversity. Key messages were captured on social media and participants and speakers provided us with their own reaction to the event and stories for BEFS blog. Messages arising from the conference covered:

  • Engaging everyone – widening audience – ensuring heritage is relevant
  • Recognising multiple stories associated with places
  • Heritage is personal to everyone – it is about what we all value
  • Finding different ways to value the past
  • Shifting focus to showing benefits for people
  • There’s more to projects than ‘the project’ – heritage generates multiple benefits