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Heritage Impact 2012

Impact measurement, impact drivers and business strategies for heritage

University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Brighton, UK
21-22 June 2012

Heritage Impact 2012 is the sixth international symposium on socio-economic impact and strategies for change in cultural heritage to be organised by the CUBIST Research Group, part of the University of Brighton Business School. The symposium aims to bring together speakers from across Europe and further afield to consider the impact of heritage sites on society and the economy.

Heritage sites are facing an unprecedented threat. The long-term erosion of funding sources coupled with the current economic climate has the potential to change the heritage landscape. The concept of the 'Big Society' places an increasing reliance on the 'community' for funding, either through traditional fundraising or innovative crowd funding campaigns. But these threats are coupled with new avenues of engagement with the community. Communication through various social media channels, mobile applications and other digital means has the potential to enlarge the so-called community to become a potentially global audience. Increased access to digital heritage resources is one a number of mechanisms leading to the democratisation of heritage.

Heritage sites are coming under increasing pressure from funders to measure their benefit to society, to add value to their offerings and to increase self-sustainability. All this comes at a time when resources for assessing impact are under threat and the scope of impact becomes ever more diverse. And yet, as ever, there is little evidence for the impact of heritage on the community and society. Heritage Impact 2012 aims to bring all this information together coherently in one place.

The symposium will explore the processes that influence impact at heritage sites. Assessing the value of cultural heritage and determining its impact on society and the economy, is crucial for the future of the heritage sector. As the heritage community begins to understand the processes that influence impact, the sector will be in a better position to influence positive future outcomes. Furthermore, if the heritage community can provide evidence of why certain strategies are successful, this information can be put to direct use by heritage sites to exploit their assets most effectively and influence decisions at a policy level.

The symposium will explore the following complementary themes:

  • Measuring impact: measuring and evaluating impact is fundamental for heritage sites. Papers that analyse the various techniques and methodologies for impact assessment and measurement are invited.
  • Changing impacts through strategy, marketing and policy: in these harsh economic times it is necessary to use the information gained from impact measurement to drive strategy.
  • Heritage as a regeneration tool: this stream will consider heritage-led economic and community development, tourism and policy impacts.
  • Sustainability issues for heritage: what social, economic and environmental sustainability issues exist for heritage? What business models can be used to enhance sustainability?
  • Community heritage and the 'Big Society': how to engage the community in local heritage. Creating local participation and local identities. What strategies, technologies, marketing opportunities are available and what are their impacts?
  • Community engagement in a digital world: this stream seeks to assess technology strategies and impact at heritage sites. There is wide ranging current and potential use of technologies to enhance the heritage experience and site performance, such as social media, Virtual Museums, Apps and 3D technology.

Heritage Impact 2012 will provide an opportunity for key stakeholders - practitioners, academics policy makers, heritage strategists, heritage technologists and marketing professionals - to share and shape the latest thinking on the direction of research and on strategies for improving and evaluating impact in the cultural heritage sector. The measurement of impact is seen therefore not as an academic or political exercise, but as the cornerstone of future heritage strategy.

The Cubist Research Group

University of Brighton

Cultural Informatics Research Group

3D Coform

European Union