Local Engagement: A luxury add-on or a powerful force for shaping the future of the historic environment? Discuss

What do you get when you bring 60+ historic environment professionals from all around the country (and many others following on twitter) together to discuss local engagement?


  1. English Heritage, supported by IHBC and ALGAO: England, along with the digital media agency, sounddelivery, ran training workshops in Birmingham and York for Historic Environment professionals to look at ways in which they could engage local communities in the work they do and to see what role social media can play in achieving that goal. These workshops form part of the 5  year strategy to assist local authorities to develop their Heritage Environment Records (HERs).  Already the HER21 programme has looked at projects which showed potential for community and voluntary involvement and also piloted remote access to HER data for conservation officers and the public.  The aim of these workshops was to explore our role in local engagement and to share a range of approaches including both traditional communication and a look at how to make the most of social media to interact with communities.  We've captured feedback from the day through tweets using a specially created hashtag #histenviron and through short audio interviews and pictures.  We hope that conversations, debates and conversations about local engagement in our work will continue beyond these workshops.
  2. Networking with colleagues on a break
    Networking with colleagues on a break
  3. Sheena Payne-Lunn, who already uses Twitter and Facebook and writes a blog "Archaeologist in Worcester", was our designated social reporter during the Birmingham workshop capturing discussions using twitter.  At the end of the day she also blogged about her experience of the workshop. 

  4. Bristol HER use the Know Your Place website to give people the opportunity to share their knowledge and photos of Bristol.  They're also running a series of 'walkabouts' as a way to introduce local people to the Conservation Area Character Appraisals.  
  5. Top tips for engaging local people in the historic environment from Paul Driscoll, Community Archaeologist. 
  6. A significant number of delegates were not allowed to use social media tools in the office.  So what was key for them was to make business case for social media.  We found this link as a useful starting point. 
  7. Delegates came from a range of backgrounds. Mary King who works in conservation and design talks about the challenges facing local engagement.   A key one being lack of resources.