Co-creating heritage: bottom-up planning for heritage management in rural areas

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Sch of History, Classics and Archaeology

Abstract

A Management Plan (MP), the default means to assess tangible cultural heritage resources and associated intangible values, provides a periodically revisable document describing strategic goals over the resources in question, their context and their overall state in terms of conservation, interpretation and promotion. The preparation of a MP can be a complex, time-consuming process and commonly the management bodies lack the resources to develop an in-depth assessment of local communities' views and aspirations for the heritage in question.

In these pressing circumstances, the professionals contracted to prepare the MP tend to focus on the obvious needs of the site/landscape/building, skimming through the complicated universe of social/cultural values that reside at the local level. Thus, local communities, even though acknowledged, are not likely to be meaningfully involved. Their priorities and visions degrade into blanket directives, frequently sourced from limited-time focus groups. These issues are aggravated in rural areas, where structural problems and difficulties of everyday life (for example, time-consuming commuting, 'urban' mentality of interviewers) tend to bluntly generalise local perceptions and further mute marginalised voices of people such as women, children, precarious workers and immigrants.

Similar issues were highlighted in the CHeriScape network project, one of the ten projects funded under the transnational pilot call of the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage, that located cultural values within a people-centred context, debating heritage as an arena for negotiation that encourages participation by a wider public. CHeriScape identified a wealth of techniques to put these ideas into practice, most of them with co-construction at their heart that tend to work best at the local level. The challenge of 'going local in a global world' is tackled in this proposal by the use of the RES.CO.PART tool, an innovative mobile application, which also draws its inspiration from our original AHRC project. RES.CO.PART is designed to promote the efficient involvement of communities as stakeholders and has the form of a mobile application, functioning as a probe for collecting ethnographic information, related to places/sites of interest.

The AHRC report "Understanding the value of arts & culture" provided a strong incentive to revisit the results of our original AHRC research, in the light of the CHeriScape mandates, through the use of the RES.CO.PART tool. Our proposed project will attempt to identify ways that can make cultural heritage and landscape more relevant to the local communities of Naxos, attempting to formalise, at the same time, a broader methodology applicable in other rural areas of the UK and beyond.

For this reason, a co-created management document for the cultural resources of the case-study area will be developed through participatory and creative activities, re-using collected data and involving both prominent and marginal stakeholders. The data collected in the process will also be used to build an innovative, open-source and easily customisable digital toolkit that will allow the efficient interaction of heritage professionals and interested parties in heritage management, documenting the emerging cultural values and promoting their applicability in real-life decisions on heritage resources.

The case study selected for the development of the toolkit is the island of Naxos in Greece. The data collected in our previous AHRC funded project will be used to initiate the dialogue with local stakeholders that have already been identified and engaged during our 2006-7 research and subsequent fieldwork in the area. Their participation in the scheme will allow us to develop a collaborative management document for the area but also provide the necessary insight to formulate the outputs of the toolkit with reference to the traditional sections of a MP.

Planned Impact

This AHRC Follow-on project is based on original research whose aim was to highlight the historic character of the cultural landscape in Naxos and the eastern Mediterranean. It will go beyond this work by using the latest thinking in heritage management but also new digital and creative methods to establish: (a) a co-created management plan and (b) a toolkit that can guide people through important concepts & processes of heritage management and relevant data, such as the results of our previous project. The objective is to facilitate effective knowledge exchange and empowerment of the non-specialist public.

Such exchanges will provide clear benefits to academics, policy-makers and heritage professionals by using the data provided by the stakeholders and also by embedding co-creative practices in their approaches to heritage, simultaneously deepening the knowledge of all parties. Various European and international treaties comment on the urgency and importance of engaging stakeholder communities in heritage management (Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity 2001, Faro Convention 2005, Fribourg Declaration 2007). The European Landscape Convention 2000 relates directly to them, accompanying emerging results of networks such as CHeriScape project that make clear that there remains significant distance between the above stakeholders. This pattern is particularly visible in disadvantaged and rural communities.

In the proposed project, our team will work closely with stakeholders and the general public of Naxos developing a collaborative management plan of the area, re-using the results of our previous AHRC project and disseminating widely our new results through a symposium, an exhibition, academic publications and a mini-documentary. The data of the project will also be submitted to a public code repository (e.g. GitLab) and Newcastle University Code Version Repository for further use. Through this process, we will outline a wider methodology for future work in Greece and beyond. Specifically, we will implement an innovative toolkit to boost bottom-up participation in heritage management in rural areas, iterable in similar cases in the UK and elsewhere. Its modular and expandable design, incorporating open-access deliverables will also be adaptable in both rural and urban environments.

To facilitate these impacts, we will use ethnographic tools (face-to-face meetings, dialogue workshops, symposium), innovative digital techniques (digital toolkit) and creative approaches (children's art workshops, exhibition). The team will collect quantitative and qualitative data relating to people's engagement with the project. For online resources these will take the form of usage statistics (Google analytics) and comments; for face-to-face and creative interactions, we will count the number of participants, collect feedback forms and minute discussion in the final symposium.

The immediate target audience for the project will be local people, tourists and researchers on Naxos (estimated total audiences of interested citizens on the island c.3,500 and c.10,000 tourists in 2017). These figures could increase significantly in future given the potential reach of the project methods (and toolkit) beyond Naxos after 'proof of concept' in this project. The toolkit, developed in open-source software and publicly available, could be easily applied in relevant cases (i.e. to develop a co-created management plan for heritage resources and act as a communication platform) but also could be customised to fit relevant scenarios (i.e. decision making processes over local plans).

It is also worth noting that the project and its digital deliverables fall directly under the Digital Agenda for Europe-2020 strategy and the general aspiration 'to better exploit the potential of ICT for economic growth and innovation', especially related to the pillars concerning research and innovation, digital literacy and benefits enabled by ICT.
 
Title The Hidden landscapes of Naxos 
Description Documentary: The Hidden landscapes of Naxos. A co-production of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (???) & Newcastle University, McCord Centre. Premiere screened at Tyneside Cinema during LAC 5 conference (19.09.2018 - Attended by c.100), incl. Q&A with director and other members of the production team. Screened on ERT in Greece, 22-28.03.2019. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Debate and discussion during LAC5 conference 
 
Description The project has identified ways to make cultural heritage and the landscape more relevant to the local communities of Naxos. At the same time it formalised a broader methodology applicable in other rural areas in Europe and beyond. We produced a co-created management document for the cultural resources of western Naxosthrough participatory and creative activities, re-using collected data and involving both prominent (e.g. municipal authorities, cultural bodies) and marginal (e.g. children) stakeholders. We created a simple toolkit designed to allow the efficient interaction of heritage professionals and interested parties in heritage management. It focusses on the exploration of cultural values and how these can be reflected in real-life decisions on heritage resources.
Exploitation Route The digital and creative methods used to co-create the management plan and tools have potential to guide people through important concepts and processes of heritage management and relevant data, facilitating effective knowledge exchange and empowerment of the non-specialist public.
Sectors Creative Economy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Non-academic impacts to date have included discussions and engagements with local people enabling planning and preparation for the main phase of project fieldwork in 2018. Details of events and activities are reported in the 'Engagement' section of Researchfish for this project
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Title RESCAPER tracker 
Description RESCAPER aids in outdoor ethnographic research and recording personal experience. The app allows the user to record their experience of their walk, i.e. take notes and pictures, record sounds, interviews or videos and annotate them with comments. The data they collect are automatically geo-referenced on a map marking the route they followed, accessible to review and share via rescaper.honestpartners.gr. The app was developed in McCord Centre for Landscape, Newcastle University and it is available for free from the App Store and Google Play. RESCAPER has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 657050. It has also received funding from the UK Research and Innovation (AHRC) project ref. AH/P014453/1, the Newcastle University Faculty Impact Fund and McCord Centre. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact RESCAPER has been trialled as part of research projects in Greece (Naxos) and Turkey (Cesme peninsula), and at the LAC 5 conference in Newcastle. 
URL https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/rescaper-tracker/id1397771361?mt=8
 
Description AEKYK symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact ????? symposium.
Presentation title: Participatory processes in heritage management; The case of Naxos Island (Athens 26.11.17)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Aegean FM radio interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participants for events and other engagement activities generated as a result of listening to the interview
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi5RqYyyz1s&t=19s
 
Description Apalirou: public walk and talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Walk in project landscape with talks and engagements involving project team members, local people and visitors to the island. Created new networks and relationships underpinning future work as part of the project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Attitudinal questionnaire survey 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Using the empirical data from interviews and the public dialogue meeting, MONUMENTA designed an attitudinal electronic survey in order to provide the opportunity to more community members (c.150) to participate actively in the research. The survey allowed us to explore and test the representativeness of findings (based on a small group) based on larger sample while also translating some of the qualitative data numerically. The data was collected, coded and analyzed statistically.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Beyond the desertum workshop, British School at Rome 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation on research project in progress at a workshop at this international institute led to reflections on methodology and approaches with participants and other speakers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Blueprint for community-inclusive heritage management 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blueprint for community-inclusive heritage management. A short guide published in English and Greek.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://ccheritage.wordpress.com/
 
Description Children's art workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact From early on the project, MONUMENTA liaised with Mrs. Filippa Floraka, a local artist and art teacher at Naxos in order to host a series of Children Art Workshops related to local heritage. In April 2018, MONUMENTA and Mrs. Floraka's students (yrs 5-12) co-organized a visit to the archaeological site of Portara. There we had the opportunity to discuss with children about the meanings of the past in the present and the value of heritage as a public/common good. Before the end of the visit, the children had the opportunity to draw/paint the site, thus expressing/documenting their experience of the place through art. A second visit took place in May 2018, at the Mangkakis Mansion, in Chora, a historic building. From April until August, Mrs. Floraka's class worked on the subject of 'heritage as public good' and created a rich collection (over 30) of artworks (paintings, sculptures) featuring the Portara site and other related subjects. MONUMENTA and Mrs. Floraka collected and curated a public exhibition in August 2018 at the venue that hosted the project's closing symposium.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Collegio Ghislieri, University of Pavia, Italy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation on work in progress to members of Collegio Ghislieri in Pavia. Attendees expressed interest in adopting similar methods and a new collaborative project is consequently at the planning stage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Late Antique Islands in the Mediterranean - Joukouwsky Institute, Brown University, Providence RI, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation to international workshop. Led to invitation to participate in future research and publication
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description NGT session 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact In August 2018, we designed and hosted a novel session with Naxos communities (at the Former Ursuline School, Chora Naxos) that sought to bring together, for the first time, a small but representative group of stakeholders. The group comprised representatives of the local Ephorate of Antiquities, the city council, the regional government, local NGOs and university researchers working on the island. The design of the session followed the formal of the Nominal Group Technique, a scientific method employed to facilitate collective problem-solving while also enabling researchers to collect scientific data for further analysis. During a two-hour session, the group (c.7) was encouraged to collectively develop ideas for future action and democratically decide their next course of action for the protection, promotion and enhancement of island's rural heritage.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Norwegian Institute at Athens 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation of research in progress to a diverse audience at this international institute. Questions and discussion led to suggestions for the research team and invitations for potential future collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Public dialogue meetings 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Lekakis and MONUMENTA organized two public dialogue meeting with the local communities of Naxos, at Chora (Kampanelis Museum & Former Ursuline Monastery) in April and August 2018. The public dialogue meetings hosted 5 formal public talks and 2 open dialogue between experts and community about the rural heritage of Naxos. About 50 people attended the meetings and a considerable number of them engaged actively into a debate about the role and meaning of the rural past in present reality. Open debate was recorded, transcribed, translated into English and organized into themes to inform the management document.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Radio interview, Aegean Voice FM 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact One-hour radio interview about research in progress with Aegean Voice FM (main commercial radio station serving the Greek Aegean), conducted in Greek and English.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NelVARFjSGk
 
Description Rethinking Heritage: nature, culture, landscape, University of Girona, Spain 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Workshop highlighted and debated effective strategies for sustainable development and cultural heritage, including relationships between natural and cultural heritage. Debate led to invitations to participate as expert in future events, e.g. advisory panel for development of landscape heritage strategy for regional government of Minorca in 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017