THE VALUE AND IMPACT OF HERITAGE A PROPOSAL FOR WEST BELFAST
PRESENTED BY DR.MIGUEL GONZALEZ
Breochloch Laboratory of Creative Heritage is a Social Enterprise specialising in social development and research for communities and small businesses drawing on heritage resources
We aim to become your first stop for thoughthul
transformational news about Heritage and communities
BREOCHLOCH LCH offers support and advice to community groups who want to take on heritage projects that deal with the key themes of conservation, access improvement,and interpretation. We will provide training in a range of skills tailored to the needs of each group. This includes survey and recording; documentary research; project management; fundraising; hosting educational events, and interpretive planning you name it, we provide it, or else find someone who can! The real benefit of our approach is the symbiosis between monument and community. The monument itself is conserved, celebrated and interpreted for the future, and the act of participating in the project brings the group together with new skills and confidence, and a real sense of ownership of the heritage on its doorstep. The interpretive side of Breochloch poses real challenges for communities. They need to achieve two things which at first seem mutually exclusive enabling the individual experience or ‘feel’ of a monument to be enjoyed freely without too much prescription; but also making it as physically and intellectually accessible as possible.
BREOCHLOCH Laboratory of Creative Heritage is working hard to make West Belfast's past accessible and enjoyable for everyone, this includes helping communities to care for the heritage that belongs to us all. Many archaeological sites and monuments across our community are in need of care and maintenance but few have owners with the resources to make this happen. Equally, there are people who wish to step in to do something to help protect these monuments for the future and to increase our understanding of them.
Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage (ICOMOS, 2002). As part of human activity Cultural Heritage produces tangible representations of the value systems, beliefs, traditions and lifestyles. As an essential part of culture as a whole, Cultural Heritage, contains these visible and tangible traces form antiquity to the recent past. Today, we find that heritage is not only manifested through tangible forms such as artefacts, buildings or landscapes but also through intangible forms. Intangible heritage includes voices, values, traditions, oral history. Popularly this is perceived through cuisine, clothing, forms of shelter, traditional skills and technologies, religious ceremonies, performing arts, storytelling. Today, we consider the tangible heritage inextricably bound up with the intangible heritage. In conservation projects we aim to preserve both the tangible as well as the intangible heritage.
Heritage sites and buildings can have a very positive influence on many aspects of the way a community develops. Regeneration, housing, education, economic growth and community engagement are examples of the ways in which heritage can make a very positive contribution to community life. This is because: • The historic environment is a proven source of benefit to local economies, particularly through tourism. • An attractive heritage environment assists in attracting external investment as well as maintaining existing businesses of all types, not just tourismrelated. • People are very proud of their local history, but don’t always express how much they value a place until it’s threatened. Because it adds character and distinctiveness to an area, heritage is a fundamental in creating a ‘sense of place’ for a community. • Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings is an important factor in creating sustainable communities. • Heritage buildings add value to regeneration projects, both in terms the economic and environmental advantage of reuse over new build and in adding character to a precinct. • Heritage places can be a potent driver for community action. • Increased community values and greater social inclusion can be achieved through a focus on heritage matters.
• The heritage places are an excellent local educational resource for people of all ages. Learning about the history of a place is a good way of bringing communities together through a shared understanding of the unique cultural identity heritage places give to an area. Areas, where the heritage is understood and valued, tend to be better looked after than those where heritage items have no link with the community. Such links help to foster civic responsibility and citizenship and contribute to everyone’s quality of life.
HERITAGE VALUES #SOCIALIZINGHERITAGE
REGENERATION/ DEVELOPMENT # High growth business are attracted by historic places. # Listed buildings often generate higher commercial value. # Investing in the historic environment generates economic returns for local places.
TOURISM # Heritage based tourism makes a significant contribution to Belfast and Ireland. # Heritage attractions boost local economies. #Heritage es critical to the ongoing success of tourism as an export industry.
EDUCATION/ SKILLS # Learning about Heritage can promote lifelong engagement with our environment. # Interaction with the local historic environment helps young people develops important general skills. # Historic environment construction skills are critical to maintaining our special places.
SENSE OF PLACE # People value the historic environment in their local place and agree it improves quality of life. #People who live in areas with greater historic environment are likely to have stronger sense of place. #Investment in the historic environment raises pride in areas and encourage social interactions
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT # Involvement in Heritage aids personal development. # Heritage develops connections between people and groups in local areas. # Involvement in Heritage projects can improve people's sense of worth and selfesteem.
QUALITY OF LIFE # Visiting Heritage sites has a significant impact on health, education, wellbeing and life satisfaction. #Heritage volunteering can improve mental health and wellbeing.