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Measuring the impact of heritage science

Measuring the impact of heritage science

ICCROM Forum follow up: Think-tank meeting Evaluating the Outcomes of Heritage Science

How to measure impact? Where to start?

Heritage science

Demonstrating impact is a high priority in many fields – especially those which rely on effective fundraising and public support for survival – and in recent years there has been increasing activity in this area with regard to culture and cultural heritage. However, while there is growing recognition of the importance  of evaluating outcomes and impact, at the same time there are widespread difficulties in establishing common frameworks, language and methods. In other words, although it is easy to see the merits of the exercise, it remains difficult to apply in practice.

Heritage science, like many other specialized areas of applied research with limited funding resources, is under increasing pressure to demonstrate its relevance and delivery of benefit. This issue was highlighted during the 2013 ICCROM Forum on Conservation Science, which in its findings called for data gathering to evidence the outcomes of heritage science and their wider impact.

As a first step to tackle this issue, a think tank meeting was held at ICCROM on 9-10 July, gathering together participants from heritage science, social sciences, and cultural heritage statistics. The aim was to gain a clearer picture of methods used in other areas to evaluate needs and outcomes, and to explore the possibilities for applying these in a systematic and structured way to heritage science.

Key discussion points included at what levels and on what dimensions to focus, how this could work at international level, and how this could serve to enhance the relevance, visibility and strategic impact of heritage science.

Building upon the recommendations of this meeting, over the coming months ICCROM will undertake preliminary research in this area and develop a proposal for a two year pilot project to assess the feasibility of developing tools and collecting data to assess the impacts of heritage science.

Astrid Brandt-Grau (Ministry of Culture and Communication, France)
Agnes Brokerhof (Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE), The Netherlands)
Maartje de Boer (Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE), The Netherlands)
Luisa Errichiello (Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS)-CNR, Italy)
Stavroula Golfomitsou (University College London Qatar (UCL Qatar), UK/Qatar)
Jianyun Li (Tsinghua University NHC-THU, China)
Hans Mestdagh (European Heritage Heads Forum)
Stefan Michalski (Canadian Conservation Institute, Canada)
Austin Nevin (IIC)
Petros Pashiardis (Open University of Cyprus, Cyprus)
Luca Pezzati (INO CNR, Italy)
Elena Ragazzi (IRCrES– Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth, CNR, Italy)
David Saunders (Conservation and heritage science consultant, UK)
Antonio Tintori (IRPPS – Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione e le Politiche Sociali, CNR, Italy)

Catherine Antomarchi
Alison Heritage
Theo Katrakazis
Katriina Similä