A survey to gather data which would provide a baseline level of awareness of research frameworks, as well as themes and topics for discussion our Autumn 2017 workshops, was sent out to the built heritage sector in England in the summer of 2017. It was open from 18th July until 25th August and during that time 1246 people opened the survey link, with 441 fully completing the survey.
This HistBEKE survey built on the results of research undertaken by Pye Tait in 2014 as part of a review of research frameworks, which included a similar online survey that achieved 436 responses.
One conclusion of the Pye Tait analysis was that broadening research frameworks to include the built environment would be welcomed, but the structure of the resulting framework would need to meet a diverse range of needs. The HistBEKE project takes this recommendation forward and attempted to discover those needs within the baseline survey and our Autumn 2017 focus group workshops.
A report outlining the results of this survey has been published on our website here: https://histbeke.org/project_documents/
The key findings, however, are as follows:
- The majority of those who responded to the survey are aware of research frameworks, but only just under a third have used them in their work
- Research Frameworks are most commonly used for: assessing significance, focussing research, defining project briefs or specifications, and when contributing to management or conservation plans.
- The building types that are most commonly the focus of respondents’ work are also those which they felt would benefit from additional research
- Other themes and topics identified as those which would benefit from additional research included: building survey/recording/research, historic building conservation, and materials science/analysis
- There is overall agreement that a framework for the built historic environment would be of benefit to the sector, enhancing in particular areas of work such as assessing significance and preparing heritage statements
- Almost all respondents (97%) agreed that the framework should be an online resource
The results of this survey fed into the discussion topics at the focus group workshops held across England in the Autumn of 2017, a summary of which can be found here: https://histbeke.org/project_documents/
These survey results and the recommendations that came out of the focus groups workshops will form the basis of the recommendations that the project team make for the development of the framework. Before these are finalised, however, they will be consulted on as part of a follow-up survey in the Spring of 2018, and the final recommendations following this will also be available as a draft document for comment via our website before being confirmed and submitted to Historic England.
In the meantime, however, we would be grateful for your feedback on this summary, particularly in relation to the identified knowledge gaps. If you would like to make any comments on these, or the project in general, please send them to Stella (firstname.lastname@example.org), or get in touch with us via Twitter on @HistBEKE.