Sector Seminar Day: 29th June

On 29th June we held a seminar day at our London Campus for members of our mailing list, and selected invitees from national organisations, including amenity societies and higher education institutes (universities).

The seminar day was a chance for people from across the sector to discuss how the knowledge exchange and research agenda might be taken forward once this development phase has ended. It also allowed us to give everyone an update on what we’ve been doing, including the results of the follow up survey (additional blog post to follow, watch this space!).

In the morning delegates had the opportunity to hear more about the HistBEKE project and how the framework will work, including some of our key research results and recommendations for the knowledge exchange and research agenda. For the research agenda in particular, over lunch everyone was asked to consider the most commonly identified knowledge gaps coming out of all the research that we’ve done so far. They were then asked to ‘vote’ on how most strongly they believed a topic should be included in the framework as a research priority.

Work is still being done on this, but the most commonly identified topics so far include:

  • Domestic Buildings
  • Places of Worship
  • Agricultural Buildings
  • Industrial Buildings
  • Street Furniture / Public Realm
  • 20th Century Industrial Heritage, incl Industrial Estates
  • Makeshift Housing / Hovels
  • Worker’s Buildings – Housing / Institutes / Clubs
  • Transport – tube stations, train stations, bus garages, horse transport
  • Buildings resulting from interwar town planning
  • Theatres, cinemas and entertainment buildings
  • Water management structures (e.g. dams) & their infrastructure
  • Non-designated Heritage
  • Significance
  • Buildings at risk & predicting future risks
  • Townscape character / assemblages/ setting & landscape
  • Change in use
  • Non-traditional building materials
  • Building Information Management
  • Conservation Philosophy & balancing interests
  • Craft Skills
  • Historical Associations / Social History of Buildings
  • Responses to Climate Change
  • Interiors / fixtures & fittings

The ‘winner’ on the day with the highest number of votes was ‘historical association / social history of buildings’. Attendees were also asked to add any comments, ideas and suggestions in relation to the topics, such as specific elements of a building type that might be prioritised, or any suggested research questions. If you have any comments about the themes and topics on the list above, or would like to see something added to it, do let us know.

Voting Sheet Picture

After lunch we heard from a number of other groups and organisations about the work that they’re doing. These included a presentation on the research strategy being developed by English Heritage; the research priorities for the Association of Industrial Archaeologists; an insight into how those in academia might make use of the framework; and an introduction to the new online, open access bibliographic database that the Construction History Society have developed.

The future of HistBEKE was discussed at the end of the day, with lots of ideas and suggestions for how we might take it forward, how to fund it, and who might be involved.  The idea in the original project brief for HistBEKE was that a network or community of practice would take the framework forwards once it had been developed during this current project. The framework is intended to be online and open access but some aspects of it, such as adding new research topics/questions and removing those that have been actioned, would need a small amount of moderation/agreement. The discussion session therefore focussed on four key areas:

Topic Discussion questions
Taking it forwards ·     How do we manage/moderate the research agenda?

·     Who should be involved in this?

·     Are there any organisations not here today that we should try to get on board?

Collaboration ·     What opportunities for collaboration might the framework provide?

·     How can this be managed or facilitated?

·     How could organisations / groups use the framework to find out about collaborative opportunities?

Networks ·     As per our project brief, should a network or community of practice be created?

·     How would the network meet? Would it be online? In person? Via Social Media?

·     Are there any examples of similar networks / forums / communities of practice that work really well?

Management ·     Where should the Research Agenda sit? With an organisation, a group/society, somewhere else?

·     Who / which organisation should provide the backbone to the network?

·     Which organisations should be the main players?

·     Who should fund it?

If you have your own thoughts on any of these questions, do send them into Stella Jackson at

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