Blackpool A Heritage Hotspot

Having deprivation and other social issues doesn’t stop an area from being a major player in heritage terms.  That’s the conclusion of a new report from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts*).  And proving this Blackpool is among the big hitters in the north west, and in the top quartile nationally, on figures they have published today in the 2016 Heritage Index.

The report includes overall rankings, based on sub-rankings on heritage assets and heritage activities.  Blackpool features in the overall top 10, and is sixth highest in the north west for the heritage activities available.  Near neighbour Wyre also features in the overall north west top ten, whilst both Fylde and Wyre are in the activity top ten giving a notable Fylde Coast hat trick.

The RSA identified have identified five ‘Networked Heritage’ principles, which will enable places to better use heritage to differentiate themselves:

  • Start with people – Embed heritage in the routine of people’s daily life.
  • Heritage is what you choose to make it – Use assets in new ways and identify new assets.
  • Go beyond yesterday’s battles – Make an offer, rather than an ask.
  • Open up and lead change – Think critically about power and leadership.
  • Make heritage your local USP: Go beyond a strategy for heritage, inform the strategy for place.

Author of the 2016 Heritage Index, RSA Associate Director, Jonathan Schifferes said:

“The RSA Heritage Index is a bid to bring together the amazing range of heritage data, but which local communities might find hard to access or evaluate – and in many cases won’t even know exist.

It enables places to understand their relative strengths and weaknesses across the broadest range of heritage measures, helping places make decisions about where to focus their efforts to reflect what is distinctive.

Our wider research shows that heritage and identity are intimately linked, but these links are strongest where the public are involved in heritage as volunteers and activists, and where strong networks reinforce the value of these contributions – we call this ‘networked heritage’.”

If this has piqued your interest the underlying data for the survey is freely available here and the maps can be found here.

* Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce to give its’ Sunday best title.

Featured image courtesy of Jill Reidy.

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