Technology strategy, management and socio-economic impact
Mcloughlin, J., Kaminski, J. and Sodagar, B. (2007) Technology strategy, management and socio-economic impact Heritage management series, 2 . Archaeolingua, Budapest, Hungary. ISBN 9789638046871
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The cultural heritage sector is facing important challenges in pursuing and sustaining its fundamental mission of protecting and preserving historic and culturally important buildings, monuments, and museums. There is an almost universal scarcity of funds for investing in cultural heritage sites. Major funding sources, such as public-sector funding bodies, have many competing demands on their budgets. In the public sector, funding bodies constantly question why extra funds should be directed at cultural heritage instead of additional funds for ‘vote-winning’ sectors such as education or health. There is a perception that heritage is a luxury compared with dealing with issues such as education, health, employment and defence. Heritage is often highly valued in cultural and social terms but policy makers increasingly seek justifi cation for allocating incremental funds on the basis of perceived socio-economic benefits. Here lies a fundamental problem for heritage – the costs of heritage are highly visible in the budgets of government funding, but the benefi ts are less visible, often intangible and diffi cult to capture in conventional terms. In the policy-making arena, where decisions concerning the allocation of funds take place, cultural heritage organisations are often ill-equipped to forward a socio-economic case for investment. Cultural heritage could be considered as an emerging, and potentially significant, industry in its own right, but attempts to evaluate and measure its socio-economic contribution are relatively under-developed. Most cultural heritage sites have not systematically developed tried-and-tested techniques or processes to evaluate their socio-economic contribution. Such sites often find themselves receiving excellent rhetorical support from policy makers and public bodies for their vital role in preservation and protection, but still struggle to attract incremental financial support that would ensure the sustainability of many cultural heritage sites. There is little doubt that the profile of heritage as a potentially important driver of socioeconomic benefi ts to communities has been increasing but the tools, methodologies, and capabilities for evaluating the socio-economic contribution are in their relative infancy. It is apparent that cultural heritage can have an impact at many levels, including economic, social, cultural, educational, and environmental. These different impacts require different methodologies and capabilities for evaluation. Priority impact evaluation areas may vary from site to site, depending on a number of factors such as stakeholder expectations, policy and funding contexts, and the underlying mission of the site. The Heritage management series is a resource for the heritage community supported by the European Commission’s EPOCH Network of Excellence, the CUBIST Research Group, and Brighton Business School. This volume provides examples and case studies of how heritage can be used to increase positive impact on both society and the economy. It is hoped that the multi-disciplinary approaches considered here will stimulate discussion and produce interesting exchanges of learning and hopefully a mutual appreciation of the contribution made by different disciplines to the development of the cultural heritage sector.
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