LHSF Poster - Panel Talk 25 January 2024

Great turnout for first in new series of student-led heritage events

Event report: Whose Story, Whose Heritage? County, Country, and Beyond.

25 January, 2024

LHSF events poster: Whose Heritage? County, Country, and Beyond.

LHSF Events Poster for 25th January, 2024: ‘Whose Heritage? County, Country, and Beyond.’

I’m pleased to write that the Lincolnshire Heritage Student Forum (LHSF) successfully hosted its first panel talk event in several months: ‘Whose Story, Whose Heritage? County, Country, and Beyond’. This insightful and open panel discussion welcomed Sarah Grundy (Senior Historic Environment Officer for Projects), and Rebecca Craven (Project Development Officer for Historic Places), both with Lincolnshire County Council, to discuss contested heritage issues in an informal manner, illuminating the theme perfectly.

The hybrid event was hosted at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) on a typically chilly late-January evening, but it was well-attended (online and in the room). A mixture of students and academics from BGU and the University of Lincoln formed an engaged audience, and it was encouraging to welcome attendees from Lincoln’s two universities.

Finding the perfect host

It is a daunting prospect putting on an event, as this first-timer learned, but I found a trusted ally in Dr Erik Grigg (Lecturer in History, BGU). Erik not only helped with finding a suitable location and encouraged BGU students to attend, but also acted as event host, a role in which he seemed enthusiastically comfortable. Leading the discussions with humour, Erik drew out insightful questions from the attendees, and prompted the speakers to share their understanding of the unique challenges that contested heritage presents to the sector. He also guided the discussion to enable the audience to understand how progress with projects is achievable in the face of these challenges.

Navigating the political

Through my own studies, I am learning that heritage is an intensely political subject, internationally, nationally, and locally. Understanding how heritage practitioners make pragmatic choices was useful to hear, and the audience really appreciated the openness with which Sarah and Rebecca shared their experiences. Specifically, they addressed how they must find working solutions to heritage problems as representatives of the local authority, especially around funding issues, but also with topics that illicit controversy and conflicting ways of thinking. If there was advice given, then aiming for progress, rather than perfection, would be an excellent way to summarise it as an important take-away for anyone new to the heritage sector.

LHSF events poster: Hosted by Dr Erik Grigg at Bishop Grosseteste University

Hosted by Dr Erik Grigg at Bishop Grosseteste University

Sharing the pragmatic

Sarah and Rebecca drew their experiences from fitting examples, including work to engage more young people across Lincolnshire with its heritage, and projects further afield at the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull relating to complicated slavery narratives. Sarah and Rebecca also engaged in broader discussion around ‘culture wars’, Black Lives Matter, and approaches to contested heritage that have been witnessed in recent times. At one point too, there was reference to Professor Dan Hicks’ ‘The Brutish Museums’, which through my learning around contested heritage, I am finding is almost obligatory.

It was a well-received event, and the LHSF is grateful to Sarah, Rebecca, and Erik, for giving their time, sharing their knowledge and experience, and making it so successful. Also, a thank you to Natalie Brimcome-Mills, Heather Hughes, and Tom Kitchen is due for whispering helpful support in my ear and assisting with poster creation.

What’s next?

The LHSF looks forward to further events from March onwards, and details of these will be shared shortly. If you would like to keep abreast of our next events, or learn about heritage jobs, news, and discussion in Lincolnshire and beyond, please join our Facebook group, or contact us here.

Paul Baguley (LHSF)

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