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Encouraging Participation

Trends in participation

It is important to understand who, why and how people participate in the historic environment. Participation can range from visiting a site to helping save a building at risk. Research has looked at people’s motivations for getting involved in the historic environment, and the barriers to participation.

 Some key resources are:

  • Mapping Leisure report
  • Visiting the Past report
  • Economic drivers of attendance to heritage sites (CEBR) (2007)
  • Broadening Access to the Historic Environment – Understanding families from lower socio-economic groups (2009)

A family group consult an information board at a stately home
A family group consult an information board at a stately home © Historic England

Mapping Leisure report

The Mapping Leisure report uses visualisation techniques to create a series of Taking Part data graphics. The graphics show participation levels, demographics and connections between 100+ cultural and sporting activities, including heritage. The report interprets the graphics and discusses questions they raise.

Visiting the Past report

Visiting the Past analyses the factors which affect people’s likelihood of visiting three kinds of historic sites:

  • Historic parks and gardens
  • Historic places of worship
  • Monuments, castles and ruins

It looks at the probability of visiting these sites relative to demographics, other activities and social circumstances. The research is based on statistical analysis of visiting patterns of 25,000+ people surveyed by Taking Part.

Economic drivers of attendance to heritage sites (2007)

In 2007, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) produced a model which can be used to explain attendance and non-attendance at site. They used social, economic and geographical data collected in the Taking Part Survey. The research found that:

  • Owning a vehicle has the strongest relationship with whether or not a person attends a heritage site.
  • People from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to attend heritage sites.
  • If an individual is in good health they are more likely to visit a heritage site.

Broadening Access to the Historic Environment (2009)

Further qualitative research was commissioned at Bolsover Castle to explore the trends identified in 2007 by CEBR. Broadening Access to the Historic Environment – Understanding families from lower socio-economic groups looked at:

  • Visitors’ expectations of the heritage ‘offer’.
  • Reasons for participating or not participating in heritage sites.
  • What visitors would like to see in future.

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Contact

Adala Leeson

Head of Social and Economic Research

Engagement Group

External links