Engaging with Policy in the UK: Responding to Changes in Planning, Heritage and the Arts – review of Rescue’s conference

On 27th October over 100 delegates filled the lecture room at the Institute of Archaeology to take part in a day conference hosted jointly by Rescue and the Arts and Humanities Research Council entitled ‘Engaging with Policy in the UK’.

Following a welcome and introduction from the organiser and Rescue secretary Hana Morel, Lord Renfrew delivered a key-note lecture that provided the historical background to the legislative and policy context and outlined the issues and challenges that we face. Not least of these is the risk of loss of heritage protection during the Brexit process, not as a deliberate act but merely because it is not adequately considered during the transfer of legislation. This thought provoking lecture was followed by presentations from a wide range of speakers from different fields and yet whose experiences offered much that we can learn from.

These included a review from the Woodland Trust of how they managed to get the National Planning Policy Framework wording changed to address their concerns, the view from Cardiff City Council as they used heritage to add value to the city regeneration and an example of how culture can be used to heal and help people in trouble.

The day culminated in a panel discussion that included Rescue’s Chair, Jude Plouviez. The Institute was the perfect venue; we were kept well fed and watered in the breaks and took advantage of the opportunity to network and view the current displays.

This is just a taster of a day that included a wide variety of stimulating presentations, which ensured that what might seem like a dry topic was absorbing and inspiring.  A full review will appear in Rescue News in early Spring. It is a testament to the success and impact of the conference that Hana has been invited to put a proposal together for a guest edition for ‘The Historic Environment: Policy and Practice’.


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