APPENDIX 1: POST-PUBLICATION SEMINAR |
Notes of the post-publication seminar held at
the House of Lords, 23 November 2006
The participants were: Baroness Sharp of Guildford
(Chairman), Lord Broers, Lord Chorley, Lord Redesdale, Professor May
Cassar (Specialist Adviser), Christopher Johnson (Clerk), Cathleen
Schulte (Committee Specialist), Chris Batt (Museums, Libraries
and Archives Council), Nancy Bell (National Archives), Leslie
Carlyle (Tate), Ben Cowell (DCMS), Michael Dixon (Natural History
Museum), Edward Impey (Director of Research, English Heritage),
Tony McEnery (Arts and Humanities Research Council), David Leigh
(Institute of Conservation), Eric May (University of Portsmouth),
Mark Pollard (Oxford University), Nick Poole (Museums Documentation
Association), David Saunders (British Museum), Helen Shenton (British
Library), Sarah Staniforth (National Trust), Jim Tate (National
Museums of Scotland) and Heather Viles (Oxford University).
Baroness Sharp of Guildford introduced the report
and summarised the main findings, before inviting comments.
The report was welcomed by all participants, some
of whom expressed the hope that it would prove to be a turning
point for the heritage sector. In particular there was broad consensus
on the following:
- The principles of sustainability
should be applied in the heritage sector, and the desire to widen
public access could not be dissociated from the need to conserve
our cultural heritage. The IIC would host a conference on access
and conservation in London in September 2008.
- There should be a national strategy, or linked
strategies with co-ordinated priorities, for heritage science,
bringing together what was currently a fragmented field.
- The Research Councils should seek to establish
a baseline for funding of heritage science.
- DCMS should appoint a physical or natural scientist
to act as Chief Scientific Adviser, and the appointee should co-ordinate
the development of the proposed national strategy. A report on
the terms of appointment was likely to be presented to the Permanent
Secretary in February 2007.
- English Heritage could well provide administrative
support for the strategy, but would need additional resources
to support this task.
- The "bottom-up" approach to developing
priorities was the right way forward. In many cases the information
on conservation needs was already available at this level, but
- Progress was already being made, and would be
pursued further, on a national framework of standards for ICT
services, involving The National Archives, and MDA. The National
Archives, the MLA and MDA, and JISC, were developing a national
framework for digitisation.
Concerns were expressed in particular areas:
- New funding would not necessarily
be available from DCMS, particularly given the forthcoming Comprehensive
- The leadership role of the AHRC could create
problems, given the high level of funding required to support
scientific research. However, AHRC was already in the process
of formalising cross-Council funding arrangements, accepted the
principle of full economic costs, and would explore the possibility
of calling on additional expertise to manage heritage science
as a distinct area of research.
- The model of "end-user led" research
should not be allowed to undermine the engagement of university
scientists with the Research Assessment Exercise.
- The focus on national bodies and strategy should
not lead to neglect of the thousands of smaller bodies, museums,
churches, charities and so on.
- Support from DCMS and OSI would be crucial if
the sector was to take the recommendations forward.
- Funding for education and training within universities
needed to be reviewed. Although the research councils were aware
of the need to work on this area, the fact that many university
archaeology departments were funded as arts and humanities departments
was having an adverse impact on the availability of resources
to train heritage scientists.