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The ‘H’ word: Uncovering public perceptions on Heritage

‘Heritage’  noun [U] UK /ˈher.ɪ.tɪdʒ/  US /-t̬ɪdʒ/

Features ​belonging to the ​culture of a ​particular ​society, such as ​traditions, ​languages, or ​buildings, that were ​created in the past and still have ​historical ​importance.

In every sector, there is a distinct and specific vernacular; a complex dialect of ‘internal speak’, jargon and acronyms which are used to communicate with the public. However, sometimes it is important to take a step back, to re-evaluate what organisations think they know, and ask the public what they understand things to mean.

Unlike other words, heritage is not defined by simple guidelines, or indeed rules. The word ‘heritage’ is an umbrella term which can encompass different things for different people. To communicate effectively with the public about heritage, it is therefore important to understand what it means to them.

On Wednesday 4th November, Katharine Peacock, ComRes Managing Director, presented exclusive research at the 7th Heritage Alliance debate to 180 professionals from the heritage sector looking at what the word ‘heritage’ means to the public. The findings show that the challenges faced in the sector are profoundly unique. Heritage, for many, is intangible; while images and icons such as Stonehenge and the National Trust act as signifiers for front of mind ‘heritage’ associations, the findings show that the associations run deeper.

Read the full article on the Heritage Alliance's website