Community Heritage in a (Post)COVID World

The events of the past two years drastically changed how Scotland’s heritage groups engage with audiences.

As COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing kept people separated and at-home, online audiences skyrocketed. Community heritage organisations had to pivot to new and often unfamiliar digital platforms, and could struggle with digitally engaging volunteers.

Amidst all of the changes brought on by the pandemic, summer 2020 also saw thousands of people across the globe take to the streets to protest against racial inequality. In Scotland, buildings, monuments, public spaces and street names became a touchstone for discussions and renewed calls for action on racism, slavery, empire and colonialism. Community heritage organisations have been wrestling with how to address these topics.

Whilst the rapid changes of the last two years have posed challenges, they pose equally exciting opportunities: increased online engagement and inclusion can help ensure that the heritage sector represents and reaches more of Scotland’s people.

On 25 February, the Scottish Civic Trust hosted a free Zoom event for community heritage organisations to explore how to engage audiences in our (post)COVID world. Our expert speakers discussed developing micro-volunteering roles, using social media to promote heritage and diversifying heritage audiences and volunteers. You can watch recordings of the talks below.

This event was hosted by the Scottish Civic Trust’s My Place Mentoring programme, which supported community groups across Scotland develop the skills, knowledge and connections needed to get their heritage projects off the ground. The event marked the end of the programme, which came to a close in February 2022 after a successful three year run.

Setting the scene: Findings from the My Place Mentoring evaluation – Jamie Buttrick, Director, JB Research

Micro-volunteering for heritageDr Susan O’Connor, Director, Scottish Civic Trust

Using social media to promote heritage – Erin Burke, Communications and Events Officer, Scottish Civic Trust

Co-creating heritage projects with marginalised people – Jen Novotny, Diverse Heritage Officer, Scottish Civic Trust