New international conference considers value of cultural heritage

New international conference considers value of cultural heritage

Does cultural heritage really matter? Can it help improve towns and cities, and does it have a social impact on its citizens? What counts as cultural heritage tomorrow, and how will new technologies play a role in the visitor experience? A new international conference examining these key issues will be held in Norwich, UK in November 2012, bringing hundreds of international delegates from the cultural heritage sector to the historic city.

The conference, Culture Matters 2012, is being organised by the Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) and will take place over 14 – 16 November at venues across the historic city, including the iconic Norwich 12 buildings.

Culture Matters 2012 examines the social and economic value of cultural heritage, and whether it can boost the educational and life prospects of citizens. The conference will also explore new ways of working at a time of economic austerity and funding constraints, and will feature case studies such as the Norwich 12, Ghent 12 and the Liverpool 2008 European Capital of Culture experience. Speakers already confirmed include Charles Landry, Urbanist and Founder of Comedia, and Digital and Outreach Consultants Jonathan Drori and Dominic Tinley, as well as speakers from Audiences London, Kids in Museums, Culture 24 and Philharmonia Orchestra. The conference is aimed at practitioners and academics who work in heritage, culture, tourism, regeneration, planning and community organisations, including fundraisers, project managers, development managers, engagement and outreach managers, marketing managers, policy-makers, budget-holders, politicians and researchers.

As well as thought-provoking speakers, seminars and case studies, delegates will get the chance to explore Norwich’s culture and heritage, with special access to the city’s most outstanding historic buildings. There will also be an exciting programme of cultural activities, exhibitions and entertainment for delegates set in iconic heritage venues.

The conference will provide a platform for delegates from across Europe to share knowledge, challenges and ideas. Practitioners and academics are invited to submit abstracts that explore the themes of social and economic value of cultural heritage; technological developments in the sector; cultural heritage tomorrow; marketing; cultural heritage as regeneration driver; new audience development, and income generation. For more information on the call for papers, visit Abstracts (300 words maximum) should be sent to Janet Robertson,, by 20th April 2012. Decisions will be made by 4th May 2012.

Culture Matters 2012 is an initiative of the EU-project SHAPING 24, a collaboration between HEART in the UK and Stad Gent in Belgium. The project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme 2007-2013.

Michael Loveday, Chief Executive of HEART, said: “This new international conference will bring together professionals from the cultural heritage community and beyond to look at the social and economic value of heritage. It is also a fantastic opportunity to communicate the findings of the SHAPING 24 project, share best practice with our international colleagues and to showcase Norwich’s heritage and culture to a global audience.”

For more information on Culture Matters 2012 visit www.shaping24eu/conference. The full programme will be announced when booking opens at the end of May. If you would like to be notified as soon as the full programme is announced and booking opens, please email

National businesses are invited to get involved with the conference, and several different sponsorship and exhibitor packages are available to target the international audience. For more details, please contact Lindsey Roffe, HEART’s partnership manager on  or 01603 599579.