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Social Value Toolkit



Robson E (2021) Social Value Toolkit. [Website] 09.06.2021.

This Social Value Toolkit has been developed principally to help guide heritage practitioners working within institutional contexts who need to understand the social values associated with the historic environment as part of their work. Social value has become increasingly prominent in recent decades as a key component in understanding and managing the historic environment. The significance of historic places to contemporary communities, including people’s sense of identity, belonging, and attachment, is reflected in international conservation instruments, as well as domestic heritage frameworks in Scotland and the UK. In spite of this widespread recognition of the importance of community engagement, realities on the ground – of limited resources and increasing demand – have resulted in an implementation gap when it comes to incorporating social values and community knowledge into practice. This Toolkit aims to support the assessment of social values by providing practical guidance, based on the implementation of methods in real world contexts. It is intended to be a flexible resource, that allows for bespoke responses to individual contexts. No two cases, and therefore no two assessments, will be the same. Rather than prescribing universal solutions, the Toolkit guides users to consider key questions and potential options, with examples and tips based on existing case studies.

Heritage; Social Value; Qualitative Research; Rapid Assessment; Participatory; Collaborative; Heritage Management

The collaborative doctoral project that led to this toolkit was funded by the University of Stirling and Historic Environment Scotland under a MATCH PhD Studentship. The research project team included Siân Jones (University of Stirling), Judith Anderson (Historic Environment Scotland), Peter Matthews (University of Stirling), and Karen Robertson (Historic Environment Scotland), who acted as supervisors of the underlying PhD. The website is archived at:

Type of mediaWebsite
ContributorsProfessor Sian Jones, Professor Peter Matthews
FundersHistoric Environment Scotland
Publication date09/06/2021
PublisherUniversity of Stirling
Publisher URL

People (3)


Professor Sian Jones

Professor Sian Jones

Professor of Heritage, History

Professor Peter Matthews

Professor Peter Matthews

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Dr Elizabeth Robson

Dr Elizabeth Robson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, History