Research Report

Report and Recommendations on Strategies for Engaging Young Adults in the Historic Environment



Silber E, Noble R, Oram R, Johnson I & Martin C (2009) Report and Recommendations on Strategies for Engaging Young Adults in the Historic Environment. Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland. Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland.

This report is submitted by HEACS, the Historic Environment Advisory Council for Scotland, which was established in 2003 to provide Scottish Ministers with strategic advice on issues affecting the historic environment. In its second term HEACS was asked by Scottish Ministers: 'What strategies could be developed for attracting young adults to get engaged in protecting, conserving, understanding and enjoying the historic environment?' Young adults have been defined for the purposes of this report as those aged between 16 and 24 inclusive. Research was commissioned from Applejuice Consultants in 2008 to identify case studies, from the UK, Europe and North America, of good practice and successful outcomes in engaging young adults in the historic environment, with a view to assessing which approaches might be most applicable in Scotland. The case studies report should be read in conjunction with this report and has also been submitted to the Minister. The wording of the task set for HEACS implies that young adults are insufficiently engaged in the historic environment. HEACS sought to test this assumption by gathering baseline data on young adults' involvement. This proved surprisingly difficult. The lack of data is a problem in itself, and there is also a lack of consistency in the data that has been collected. There is a need to improve baseline data in order to monitor trends and evaluate the impact of policies, strategies and initiatives. A number of recommendations are made to address this issue. In Scotland we have an annual cohort of 50-55,000 young Scots making a total of about 450,000 within the 16-24 age range (inclusive) at any one time. Young adults therefore form a significant proportion of the population of Scotland.

Publication date31/05/2009
PublisherHistoric Environment Advisory Council for Scotland
Publisher URL

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Professor Richard Oram
Professor Richard Oram

Professor, History