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Event Programme

Monday 14 July

16.00    Arrival and refreshments

16.30 - 18.30  Setting the scene

This session will outline key issues for the event, touching on the important challenges that colleagues in the heritage and cultural sectors are actively grappling with. For example:

  • What is the operating context?
  • How do we give a clear and compelling account of the value of heritage?
  • Are we sure of our future purpose and priorities?
  • How can we learn from each other to become more resourceful, relevant and valued, ensuring heritage is providing vital critical assets for all our futures?


There will be provocation papers associated with this session available ahead.

Conference Chair: Matthew Taylor, CEO, RSA

Introduction and welcome: Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair, Heritage Lottery Fund.

Provocations and discussion: Markets and finance commentator and Assistant Editor of the Financial Times, Gillian Tett;  Professor John Holden, Demos Associate and Visiting Professor, City University & Professor Robert Hewison, Demos Associate  and Visiting Professor, Ruskin Centre, University of Lancaster; and Professor Nick Groom, University of Exeter.

Audience QA/discussion followed by

18.30    Drinks reception, networking to 20.00, including performed readings from the Letter to an Unknown Soldier by Neil Bartlett and Kate Pullinger, a 1418 NOW commission produced in association with Free Word.


Day 2: Tuesday 15 July

08.45    Arrival and refreshments 

Session 1 

09.15   Fresh Perspectives          

Conference Chair:  Matthew Taylor, CEO, RSA

What are the new mindsets, business models, and ways of working that can best ensure a vibrant future for our heritage assets, maximising the wider contribution of the heritage sector?

Dan Corry, CEO, of New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) presents new research.

Perspectives from Dr Mike Clarke, CEO of RSPB; Dr Maria Balshaw, Director of Manchester City Galleries and the Whitworth Art Gallery and Jonathan Ruffer, Chair, Auckland Castle Trust, Investment manager and philanthropist.

10.15    Panel discussion; Audience QA

10.35    ‘In conversation’

Matthew Taylor and Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, reflecting on issues and new approaches.

There will be an opportunity for discussion and questions from the floor.

11.00    Tea and Coffee


Session 2

11.30    Tale of the Cities

It’s irrefutable that heritage plays a vital role in creating and sustaining places.  But how can heritage better serve the future of our cities and towns? Are heritage leaders actively shaping the debate about the future of our spaces and places? With the aid of some new research, undertaken by the RSA, this session will explore what role heritage could play in successful place shaping, what role does it currently play and how might we close the gap between potential and reality.

Chair, John Knell, Heritage Exchange editor and rapporteur.

Matthew Taylor will give a preview of new RSA research involving city and heritage leaders.


11.50    Perspectives and discussion/audience Q&A: Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson; Sir Howard Bernstein CEO Manchester City Council;  Bailie Liz Cameron, Glasgow City Council; Matthew Taylor.

12.50    International perspective

Professor Desmond Hui, Non-executive Director, Urban Renewal Authority, Hong Kong

13.00  Lunch


Session 3

14.10    Re-imagining heritage

Heritage professionals see themselves as stewards of critical assets for our collective future. This session explores the scope for new partnerships centred on the contribution heritage can make to core local economic and social goals. But do heritage institutions need to get better at explaining the role they already play and what potential roles exist for them in addressing social problems within communities? And would that open up new funding opportunities?

Film and discussion: Joanna Carrick, Director, Red Rose Chain

International perspective: Robert McNulty, Founder and President, Partners for Livable Communities, USA

Perspectives:  Albert Tucker, Board Member (England Vice Chair, Big Lottery Fund), Stephen Bediako, Founder & Managing Director of The Social Innovation Partnership & Co-Director of Project Oracle; Baroness Kay Andrews, author of ‘Tackling Poverty through Culture’ a recent Welsh Government report.

14.55    Panel discussion and Q&A

15.15    Tea and Coffee


Session 4

15.45    Where next?

This session is rapporteur based with contributors offering key reflections on the event and potential next steps. 

Heritage leaders, including Dr Loyd Grossman, Chair, The Heritage Alliance; Sir Laurie Magnus, Chair, English Heritage; Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair, Arts Council England; Professor Sir John Lawton, author of Making Space for Nature report and Chairman of York Museums Trust and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Deborah Mattinson, Co-Founder Britain Thinks and Carole Souter, Chief Executive Heritage Lottery Fund, will offer their views. 

The session will close with discussions with the floor and a review of propositions from day one, involving delegates in considering next steps.

16.40 - 17.00    Closing remarks, Dame Jenny Abramsky, Chair HLF


Please note, some timings may be subject to change.