Report - Day 2

This is a draft report of Day 2 of the Liverpool Reconnections Conference on 20 October sponsored by Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and its heritage partners National Historic Ships (NHS), Transport Trust (TT) and the Association of British Transport and Engineering Museums (ABTEM) and supported by Liverpool, Belfast and Cardiff City Councils together with Titanic Hotel and Signature Living.  Following Day 1's discussion of innovative historic waterfront regeneration and development, the focus of Day 2 was on Sustainability of the Industrial, Maritime and Transport Heritage - ships and boats, road, rail and industrial. The heritage sponsors will be taking forward the Conference action points including establishing a North West IMT support group and looking at how this approach might be extended to other regions in due course.

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The Conference highlighted 3 key priorities which were mentioned in most of the papers / discussion groups throughout the day:

More effective working together and learning from others;

Keeping skills alive by new training schemes and succession planning and attracting new generations;

Focusing on long-term sustainability both of the artefact and thinking through what preservation is for – often overlooked when faced with the difficult task of simply getting conservation work funded. 


Action Points for the heritage sponsor bodies

  • Continue to look for closer connections with heritage cities (such as Liverpool, Belfast, Cardiff), as well as with local authorities and other groups outside our immediate heritage sphere
  • Publish exemplars of best practice / sound business models developed by heritage groups for cross sector learning. Provide more opportunities for sector networking such as conferences of this kind to foster partnership work and reduce fragmentation of the sector. Talk with the built and natural environment sectors to facilitate sharing of examples of best practice
  • Learn from the railway sector which has developed a more cohesive approach to link the otherwise disparate heritage groups
  • Roll out regional networks more widely, starting with the North-West
  • Act as a support mechanism for the sector, providing grant application advice, guidance on funding sources (including crowd funding), project planning, promotion, social media and sharing examples of best practice
  • Consider ways to address the identified skills gap in museums as those with specialist knowledge retire
  • Become a stronger voice for the sector and a point of communication with funding bodies, local and national government
  • Work more closely together to build a bank of tourism / economic data showing economic value of IMT heritage sector. 
  • Work more closely with European networks and organizations and provide information on these to the sector
  • Encourage and facilitate introduction of young people to the sector


Action points for IMT preservation and heritage projects

  • Tackle organisation and knowledge gaps by encouraging networking / sharing ideas / partnerships to help with match-funding and skills development with other heritage and non-heritage organizations
  • Talk to funders as well as to other heritage groups – don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Seek pre-application advice from funding and umbrella bodies
  • Be friendly and accessible to engage more with young people
  • Don’t fight new technology - in an IPAD world use social media and other tools to reach new audiences
  • Give young people responsibility and make projects inspiring / fun, use social media to attract them and look to the future to pass on skills
  • Give higher priority to working with and managing volunteers
  • Understand the challenges you are facing.  Develop a realistic and viable business plan to help secure funding and ensure the long-term future of the project is feasible.
  • Develop a strong governance structure
  • Make sure you fully understand what you are conserving and its significance and the appropriate conservation route
  • Work more closely with your umbrella body and turn to them for guidance, advice and networking opportunities.

Sir Neil Cossons, former director of Science Museum and National Maritime Museum, was the introductory keynote speaker. His thought provoking comments can be read in full here.

The full Conference Report is now available to download - PDF 23pages 1mb here

THE MARITIME HERITAGE TRUST Company No.01175051  Charity No. 268609