August's #builtheritage twitter chat focused on under-served communities and how to reach those communities. The chat included great discussion and a couple of interesting side debates about the term preservation. The complete chat transcript can be found here. Next month's #builtheritage chat is slated for September 7th at 4pm and the tentative topic is collaboration.
The first portion of this month's chat focused on the question Who are preservation messages/sites/programs usually aimed towards? A lot of the responses suggested that preservation messages are often aimed towards the previously converted, and those already interested in preservation. There was also a discussion of what age groups of people are generally involved in heritage preservation. Some of the comments suggested that a lot of the 'official' type groups are aimed at retirees. However, @Wanderu noted that "Community blogs have resulted in a big increase in awareness of heritage and history amongst younger folks"
The second part of the chat dealt with What communities are being under served by the preservation movement? Responses mentioned immigrant communities, youth, rural populations, and low income areas. It was also pointed out that heritage and preservation needs to be made relevant to these communities and that appealing to emotion, telling a story, and engaging communities is essential.
The third segment of the chat highlighted How can you determine what will best serve that community? Suggestions included: listening to the community, being sensitive to needs, and combine education and consultation. A number of participants (@delaneyhf, @BuildingRevival, and @chouse17, @uglyshirt) also mentioned the importance of community engagement and the need to to include heritage in the planning stages).
The conclusion of the chat focused on the question of How can you connect with these groups? The responses in this section mirror the discussion earlier in the chat. Responses reaffirmed the importance of education, consultation, making people aware of resources, and finding common ground. The rural area of Tamworth Ontario was put forth by @ Wanderu as an example of engaging rural communities. @PresNation also mentioned the work that @laconservancy is doing at Wyvernwood as a good example of engagement.