Partners of SoPHIA are currently conducting consultations with stakeholders in their home countries. Roma Tre University gathered participants on 5 October in Rome, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) on 15 October, and the Institute of Arts, Design and Technology (IADT) on 16 November in Dublin. The aims of the consultations are, on the one hand, to share the initial research carried out by SoPHIA with key stakeholders from the academia as well as with policy-makers and practitioners; and, on the other, to collect their input on the methodology and content of the draft assessment model of interventions in historical environment and cultural heritage.
Diverse issues were highlighted by partners during the consultations: the process that led to the first scientific output, the Review of Research Literature, Policy Programmes and (good and bad) Practices. The report features the recent literature that tackles the issue of evaluations of interventions in cultural heritage across the cultural, social, economic and environmental domains; the holistic draft impact assessment model that SoPHIA has proposed; approaches to the research on the case studies where the model is being tested; and the survey recently addressed to stakeholders on good and bad cultural heritage assessment practices, among others.
Stakeholders expressed that the model that SoPHIA is currently developing can potentially become a useful and powerful tool both for practitioners and policy-makers, and congratulated the team for the holistic approach proposed that records and then evaluates interventions in cultural heritage by considering the four pillars of sustainable development and resilience of a place, with the use of quantitative and qualitative criteria, “such contemporary tools are becoming increasingly necessary in the field of heritage studies”, “a model like the one we are about to create will help in the transfer of knowledge among those active in cultural heritage management”.
The consultations also tackled the application of the indicators proposed in the draft impact assessment model. Some argued that the model should rather focus on identifying the right questions to ask rather than identify indicators; others considered that indicators are necessary to assess policies: “In particular, this is very important in order to raise awareness among the non-professional stakeholders involved in the world of cultural heritage”.
Stakeholders also commented on the digital mapping tool that SoPHIA is designing and that will highlight cases of cultural heritage impact assessment: “the tool will be useful to produce a digital archive of case studies that may be regularly updated and could function as an observatory”.
The inputs from stakeholders will be taken on board by the consortium in the further implementation of the SoPHIA project and we thank them all for their active engagement in the Social Platform.