Community Heritage Scotland










One strand of MGCI research concerns “Community Heritage”, where members of a community act voluntarily to safeguard heritage outside formal structures and state support. Such collective activity is essential for the wellbeing of societies, their sense of place and identity. The role of Intangible Cultural Heritage is becoming increasingly recognised for its intergenerational role in the promotion of cultural understanding and cohesion.

While working towards a common understanding of “Community Heritage” in Scotland, we define it in line with the Council of Europe Framework on Cultural Heritage.

Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society  – Faro, 27.X.2005


Article 2 – Definitions

For the purposes of this Convention,

  1. cultural heritage is a group of resources inherited from the past which people identify, independently of ownership, as a reflection and expression of their constantly evolving values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions. It includes all aspects of the environment resulting from the interaction between people and places through time;
  2. a heritage community consists of people who value specific aspects of cultural heritage which they wish, within the framework of public action, to sustain and transmit to future generations.

Article 3 – The common heritage of Europe

The Parties agree to promote an understanding of the common heritage of Europe, which consists of:

  1. all forms of cultural heritage in Europe which together constitute a shared source of remembrance, understanding, identity, cohesion and creativity, and
  2. the ideals, principles and values, derived from the experience gained through progress and past conflicts, which foster the development of a peaceful and stable society, founded on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Article 4 – Rights and responsibilities relating to cultural heritage

The Parties recognise that:

  1. everyone, alone or collectively, has the right to benefit from the cultural heritage and to contribute towards its enrichment;
  2. everyone, alone or collectively, has the responsibility to respect the cultural heritage of others as much as their own heritage, and consequently the common heritage of Europe;
  3. exercise of the right to cultural heritage may be subject only to those restrictions which are necessary in a democratic society for the protection of the public interest and the rights and freedoms of others.

Community Heritage Scotland

Community Heritage Scotland is a new project which aims to explore the ways in which people work and engage with heritage in their communities, while also aiming to bring about positive change in a sector which is not without its challenges.

The project has been a partnership between the consultancies of Ergadia Museums and Heritage and Northlight Heritage, in collaboration with the Museums Galleries and Collections Institute at the University of St Andrews.

The project has been generously supported by Historic Environment Scotland, with additional funding from Museums Galleries Scotland, Association for Independent Museums, and the University of St Andrews.

The core work of the project was a survey and discussion event, out of which have grown the four documents here:

Community Heritage Survey – online questionnaire analysis(PDF, 2,089 KB)
Community Heritage Scotland discussion document(PDF, 2,484 KB)
CHS summary and Next Steps(PDF, 260 KB)

The project is now moving into the next phase, and the team are keen to hear from anyone who wishes to be involved, join our email database, or expand their research in any way. Please email Catherine Gillies on

UPDATE, 16 August 2018

CHS – Going Forward in Oban

Booking is now open for the next discussion day which will be held in Oban on Saturday 15th September, as we begin to fulfil our promise of taking the conversation to heritage communities around Scotland (so if Oban feels too far to travel, just sit tight
and we’ll get to you).

Each time we move, we will share the event with a local project or organisation, and bring something new to the discussion while also covering the core questions.

The University of St Andrews MGCI SFC GCRF Community Crafts and Cultures project is contributing sponsorship to this Oban event where we will be co-hosting with CHArts, who are delivering a major regional networking and development project for culture, heritage and the arts in Argyll. We are also delighted to welcome Samuel Franco from Guatemala who, along with Dr Karen Brown and Jamie Brown from the University of St Andrews, will open a window on the very active heritage networks of Latin America.

Marketplace/information space: We have two rooms booked at Rockfield, with one being given over to space for information banners and leaflet tables. Please feel free to bring materials, and contact me to talk about how much space you need for stands. There is a theme of crafts through our Latin American connections, so spinners and other crafts folk please bring samples of your work or a wee demonstration. Samuel is also a specialist in Mayan music and intangible heritage, so bring a tune or a story for lunchtime!

Tickets are on Eventbrite at this link:

Tickets are free but in short supply; please only book as many spaces as you need, and PLEASE let us know if you need to cancel so someone else can have your space. Lunch is provided.



International Conference on Community Heritage

University of St Andrews, Scotland, Friday 8th November 2019

Please register for tickets by clicking here.