Understanding who participates in the historic environment and their motivations, and the barriers faced by potential participants is an important issue for the heritage sector. Research in this area can help improve visitor numbers, it can increase the likelihood of particular groups getting involved (eg under represented groups) and provide a better customer product. Below we have listed the key resources in this area.
Trends in participation
Each year, English Heritage feeds into 'Taking Part' - a national survey which monitors participation in the historic environment. The survey looks at who participates and why, who does not participate and why, levels of volunteering and interest in the historic environment. Please visit the Taking Part page for more information on this survey.
Understanding what motivates participation and how to increase it
English Heritage has drawn on the Taking Part survey and undertaken a number of research projects which explore participation in more detail. This includes a quantitative study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) which uses Taking Part to assess the most significant socio-economic drivers to participation.
It concludes that being taken to historic sites as a child is the most important driver to adult participation. A qualitative study was also carried out which looks at what can be done to encourage more lower-socio economic groups to get involved in and visit the historic environment. This is available to download on the right hand side of the page.