New report shows how world-leading heritage sector can advance UK international relations after Brexit

The Heritage Alliance, the umbrella body for the heritage sector, has published the first ever report on the independent heritage sector’s impact overseas. The report sponsored by the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business & Communication at Heriot-Watt University, makes recommendations for building on the success of the overall sector which already generates £21.7 billion a year.

The Heritage Alliance hopes that the report will not only help develop international opportunities for a post Brexit Britain but also inform international discussions such as April’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 in London.

Loyd Grossman, Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, said: ‘We’re delighted that this report has so clearly demonstrated that our world-leading heritage skills are already doing so much to support ‘Brand Britain’. We hope that, as we enter a new post Brexit landscape, these recommendations will galvanise the Government to support the independent heritage sector to maximise its already impressive economic impact and soft power role.’

England’s heritage industry is already a major contributor to the national economy - directly generating at least £10 billion in gross value added (GVA) and indirectly generating 2% of national GVA (£21.7 billion). This is more than the agriculture and aerospace sectors combined.

The report recommends

•    Support for backfilling posts especially when senior expertise in small organisations are concentrating on international work;
•    Travel bursaries to help promote exchanges of heritage professionals and students in support of project work;
•    A Heritage Alliance event with partners to explore international engagement and funding opportunities;
•    A similar initiative to the Artists’ International Development Fund to facilitate international exchange in a heritage context;
•    Visa exemptions for accredited experts and academics in the field should be considered after Brexit. Any visa system should be based on skills required, not on salary levels, and work both ways – exporting as well as importing key skills;
•    Funders should consider the benefit of allocating small grants to cover translating training resources and other outputs where appropriate;
•    The British Council, Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund and the Foreign Office should consider where and how heritage and heritage ngos can be a positive resource, integral to their international work; and
•    The Heritage Alliance to work with DCMS to better track the impact and potential of the independent heritage sector internationally.

You can read the report in full here.

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