Westminster Media Forum

Conferences that are scheduled to take place before September will be conducted online.
The format will mirror physical conferences organised by the Forum with speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish.
The conferences will be chaired and there will be opportunities for delegate questions and comments.
We will be contacting all participants in advance of each conference with full information and guidance on how to take part.
There will be some exceptions where conferences will be postponed, for instance those that would largely involve key stakeholders in the NHS or emergency services.
All participants affected by this will be informed as soon as possible.
If you’d like to speak to us over the phone about any booking-related queries, please call one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7538736244

England’s heritage sector - funding and investment, widening audiences, and growing social and economic impact

Morning, Tuesday, 28th April 2020



***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will consider key issues for England’s Heritage Sector - museums, galleries, historic places, and the partners and communities they work with.

Discussion will focus on key developments in funding and innovation, as well as the role of the sector in supporting the regeneration and local economic growth strategies being rolled out in areas across the UK.

It will be an opportunity to assess priorities for the delivery and distribution of the Government’s £250m Cultural Investment Fund - which aims to drive growth, tourism, and engagement with heritage in local communities throughout the country by revitalising existing heritage assets and supporting new cultural development.

We expect those attending to discuss the economic impact of social restrictions and prolonged closures on the sector, as well as what further support might be required to help organisations adapt and respond to the current climate.

Areas for discussion:

  • What is needed from the Cultural Investment Fund - what a fair distribution of the investment would look like and criteria for assessing funding applications;
  • Funding channelling - including for smaller organisations and to projects that most need it, and increasing openness and transparency in application processes;
  • Dynamism - supporting organisations to be more entrepreneurial and develop new business models that will help maximise engagement and income;
  • Alternative models of investment - including loans and social investment;
  • Widening engagement, diversifying revenue streams, and attracting investment - including latest thinking around maximising the opportunities presented by emerging technologies;
  • Accessibility and inclusiveness - how heritage destinations can be made more open to a diverse range of backgrounds, including factors such as age, ethnicity, socio-economic class, and disability;
  • Local-level economic impact - maximising job creation and skills development, driving tourism, and strategies for facilitating further growth; and
  • Heritage and net zero - priorities for the sector’s contribution to reducing the UK’s carbon footprint.

We also expect discussion on what approaches the sector will need to take to recover from the impact of the restrictions on movement resulting from the COVID-19 crisis and the support that might be required, as well as the measures that the sector may have to take going forward as rules are lifted.

The agenda

  • Support for England’s Heritage Sector - next steps for policy;
  • Widening audiences - digital engagement, maximising opportunities presented by emerging technologies, and developing immersive and interactive experiences;
  • Where next for funding? Evaluating capital projects, new models of investment, and supporting organisations to become more financially sustainable;
  • Realising the social and economic value of heritage:
    • Restoration and revitalisation of heritage buildings and sites - maximising opportunities for commercial and community use;
    • Driving local economic growth;
    • Increasing community engagement with heritage assets, strengthening local identity, and next steps for High Street Heritage Action Zones;
    • Promoting inclusion, accessibility, and cultural and natural heritage conservation; and
    • Developing talent, knowledge, and capacity for engagement with the creative industries.
  • Case study: maximising heritage assets and developing visitor experiences.

Developments that are relevant to the discussion:

It takes place with:

  • political and economic uncertainty putting pressure on funding organisations to prioritise support in areas that are more likely to generate revenue,
  • the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s funding strategy with plans to help heritage organisations become more financially resilient - beyond grants to mechanisms such as loans and social investment,
  • the Tourism Sector Deal setting out targets to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025;
  • £95m government funding to redevelop high streets across the country by repurposing empty and underused buildings into creative and cultural spaces, offices, retail outlets, and housing, and
  • the new heritage preservation campaign to promote the reuse of existing buildings - with a view to reducing the country’s carbon footprint, foster sustainability, and meeting net-zero targets.

Policy officials attending

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stake holders.

Especially with this one. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from both Houses of Parliament and officials from the DCMS; Defra; Department for International Trade; Historic Environment Division and the Historic Environment Scotland.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish
  • opportunities for delegate questions and comments
  • a permanent record of the proceedings will be made available to all delegates afterwards, including a recording of the addresses, all slides that have been made available, and further materials

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Emma Squire

Director, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS

Keynote Speakers

Emma Squire

Director, Arts, Heritage and Tourism, DCMS

Professor Andrew Chitty

Challenge Director: Audience of the Future, UKRI and Creative Economy Champion, Arts and Humanities Research Council

Rosemarie McHugh

Director of Product Development, Tourism Northern Ireland


Baroness Andrews

former Chair, English Heritage and Deputy Chair, Heritage Lottery Fund

Lord Lea of Crondall

Vice President, All-Party Parliamentary Arts and Heritage Group


Matt Smith

Chief Executive Officer, The Key Fund

Alan Law

Deputy Chief Executive, Natural England

Kate Mavor

Chief Executive, English Heritage

Duncan Wilson

Chief Executive, Historic England

Lizzie Glithero-West

Chief Executive, The Heritage Alliance

Carolyn Abel

Head of Culture, Southampton City Council

Tony Butler

Executive Director, Derby Museums

Fran Sanderson

Director, Arts Programmes and Investment, Nesta