IHBC Yearboox 2018

5 FOREWORD I AM VERY pleased to be able to provide this foreword to the IHBC Yearbook and to introduce its theme: ‘Our Shared Heritage’, which will also be the focus of the IHBC’s 2018 annual school in Northern Ireland. My first trip as CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) was to Derry/Londonderry for the ‘Heritage Means Business’ event, which the AHF organised with the Heritage Trust Network with support from Social Enterprise NI. The event helped to broker new relationships between the heritage and social enterprise sectors, as well as between individual buildings and organisations. A host of heritage- focused organisations attended, but many social enterprises were also present. While some had experience of projects involving historic buildings, many did not, but were very interested in how new projects could utilise heritage assets. I’m sure that the IHBC’s annual school, especially given its theme, will be similarly energising in helping to forge new partnerships. Readers of this Yearbook are doubtless already sold on the benefits that heritage can bring to place- making and regeneration, and the power of historic buildings to shape the shared community identities which are often the foundation of the social capital of a place. However, those benefits are not always clear to people outside the sector and one of the AHF’s and IHBC’s shared priorities is to get more organisations interested in the opportunities presented by historic buildings. This brokering is helping to spark new ideas, ones we might never have had or been able to deliver, thinking only within our existing networks. Another example from Northern Ireland is the stunning Riddel’s Warehouse (below), where Hearth Historic Buildings Trust, in partnership with local organisations, is regenerating the site for creative use. Sharing expertise and resources is also vital, particularly in a time of financial restraint. This year AHF’s support officers have been part of initiatives and discussions throughout the UK’s regions and home nations to improve the coordination of work between organisations and projects. As IHBC director Seán O’Reilly shows in his article (page 17), an ongoing commitment to this kind of ‘experimental evolution’ is one of the things that unites heritage organisations like ours. While some of the financial and other challenges facing the sector today can be damaging, some have made us more resourceful. For both the AHF and the IHBC, our achievements in the face of these challenges have often been heavily underwritten by volunteer capacity, new partnerships and the efforts of different communities. One project that effectively illustrates the partnership and sharing spirit is led by Future Wolverton, which is working with Slated Row School, a community special school for young people. The partnership will adapt and bring back into use a Grade II school (part-funded by an AHF loan) as a community centre and guest house. The community has been effectively mobilised by the project, so much so that it has bought into the project through the purchase of community shares. The articles offered in this edition of the Yearbook explore the concept of shared heritage in very different contexts and from different professional perspectives. All, however, make clear the huge reserves of goodwill that exist towards the historic environment in the UK. It is this deep attachment to historic buildings and places that energises volunteers and communities like Wolverton’s. The success of organisations like the AHF and the IHBC is only possible thanks to this uniquely fertile environment. Matthew McKeague Chief Executive The Architectural Heritage Fund Replay Theatre Company perform at Riddel’s Warehouse, Belfast (c1865, Grade B1) (Photo: Neil Harrison)