Heritage and Culture Network

The East and Southeast of England are rich in both built, cultural and natural heritage. Their long histories of trade and transport, defence and warfare, migration, pilgrimage and pleasure have meant that the regions have a significant number of heritage assets. Many of these benefit local communities economically, but also give a sense of identity and pride to them, and as such could play an important part in levelling-up areas of social and economic deprivation.

The Eastern Arc Heritage and Culture Network (HCN) has been established to act as a catalyst for joint work between academics, research and external stakeholders, including local authorities, museums, archives, galleries and other organisations.

It’s a growing network of over 40 organisations, and new members are encouraged to join. If you would like to find out more, contact us. 

Terms of reference

The Eastern Arc Heritage and Culture Network (HCN) has two broad aims.

  • To be an interdisciplinary and intersectoral research forum to facilitate knowledge exchange, joint working and sharing of best practice. Through the network members can:
      • Understand the wider context for those working in allied areas within the region.
      • Share concerns, queries, knowledge, and insights 
      • Develop collaborations with other members, which may lead to: 
        • Joint projects
        • Funding applications
        • Events, including symposia, conferences and workshops
        • Position statements and policy papers
        • Research publications
        • Public engagement
        • Mentoring within and between sectors.
  • To complement, support and work in partnership with other networks with which it may share geographic or thematic interests, such as the South East Creative Economy Network, the South East Cultural Innovation Forum, and Norfolk and Suffolk Culture Board.

To read our terms of reference in full, click here. 

Members come from a huge range of organisations, some of which are shown here.

Challenges and opportunities for heritage in the Eastern Arc region

In 2022 a team led by Professor David Gill (honorary professor at UEA and Kent) undertook research with the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to look at the contribution of heritage to the EARC region, and the threats it faces.

The report looks at the economic benefits of heritage through such avenues as the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), and the jobs created in the area. It alos identified the social benefits, including the development of health and well-being; pride in place; digital connectivity; education and skills.

However, it also identifies significant threats. Coastal heritage across the region is facing the threat of the climate crisis and assets are being lost due to coastal erosion and rising sea levels, and heritage and cultural property crime is impacting the long-term sustainability of our internationally important heritage assets.

To find out more, download the report for free here

Areas of focus

The Heritage and Culture Network will build its work around three areas of strategic strength for the EARC, as well as creating a fourth area in providing a service to external stakeholders to help advocate and make the case for the value of heritage and culture within the region.