Professional journals (archived): Conservation Bulletin

Journal summary: Conservation Bulletin was formerly published twice a year by Historic England (& prior to 2015 English Heritage) and circulated free of charge to more than 5,000 conservation specialists, opinion-formers and decision-makers. Its purpose was to communicate new ideas and advice to everyone concerned with the understanding, management and public enjoyment of England’s rich and diverse historic environment. 75 editions were produced between 1987 and 2016. The publication has been replaced by the corporate Heritage Calling blog https://heritagecalling.com/ and by a series of online Heritage Debates https://www.historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/debate/

Publisher: Historic England (formerly English Heritage)

Website: https://historicengland.org.uk/sitesearch?terms=conservation%20bulletin&type=Publication&pageSize=undefined&searchtype=sitesearch

Access: Open-access

Journal type: Professional journal (archived and no longer in production)

Professional journals: RICS Building Surveying Journal

Journal summary: The RICS Building Surveying Journal (BSJ) is published bi-monthly and distributed in the UK and internationally to members of the Building Surveying Professional Group.
It helps building surveyors with technical and professional aspects of their day jobs and covers topics ranging from pathology assessments through design and maintenance issues to the repair, refurbishment and restoration of buildings, keeping readers up to date with changes affecting business/practice matters.

Publisher: RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors)

Website: https://www.rics.org/uk/news/journals/building-surveying-journal

Access: Open access; print subscription via membership

Journal type: Professional journal

Professional journals: RICS Building Conservation Journal

Journal summary: Building Conservation Journal is published bi-monthly and distributed as part of the Building Surveying Journal internationally to RICS members, including the Building Conservation Forum.
The journal aims to help conservation experts with the technical and professional aspects of their day jobs. It includes articles ranging from the value of heritage, traditional materials and new research techniques, to interviews with leading conservation professionals, reports on key projects and conservation management issues.

Publisher: RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors)

Website: https://www.rics.org/uk/news/journals/building-conservation-journal

Access: Open-access; print subscription via professional membership

Journal type: Professional journal

Professional journals: Attractions Management

Journal summary: Industry publication focused on leisure and tourist attractions sector. Quarterly magazine containing articles, reviews, technology and service innovation stories and interviews. Separate weekly newsletter Attractions Management News also available, as well as associated AM2 Magazine focused on jobs in sector.

Publisher: Leisure Media Ltd.

Website: http://www.attractionsmanagement.com/magazine

Access: Open-access; print subscription available

Journal type: Professional industry periodical

Management research in the heritage workplace

An article in the Times Higher Education magazine last week suggested that an understanding of the reliance on management research in the workplace can help academics plan their own dissemination strategies. The article drew on research investigating the use of management research within the healthcare sector, published in Human Relations, and commentary by Gerry McGivern, Professor of Organisational Analysis at Warwick Business School.  It considered the relationships that academics undertaking management research may need to form with practitioners in the workplace in order to not only get the best out of the research aims, but also to enable knowledge transfer and uptake of ideas from the academy into the workplace. Issues around ‘knowledge management’ within organisations are relevant to this, meaning that academics have to spend time understanding what organisations need to think about and understand in their operating and strategic environment. The article notes that long term relationships are often crucial, and that traditional published results in academic journals may include a level of theoretical and statistical details that may be (shock!) “boring and/or baffling” for busy managers. 

The context for the study drawn on is interesting, as healthcare has become an area of intense management research interest over the past few years.  But it is more fundamental than just being about dissemination – and what of other sectors, such as heritage? I have been arguing like a broken record for two decades that management research in the sector is under-developed: to the detriment of a sector (like health) which is having to transform itself in a pressured financial environment, and which is also partly reliant on a volunteer work force, and also has complex and changing operational structures and policy contexts. Management research developing theoretical and practical concepts that are relevant to the sector is going on, and is being applied – but arguably not enough, and the sustained longer-term knowledge exchange relationships between heritage and management are patchy. Much management research where it does touch on sector issues is often more critique or case study / evaluation driven – and whilst I am not being critical of this type of analysis, it suggests there is an opportunity to develop onwards from these more limited knowledge development interventions. 

A challenge, without doubt, is that much management research is inaccessible – either, as noted, due to its opacity and ability to engage the more general reader; or it is hidden in academic journals where those in the sector who would find it most useful would not necessarily know to look. Additionally, if they did find it, it may well be hidden behind paywalls, and still on gaining access need that ‘translation’ – or as McGivern suggests, ‘the “safe spaces” where “knowledge leaders” get a chance to “engage with research, innovate and shift practices.”‘

With my combined academic / trustee hat on (for The Heritage Alliance & BEFS) I’ll be continuing to work on how we can better facilitate the nexus between heritage practitioner and manager researcher.  

Heritage skills

I spent the afternoon at an IHBC Education, Training and Skills committee today. We were kindly hosted by the Building Crafts College located right next door to Stratford Station in East London, and in the shadow of the Olympic Park. The College dates back over 100 years, and is governed by the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, one of the ancient City of London Livery Companies. After a vigorous discussion around the committee table on aspects of the professional institute’s skills agenda, including prioritising what the IHBC might need to focus its education efforts on, we had the opportunity to tour the College. For me, this was a magical experience as we passed through workshops with students producing both intricate and robust pieces of craftsmanship in both wood and stone. This included a project using bog oak, dating back 5000 years – with the end product to be a 40 feet long dining table (from a single trunk!) as a contribution to the last year’s Jubilee celebrations. My favourite aspect of the tour however was the cladding produced for the masonry tutor’s office – a chance to display the technical skill and creativity which is so under-appreciated when labelled as ‘vocational training’.

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