Heritage has to a great extent been re-fashioned as a concept since its identification a quarter of a century ago with a very narrow sense of nostalgia for the past. Now, with a wider emphasis not only on the built environment and landscape but on personal and institutional history as things change, as individual records are lost and resources once thought sacred broken up, we have the chance to store both materially and digitally a great deal of material and use new and creative ways of using it.
The National Lottery has paid for many huge projects to the point of restoration and re-organisation, but now there is the challenge of supporting the long-term viability of these projects, keeping them responsive to changing lines of enquiry and creativity. The Culture and Heritage Theme is looking initially at local and regional possibilities - the buildings and townscapes of the locality, the natural landscape, the coastline – but it also takes on board the formation of policy that has a national, indeed global, reach. Many of us at Sussex, along with external partners and collaborators, have strong links with other organizations concerned with these issues, nationally and across the world. The Theme looks to encouraging and providing means of support for projects that look at both ensuring preservation, digitisation and access but also those that offer a template for comparable initiatives in other places, among other peoples.