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Scotland and Hordaland Heritage Cooperation

Delegates at round-table conference, Bergen 2014

Delegates at the Conference in Bergen, October 2014

Scotland and Hordaland, a county in Norway, face similar challenges for historic environment conservation, engagement, understanding and protection.  To encourage cooperation on cultural heritage and prompt specific projects or future joint working, a round table conference was held in Bergen in October 2014.  Scotland’s historic environment sector was represented by officials from HEPU, Arts & Business Scotland, National Trust for Scotland and Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS).

Two years previously, a successful initiative shared skills in relation to Industrial Heritage.  With the support of a Leonardo Scholarship, officials from Hordaland conducted an exchange of practice and skills with Historic Scotland.  A year later Hordaland culture and resource team introduced Scottish officials to how they handle provision of cultural heritage and later that same year, officials met again in Edinburgh to discuss cultural heritage.  Those discussions and the connections made between the historic environment sectors of Norway and Scotland have encouraged this latest round of discussions and cooperative working.

Three core themes were identified for discussion at the roundtable conference:

  • Strategic objectives for the cultural heritage sector
  • Sharing of best practice
  • Cooperation across the Scottish and Norwegian sectors

The conference not only provided an opportunity for Scotland to demonstrate the skills, experience and expertise of our historic environment sector but to exchange ideas, connect with international colleagues who face similar challenges and to identify potential areas for future joint initiatives which will benefit from the strength of shared knowledge, understanding and practice.  The reach across the North Sea is an encouraging cooperative forum and engagement is set to continue across the historic environment sector.

Next steps from the conference are currently being developed and have included the identification of partnerships between Scottish and Norwegian organisations which Built Environment Forum Scotland have been leading on. There was also further engagement between partners during the celebrations surrounding the gift of a Christmas Tree from Bergen to Edinburgh in late November.