Local to global: what makes a network?

Liam Smyth & Alison Smedley      –      May 11, 2023      –      7 min read

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Local to Global’ is a project made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players, that aims to develop a resilient network for UNESCO Designated Sites in the UK. This month, we are asking sites to tell us how we will know that we have been successful in achieving this aim.

UNESCO designations in the UK are sites of world-class culture, heritage and nature. They deserve a world-class network. As a United Nations agency with a specific mandate to promote “the free flow of ideas and the exchange of knowledge”, Local to Global fulfils the international standards set by UNESCO. But in order to build a sustainable, inclusive and dynamic network, we need to be responsive to the present and future needs of site coordinators and their stakeholders.

All of our sites have their own formal and social networks. The ambitions of Local to Global is not to repeat or expunge these networks but rather extend and augment them through a community of practicei. Crucially, Local to Global takes a cross-cutting approach to knowledge sharing and asks what different types of UNESCO-designated sites can learn from one another. UKNC’s research into national value  and sustainable development found there to be commonalities across all sites wishing to build skills and capacity across the following three pillars of Local to Global:

‣ Audience development, stakeholder mapping and inclusion
‣ Fundraising and financial sustainability
‣ Digital transformation and web development

A community of practice is a group of people who “share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly” . Between now and October 2024, we will be inviting sites to join advisory groups with thematic experts to draw out best practice that can be disseminated across the network. We also want to bring sites together through a series of regular online workshops that explore current opportunities and challenges and what future iterations of Local to Global should look like.

On Tuesday 23rd May at 12pm, we will be hosting our second Local to Global talkshop: “What makes a network?”. We are delighted to host the guest speaker,  Amanda Smethurst. Amanda is a peer learning expert in the cultural sector, an associate of the prestigious Clore Leadership programme and from 2017-2022 was the national peer learning manager for Arts Council England’s flagship Creative People and Places programme. During the talkshop, we will firstly hear Amanda’s thoughts on what makes a good network before we open the floor to participants. There will be a chance to ask questions and we will be crowdsourcing your opinions on how to build a more resilient network for UNESCO-designated sites in the UK. To attend the event, please sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/local-to-global-talkshop-what-makes-a-network-tickets-630166564157

To express your interest in being a member of a newly formed audience development advisory group, get in touch with Liam Smyth: [email protected].

The Local to Global project is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

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