6.2.2 Through understanding audiences

The potential audiences for carved stones are multiple and diverse. They include local residents, academics/researchers, policy makers, scientists and artisans but also the creative community, media, schools, church congregations, amenity groups, tourists, special hobbyists and special interest groups. The Rhynie stones: Case Study 23 is an excellent example of the potential for audience engagement by creative community-based collaborations. The internet enables audiences, particularly those overseas, to engage with carved stones virtually. Lots of engagement appears to be happening, particularly within local communities (e.g. through national events such as Doors Open Day: Figure 106). Yet little research currently exists on audience identities, their specific needs, experiences and learning outcomes, and the implications this holds for future practice and research. Without such studies it is difficult to explore why some people are not currently interested in carved stones and to develop strategies to improve engagement with 'missing audiences'. Priority audiences include formal/informal education and lifelong learning as well as congregations and ministers, to help churches theologise their own material heritage (see for example Faith in Cowal: Case Study 12).


Figure 106: Children's I-spy trail at Calton Old Burial Ground, Edinburgh during Doors Open Day 2011. © Susan Buckham