6.3 Research recommendations

See also Section 2 for background to these research recommendations.

6.3.1 Principles

  1. In order to achieve a sustainable heritage cycle it is critical to understand the two-way relationship between the act of experiencing and engaging with carved stones, and how that is mediated, with the ways carved stones are valued.

6.3.2 Problems

Knowing how people perceive, relate to and experience carved stones (and their replicas) in practice (Section 6.2.1). 

  1. Lacking evidence, and therefore an understanding, of the factors that enable different audiences, in different contexts, to engage in different ways with carved stones (Section 6.2.2).
  2. Lack of strategy for how to engage both secular and faith-based communities with churches and churchyards, on the basis that these are no longer places everyone understands, regularly visits or indeed feels comfortable in (Sections 6.2.16.2.6). 
  3. Limited pre-existing knowledge about carved stones, and in particular their ecclesiastical context, among a wide range of audiences including academics, teachers and creative professionals (Sections 6.2.7, 6.2.8).

6.3.3 Practice 

  1. Sharing experiences and publishing results e.g. through peer-reviewed journals (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.26.2.8).
  2. Recognise the benefits arising from greater collaboration between the different communities with a (potential) interest in using carved stones for creative and educational projects by actively seeking out partnerships opportunities, and reporting back on outcomes to multi-disciplinary audiences (Sections 6.2.16.2.2, 6.2.4).
  3. Support projects that include or focus on local community involvement leading to co-created and co-curated activities and resources (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.2, 6.2.9).

6.3.4 Projects: enhancing existing

  1. Establish a baseline for current engagement with carved stones through working with others (e.g. churches, heritage organisations and voluntary groups etc.) to record activities taking place. Analyse information to identify examples of good practice but also negative outcomes or missed opportunities (e.g. failure to engage local communities, politicians or policy-makers and to identify missing audiences). Feed results back to stakeholders (Sections 6.2.1, 6.2.6).
  2. Identify a range of qualitative indicators to measure the effects of engagement with carved stones. These should preferably correspond to SHEA and BEFS Measuring Success metrics so they can link to SG National Outcomes (Sections 6.2.1, 6.2.6). 
  3. Identify sites with difficult access (physical and intellectual) or unpublished carved stones. Research the cultural and social significance of stones as a basis to develop and implement audience development strategies. Publish findings to provide case studies of good practice (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.6).
  4. Evaluate the success and impact of existing educational and other resources for carved stones. Include an investigation of the factors underlying the current lack of wider uptake of digital material aimed at academic and public audiences by tracing engagement online for impact assessment (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.26.2.7, 6.2.8).
  5. Evaluate the success and impact of carved stone projects involving volunteers (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.9).
  6. Evaluate the success and impact of faith-based tourist projects involving carved stones for both believers and non-believers (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.6).
  7. Compare the success and impact of accessing digital resources, replicas and experiencing the stones themselves (Sections 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.66.2.8).

6.3.5 Projects: new approaches

1.Research how presentation (of carved stones and of interpretative material) influences how people experience them. Apply new knowledge to develop interpretation strategies and create a series of rich case studies to help answer:

a. What happens when you create new spaces and new activities for carved stones (Sections 6.2.4, 6.2.5, 6.2.6)?

b. How can biographical and other thematic approaches to carved stone interpretation be used to make stories ‘grip’ better? (Sections 6.2.3, 6.2.6).

c. How can promotion most effectively encourage visitors? (Sections  6.2.2, 6.2.6).

2.Determine whether creating a community GIS database or community science resources could heighten a sense of inclusivity and ownership, assisting the process of engagement and providing educational or tourism benefits (Sections  6.2.66.2.76.2.8 6.2.9).