Having undertaken a full review of the trust funded by a Resilient Heritage grant, the North of England Civic Trust will start a new life as the Cultura Trust.
The trust reports that:
‘Over the last two years we have been undertaking a fundamental review of every aspect of the trust,
including who we are, where we work, how we are funded, what we do, how we do it and for whom.
This was supported by a generous grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund – a Resilient
Heritage grant. This provided a valuable opportunity to evaluate our achievements over 50 years and
then project forward 5-10 years. What emerged for us is that resilience could not be ‘business as
usual’. Having a fifty-year legacy has considerable benefits but as a charity, our public benefit
responsibilities are about relevance here and now – relevance and benefit to as many people as
Being UK National Co-ordinator for 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage confirmed to us that in
the UK we distinguish between heritage (preservation of tradition) and culture (creative expression),
whereas across Europe this distinction is not usually made: heritage and culture are simply past and
current tenses of what makes societies who they are. Heritage is an inheritance of expression of
values and identity; culture is continuity of tradition, where heritage is being made. We believe
removing barriers to this sense of continuity is essential to the future of cultural heritage in the UK,
how the UK engages internationally and, especially for us, how we work across the UK and Europe.
Working across borders and to remove barriers to public benefit must be our priority as a charity.
This includes being more accessible, working with more people and in more ways that is meaningful
and beneficial. We are starting by removing our own barriers and anything which might inhibit
people from benefitting from what we could offer. As ‘culture’ is more inclusive and universal than
our previous name suggests, we have adopted the Latin root word, ‘cultura’. This reinforces our
heritage roots but it also is immediately recognisable as the cultural root in 32 of the 34 languages
across Europe, so internationally what we offer will be understandable and accessible. The removal
of a geographically specific name and fixed office location is deliberate too: we already operate
nationally and across Europe but the emphasis is on being readily available for whoever we can
benefit, wherever they are.
We will continue to do much of what we are known for but in working to remove barriers, we will
broaden our horizons. Our work in education and traditional skills will extend further into lifelong
learning because cultural heritage offers valuable benefits for wellbeing as well as life skills. We will
build on our successful hosting of UK and European internships. We will develop the creative
possibilities of culture as an expression of the established traditions which define the relationships
between communities, places, storytelling and inter-generational sharing. We will do more together
with others through partnership initiatives around complementary interests, especially cross-sector,
to ‘mainstream’ cultural heritage into political and economic agendas. Our longstanding role in
urban and rural regeneration will continue but broaden to include environmental considerations. We already have three properties in which renewable energy for sustainable cultural heritage is a driving
factor; we will take this further into the immersive environments which digital media is opening up.’