Stories always fascinate us. Having the (alleged) best story can win you the Iron Throne after all, so they must be important (apologies to the sensible, silent majority who have never visited Westeros). We genuinely love learning about the history of places, the people that have shaped them and uncovering hidden gems before anyone else. We encourage the worlds of arts and heritage to work together to tell stories in relevant, exciting and contemporary ways. We have tried to do this through our work over the last few years in Northern Ireland. It’s a place with an amazing richness and depth of stories through time. It has had its challenges – often overshadowed by its recent history and the tourism juggernaut of traditional Irish cultures, highly developed and packaged south of the border.
Following our work to develop Tourism Northern Ireland’s A Prospectus for Change: A Strategic Framework to Unlock the Potential of Heritage-led Tourism in Northern Ireland, we’ve continued to support Tourism NI and its strategic partners in focusing on bringing cultural heritage to the fore of the visitor offer, where we believe it belongs.
Two of Northern Ireland’s major museums – Ulster Folk Museum and Ulster American Folk Park – tell extraordinary stories of the past that still have resonance today. We are working closely with National Museums Northern Ireland to review and rework the vision and direction for each, applying their values and ethos through a route map to build a resilient, dynamic and socially responsible enterprise culture that delivers rich visitor experiences. Alongside this work, we’ve also been setting some challenges to the NI heritage sector to see how they can work better together through a shared vision. A manifesto is emerging…
Image courtesy of Trevor Cole