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Alan Baxter hosted the first of the Farrell Review workshops, focussing on one of the four key themes in the terms reference- Cultural Heritage and the Built Environment. From our Panel, Lucy Musgrave (Publica), led on setting the agenda and tone for the day.

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The event was held at Alan Baxter and Associates’ office in the heart of Clerkenwell, an area which has the greatest number of architects per square meter in the country. In the 1990’s Baxter developed the lower level of the building, transforming it into a gallery space, with the ambition that it would be used to host exhibitions, debates and events to promote and progress the fields of all the built environment disciplines. As such, it was the perfect location to launch the series of workshops for the Farrell Review.

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Baxter urged the attendees, who ranged from across the culture and heritage profession, to be brave, to rise above facts and figures and to comment freely to generate key issues to bring to the review panel. Following an introduction to the theme from Lucy Musgrave a lively and thorough discussion took place, from which main points were drawn to take forward in the Review.

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To kick of proceedings, Lucy Musgrave posed the following questions to the group:

  • How can we broaden our definitions of heritage and the built environment?
  • How can we make it about all places rather than a few “special” places?
  • How can we involve all people rather than a narrow expert professional conversation?
  • How can we think smarter: economically, environmentally and socially in the 21st century?

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To conclude the workshop, each person highlighted the principal issues they felt were important to bring to the fore which ranged from identity to policies and from education to engagement. There was a general feeling that the workshop had been a vital meeting for the cultural heritage industry and there was a shared vision for the importance of cultural heritage in the future of the built environment.

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At the end of the session, the group made a collective commitment to return and continue this vital discussion before the report is submitted at the end of the year. All in all, a very positive start to the series of workshops soon to take place throughout the country.

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