Image from the British Council’s Crafting Futures programme in East Asia which promotes cultural heritage and supports the livelihoods of women artisans in Vietnam ©

Nic Shonfield

Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth is a two-year pilot programme exploring ways in which local culture can improve the lives of individuals around the world.

Where did the concept come from?

In a 2018 British Council report, we explored the notion that cultural heritage could contribute to inclusive growth. In the report, we share findings from a sector consultation and international research suggesting that when people or communities are given the opportunity to engage with, learn from and promote their own cultural heritage, it can contribute to social and economic development. 

By 'inclusive growth' we mean developing tangible opportunities which create economic and social growth that benefits everyone.

By 'cultural heritage' we mean any type of cultural object or activity that is connected to an individual’s history and identity. This could be anything from the built environment to cultural traditions such as music and language.

How has the report informed the programme?

The report advocates for an ‘inclusive way of working’ and so we have developed a pilot programme to explore the concept based on a people-led approach. This means engaging with individuals and local communities and supporting them to promote their own cultural heritage, whilst also working with wider levels of society to support and effect positive change. The idea is that this not only lead to economic growth but will also lead to better social welfare. 

What is happening in the programme?

The three countries participating in the pilot – Colombia, Kenya and Vietnam – couldn’t be more different. So, each approach is distinct, unique and relevant to its particular place and context. The projects are all community-led, devised and managed with local partners on the ground. We are evaluating the effect these initiatives are having, as well as considering how this global concept with local solutions might translate to a broader context.

We will share our findings from the two year programme (2018-2020) in the UK and internationally to help to pioneer new ways of creating sustainable economic and social growth through cultural heritage. 

Want to know more? Read more on each of the individual country pilots below or get in touch. 

External links