Policy Round-up: September 2018
September is of course the start of the new school year, and it feels like the start of a new term for the policy team as well. AGM season has returned after a summer break, with all of us at Chester Street hitting the road to travel to the Thames and Chiltern, Cumbria, North West, Heart of England, South East and East Anglia AGMs over the last three weeks. Our national AGM (13 November) is now on the horizon; keep an eye out for details in your next Historic Houses magazine. We are delighted to be welcoming the Heritage Minister Michael Ellis MP as a guest speaker, alongside Hilary McGrady of the National Trust as part of a stellar speaker line-up.
It is of course conference season for the political parties, with the Labour and Conservative party conferences both taking place over the last fortnight. We have been closely monitoring the conferences for any announcements on issues that may impact our house members, and are looking forward to a full slate of meetings with MPs once the conference season has drawn to a close.
Emma has been particularly busy this month, taking part in an Attingham Trust Study Programme alongside a cohort of international curators, education experts and country house researchers. Focused on examining the country house as a setting for horse sports, horse-drawn travel and working horses, the course included site visits to houses across East Anglia and Yorkshire alongside presentations from expert lecturers. The course has provided a fascinating insight into how Historic Houses places and other sites are interpreting and presenting their ‘horse history’ to visitors and researchers.
We have also been kept busy drafting responses to a wide range of consultations this month, from a Historic England guidance note on insuring historic buildings to new legislation on the use of drones, and a draft Culture Strategy for Scotland. In our response to the latter we were particularly happy to include a case study about the wonderful education and community engagement work underway at Dumfries House.