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Begin with benefits: reducing bias in conservation decision-making

Henderson, Jane ORCID:, Waller, Robert and Hopes, David 2020. Begin with benefits: reducing bias in conservation decision-making. Studies in Conservation 65 (S1) , pp. 142-147. 10.1080/00393630.2020.1787638

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The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has undertaken a radical revisioning process via a collections and interiors review to protect significance whilst broadening support for conservation. This project reframes the consequences arising from a selection of current and possible uses of collections within an historic building. It creates a lifetime risk approach against which short-term activities can be benchmarked to inform decisionmaking at a local level. Instead of framing consequences from operation or more intense visitor patterns in terms of tangible change the project jointly conceives benefits across the mission of NTS allowing a direct comparison between benefits and consequences. A representative selection of current and possible use scenarios is being generated by the staff of Newhailes House, Edinburgh. A framework is presented in which the anticipated benefits from proposed activities will be identified and roughly quantified. Results of these assessments will be manipulated to create effective communication visuals. Psychology suggests that this will enable a more informed and balanced stakeholder engagement. This project fundamentally shifts the conservation discussion from permissive versus conservative conservation approaches, replacing the statements that ‘I am a no touch’ or ‘I am a please touch’ conservator with an evidence-informed and biasreduced decision-making strategy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Uncontrolled Keywords: Access, activity, building, bias, benefits, collection, communication, consequences, use
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0039-3630
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 June 2020
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 07:20

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