Can we develop the SoPHIA model on cultural heritage impact assessment to make cultural heritage management become better at anticipating changing needs and benefits of heritage, so that they can inform decisions made today for the future? This is a question that the Center for Applied Heritage at Linnaeus University will investigate together with the Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning and Creativity (NCK), Jamtli, Kalmar County Museum and the European Museum Academy during 2021 and 2022. SoPHIA (Social Platform for Holistic Heritage Impact Assessment) is a European social platform that works to develop a holistic model for evaluating societal effects of cultural heritage management (https://sophiaplatform.eu/en).
The model is developed by a broad international consortium consisting of partners from academia, heritage management and other interest groups, including the European Museum Academy. In this project, we will examine whether and how the model can be used to make heritage management more conscious of presumptive future changes and impacts.
This should not be interpreted as a model for predicting futures, but a model which can be an effective tool to anticipate and imagine different possible future impacts and how these impacts relate to heritage management today.
The project is following previous research carried out by Linnaeus University and NCK, where we identified that the heritage sector needs tools and methods for increasing future awareness. To examine whether the SoPHIA model could be such a tool, we will select case studies from Jamtli (regional museum in Jämtland, Östersund) and Kalmar County Museum, for developing the model. The project started in September 2021, and we will proceed with testing and developing the model in November 2021. We will have results from the project by the summer of 2022. Our hope is that the SoPHIA model can make it easier for the heritage sector to plan heritage management in a more sustainable way through a consideration of long-term impacts, effects, and implications.