This large-scale case region seeks to understand, preserve and harness cultural heritage across the Atlantic seaboard and inner seas of the west coasts of Scotland and Ireland and the coast of Northern Ireland.
Much of the region is rural and faces demographic challenges in terms of a decreasing and aging population and youth outmigration. This generates a vicious cycle of a declining base for services and economic activity, particularly when faced with declining government budgets under austerity policies.
The Scottish demos will explore how traditional sectors such as crofting and fisheries can adapt, and how opportunities for blue growth based on cultural heritage, such as through tourism, gastronomy and creative industries, can help to tackle these challenges. The potential for blue growth developments such as marine renewable energy and aquaculture to pose both risks to cultural heritage but also potentially generate new cultural heritage is also examined.
We will undertake a region-wide demo focused on integrating cultural heritage into marine and coastal spatial planning. This will involve consideration of common regional policy challenges that are likely to have significant implications for cultural heritage, such as the proposed Scottish Islands Bill, cross-boundary marine and coastal planning and post-Brexit fisheries policy.
We will also investigate how urban industrial cultural heritage – such as shipbuilding – can provide a platform for social regeneration and explore options for more inclusive forms of community participation.
Understanding how local communities and visitors value local seafood provenance and sustainability forms the focus of a demo that explores consumer perceptions of sustainability and links to the local fishing industry, and whether provenance affects their purchasing decisions.
The last demo focuses on two areas that face increasing blue growth development pressures from aquaculture and coastal tourism – the Inner Hebrides in Scotland and Galway Bay in Ireland – and investigate the complex interactions between blue growth and cultural heritage where development poses both risks to cultural heritage and opportunities for its sustainable and considered exploitation.