Handbook of Cultural and Heritage Management


5.3. Assessing stakeholders, adopting management models

Stakeholder analysis is an important process for identifying stakeholder groups, the interests they represent, and their power in supporting or even actively engaging in a set of activities, a project, or a wider local/regional plan for cultural policies. The objective of stakeholder assessment is to determine who should be considered as stakeholders and how should their interests be addressed in the context of local cultural policy planning.

Most cultural and heritage assets have multiple stakeholders, whose opinions must be considered. Stakeholder consideration is recognized as an important part of the sustainable management of cultural assets developed for tourism (ICOMOS 1999).

Some stakeholders, either individuals or groups, can have stronger concerns, or even a sense of ownership, about an asset, especially in smaller areas, where cultural assets can be more intrinsically linked to personal and familial histories. The failure to consider the needs of stakeholders, including even minor ones, can lead to conflicts which will eventually compromise the effectiveness of planned activities and procedures. Stakeholders need to be sure that their concerns are heard; their legitimacy is recognized and addressed already from the outset.

Therefore, assessment of stakeholders during the preparation phase of policy planning is important; but stakeholder analysis can be repeated from time to time to track changes in stakeholder attitudes and engagement, or in the mapping of stakeholders over time.

For a policy, or even for the management of a single asset, to be sustainable, the consultative process needs to be an ongoing procedure, with feedback from stakeholders encouraged at various stages, so that issues emerging along the way can be addressed and resolved (McKercher and du Cross 22012, 180).

Cultural policy planning on a local/regional level is a vast enterprise, encompassing a wide range of economic and professional activities, socio-cultural life and probably also political investment. Therefore, potential stakeholders can belong to many different categories, including professionals in the field of tourism, historical and cultural organizations and NGOs, possibly minority groups, research facilities, as well as trans-local and trans-regional organizations and public bodies. It is important to identify stakeholders with urgent, relevant and legitimate claims and concerns for every aspect of the planed policy, in order for the consultation process to be productive, but also in order to build effective networks for synergies and multiplier effects.

The following tables present a plan of the main considerations in stakeholder analysis with regard to cultural management and cultural issues (from McKercher and du Cross 22012, tab. 11.4):

The various methods for stakeholders mapping which have been developed take into account the influential power of each stakeholder and their importance to others in one or more networks; their relationship with the local government and local community, and the urgency of the stakeholder’s concerns/claims; their potential for threat and/or for cooperation, with the local government and with each other.

Stakeholders analysis matrix, (through https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/ index.php?curid=30927010 by Zirguezi - Own work, CC0), matching assessment with strategies.


Case study for assessment of local stakeholders skills and pledging for cooperation on a local level: the LADDER local trainings/consultation meetings

In 2016, the EGTC Amphictyony, as partner to the LADDER project, designed a number of meetings in four of its member Municipalities. The aim was to set a scope for local authorities as levers for development in the context of a globalized economy. In cooperation with the local governments in the specific municipalities, the EGTC organized two-days meetings/trainings, which brought together municipal employees, local professionals and producers organizations, cultural organizations and research institutions, and grassroots organizations of the civil society (e.g. organizations for persons with special needs). Guided by the facilitators, they had to discuss the Municipality’s developmental strategies in the intertwined fields of culture and tourism, environmental issues, local production and local economy, and public-private partnerships. After all meetings were completed, a call for proposals was published by the EGTC, for the funding of 8 small-scale actions by civil society organizations, related to the issues explored during the meetings. Thus, the assessment and the engagement initiated in the process of the meetings were further encouraged. The project created several matrixes for stakeholders collaboration, meetings’ and events’ preparations and particularly a context for reaching sustainable solutions in the cultural and touristic  fields. In order to examine the paradigms created by the project visit:  http://www.ladder-project.eu/

“Bottom up” vs “top down” approach to culture and heritage


For decades, heritage management has been exclusively dealt with by specialists. However, cultural heritage is becoming more and more a subject of general interest. In addition the time span and type of heritage is expanding. Until recently, we had roughly only historic objects, archaeological sites and listed buildings to care for, while now we protect also intangible heritage and contemporary manifestations of the past, such as  the production of works of art, or modern architecture (e.g. graffiti art, modern architecture etc.). As case studies have shown involving the public in different stages of heritage management is gaining ground creating sustainable management models.


Local heritage may not be attracting to the large number of visitors in the same was acclaimed archaeological sites are/of a world heritage site, but when correctly managed it can be promoted, together with its diverse values providing alternative experiences and in the same time provide sources of income for the local community. Keep in mind that incomes are usually not directly related to the heritage itself, but, can be developed in various side employments. According to recent studies, traveller/cultural tourists instead of tourists are seeking to experience places through authentic traditions, food, festivals and visiting local heritage places. This tendency could bring significant benefits for the local economy: from service providing, to opening new markets for local artisans and/or culinary experiences and creating new forms of activities integrating history and environment and much more.


Furthermore to preserve heritage, more than the fabric, it is crucial to protect the message and history of it (Grimwalde & Carter, 2000). History, message and continuity can be preserved and safeguarded from the local community. And that because it is easier to trace connection with personal and family memories and to cultivate the feeling of belonging and pride. An active citizenship model that cares and promotes the local heritage can be engaged in different forms. Indicatively but not exhaustively by:

●       Becoming interpreters and storytellers

●       Participating in preventive conservation

●       Supporting social media campaigns

●       Protecting monuments and sites against vandalism

Active citizenship in heritage protection and management takes time and requires a step by step approach:

●       Identify interested public groups or individuals

●       Create a solid and trustful relationship between heritage professionals and community

●       Define heritage, both tangible and intangible, of your place

●       Trace connections between them

●       Develop links with contemporary life

●       State clear objectives

●       Map potential threats

●       Make an overall strategic plan

●       Train the community

●       Make a detailed plan of actions, assign responsibilities

●       Evaluate

●       And repeat!


Public participation is an open dialogue process, where citizens must enjoy and be active members.


●       This is a bottom up approach, meaning that every participant's opinion counts

●       Evaluate, monitor and re-plan.

●       Create a core team with responsibilities but keep also a continuous flow for new members in the initiative

●       People of different age and abilities  can offer different services. It is though important that everybody can join

●       Spirits up, all participants must enjoy being part of this initiative.


Case study I: National Trust “Putting the house to bed”

National Trust is a UK Conservation Organisation, which owes more than 300 large estates and properties around the country. Preventive conservation includes ordinary housekeeping procedures, which do not require specialized personnel, but does require a large number of people. due to the size and amount of buildings In this case, trained volunteers are participating in the campaign “Putting the house to bed”, where for the winter closure of the estates, they collaborate in covering and protection of furniture and closure of light entrances etc., preparing the floor for professional conservators to do the dusting and other conservation treatments.



Case study II: Museum of Political Exiles of Ai Stratis, Greece.

A group of former inmates who were banished in the North Aegean island of Ai Stratis, a site of political confinement between 1920s and 1960s founded in the 1980’s a small museum in Athens. Perceived as a museum from the people for the people, it is a clear example of a grassroots initiative (Pantzou 24). The museum collection, consisting of items of everyday life in exile, are often exhibited together with personal stories shared from the donors and when possible, events are supported with personal storytelling from them or their descendants.