Decade of Commemorations Leveraging the Past to Impact on the Present

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Instruments that could be used include; Unionist

  • The Fife Flute/The Piccolo Flute/Lambeg Drum/Scottish Bagpipes/Silver Bands and Silver Flute Bands


  • The Accordion/The Fiddle/The Irish Harp/Uileann Pipes

3.4 Conclusion and summary

This chapter has set the broad context in which this research was based. The focus of the chapter was to provide a narrative of past commemorative events but at the same time demonstrate the potential of music as the medium to use toward present day commemoration of political and cultural events related to the past. The next chapter explores heritage, both built and intangible and its potential to be used toward commemoration events.

Further Examination: Myths from Unionist/Loyalist Traditions to find comparable ‘equals’ e.g. The Somme etc. Research to identify music common to both traditions 18th, 19th, 20th century.

Chapter 4

Leveraging Built Heritage for Marketing Events during Decade of Commemorations

4.1 Introduction

This chapter provides the reader with examples of built heritage in Ireland that could be leveraged for marketing DOC events overseas and enable cross border stakeholder cooperation with specific social impact purpose. Built heritage has been leveraged in cities such as Edinburgh to provide strong scenic backdrops for large scale cultural events which heavily influence the marketing of a destination. The case is made to apply for WHS status for Grianan Aileach in Donegal to assist the development of built heritage that could be used for events during Decade of Commemorations thus meeting objective B of the study.

inch castle

Image 1: Grianan Aileach, Inishowen, Donegal, Ireland

    1. Leveraging Built Heritage as a Performance Space and Rural Tourism Hub

The Grianan Aileach is an ancient military site associated with the Ui Neill clan and a national monument that sits 8 miles outside of Derry, Northern Ireland. A cooperation project to submit application to UNESCO for World Heritage Site status could allow government and community stakeholders from both sides of the border in the north west of Ireland to work together and develop access, transport infrastructure, signage and community engagement. Leask & Fyall (2006, P.38/39) stated “The Focus of responsibilities concerning the protection and conservation of World Heritage is shifting from a forum of conservation experts and national and local government representatives to a partnership approach” and “These new stakeholders include private sector businesses, developers, owners, NGO’s and community groups. The World Heritage committee acknowledges that there must be a link between universal and local values for a WHS to have a sustainable future”. Leveraging spectacular built heritage such as Grianan Aileach as a performance backdrop where modern mainstream consumer orientated arts and community arts could be performed would greatly utilise and animate Ireland’s natural and built assets. Quinn discusses the impact events can have on development of social capital and tourism appeal as “those which generate social cohesion by creating shared motives for celebration and shaping internal networks” and “those which foster links with external networks thereby strengthening the events external visibility and tourism appeal” (Quinn B, 2013, P. 121).

An event staged at a location such as Grianan Aileach could be marketed to overseas destinations through social, online and other digital media thus bringing the assets to the attention of younger audiences such as Generation Y. As McGowan, S (DCAL NI Apr 2015) stated “Urban and rural generation is not just about providing a facelift on physical infrastructure. It is also about stimulating and building momentum around social connections and cohesion – within and between communities. More creative/artistic use of such buildings connected to heritage or events of 100 years ago (through plays, digital storytelling through apps etc) can help to bring historical insight to life in a more engaging and relevant way to community life today”. A parallel could be drawn with destinations such as Edinburgh who now market all their festival assets under one umbrella and through one website against the heritage of their city. Images of the castle feature prominently in marketing (Quinn, B. 2013, P. 87) and Edinburgh is recognised as a “festival city” which offers creativity as well as heritage. Grianan Aileach could be leveraged as a visual backdrop for part of a wider festival that could take place in Derry. Leask and Fyall argue that “Many destination management organisations have capitalised on using the brand as the means to sell the experience of that particular area” (Leask & Fyall, 2006, P. 58).

Cross border tourism bodies in cooperation could jointly market Grianan Aileach which would entail visiting Derry and Inishowen and possibly the wider North West region of Ireland as periphery access and scenic hubs. Tunbridge (1996, P.8) states that “it is not the physical components of heritage that are actually traded such as fantasy, nostalgia, pleasure, pride and the like, which are communicated through the interpretation of physical elements. When historical sites or artefacts are ‘sold’ the physical product is rarely exchanged but an experience is”. Therefore the case for an experiential experience to be developed at Grianan Aileach exists. This could include the development of an innovation hub / rural tourism / social enterprise centre in close proximity to the site in which the ‘experience’ could be delivered whilst also impacting on rural development. It should not be just a stand-alone ‘signature project/visitor centre’ as due to the political issues around the close proximity of an international border to the site, it is important that community stakeholders are engaged and the local community development needs supported.

However managing heritage presents a paradox. Leask quoting Hall and McArthur (1999, P.233) ask “How do we allow people to visit and experience heritage without heritage becoming so degraded that it loses its value and attraction?” If Grianan Aileach was to be developed and consequently awarded WHS recognition the opening up of world heritage sites to concerts and social events could have detrimental environmental impact on the site. There is a balance between implementing a management plan whilst mitigating tourism impact and sustaining site significance (Landorf, 2009) but for a visitor to truly have an ‘experiential’ visit they must ‘engage’ with the site.

4.3 Applying for WHS Status and Cross Border Cooperation Opportunity

An argument exists that Grianan Aileach has a potential to be a Boyne Valley and Newgrange of the North West and application made for World Heritage Status for the building and its environs. Therein what could be evaluated is the ‘experience’ visitors would expect at a world heritage site. An impact assessment could examine what personnel, financial or environmental pressure would be placed on the Grianan Aileach if it was awarded WHS status. Timothy & Boyd (2003) argue that the “Marketing of heritage places should not necessarily entail attempts to increase visitor numbers through advertising” and thus to foster local stakeholder cooperation and build domestic tourism, more rooted ground level marketing methods could apply such as building a viral campaign via social media, building a word of mouth campaign and leveraging the built heritage to showcase exceptional arts from the region such as the community music heritage across the north and border areas of Ireland. Further to this Leask and Fyall argue that “Promoting awareness of newly established sites through an advertising campaign, or targeting specific market segments as a way of bringing more money into the local region” (2006, P.63) could assist with building regional awareness and domestic tourism. Establishing a signature project at Grianan Aileach would greatly assist in the development of a ‘hub’ tourism project in the North West would could impact on economic development. Quinn states (2013, P.87) that “While sometimes it can be a question of existing festive practice being recreated or repackaged as tourist attractions, it can equally involve the establishment of new festivals with the specific intention of furthering tourism goals”. Developing a ‘stage’ or performance space in the environs of Grianan Aileach could assist with tourism goals for the North West region but only if a structured and timely project management plan is applied.

Grianan Aileach’s close proximity of 8 miles to Derry city is a key strength that could be capitalised on and leveraged for cross border cooperation. Stevens (2003) suggests that future trends in visitor attractions are ‘destination style attractions where visitors can experience shopping, eating and other aspects of leisure in one location” and any development of a signature project at Grianan Aileach could take this into consideration and connect the city with the rural as a way to shuttle visitors between Derry city as a shopping hub and the rural idyllic beauty that awaits one at the top of Grianan Aileach, marrying the best of two worlds together, a spectacular location in close proximity to a city. H.E. Mr Dominick Chilcott (British Ambassador to Ireland Mar 2014) stated he believed a market opportunity exists within the GB tourism audience for excursions, tours and activities “where you have things to see on large scale or in a spectacular location” and “where you can include those as part of an offer you make”. The argument that the Irish government should place Grianan Aileach on a WHS proposal list is evident. The site needs further development and a packaged tourism offering but also “more innovative approaches to the development of World Heritage trails, cross border initiatives and collaboration with other destination stakeholders need to be developed to maximise the benefits to be derived from tourism” (Leask and Fyall, 2006 P.173).

So the question is how do you develop a WHS for ‘management or commercial use’ (Leask & Fyall, 2006, P.233) whilst conserving a heritage site to stop visitor vandalism or impacts? How do you develop ‘public programmes and community accesses that will bring in all stakeholders whilst conserving the site? Leask & Fyall suggests that organisations should apply SMART objectives S – SPECIFIC, M – Manageable, A – Achievable, R – realistic, T- time bound and that ”each element has actionable status to ensure stakeholders appreciate their role and how their efforts contribute to the dedicated thrust of the organisation’s mission” (Leask & Fyall, 2006, P.235). The effect of inadequate project, time-plan management and stakeholder development could be seen recently in City of Culture Derry~Londonderry. The event left largely a positive legacy with venues such as Ebrington being developed on time but some smaller venues of cultural infrastructure were lacking, needed refurbishment and upgrading and missed out on programming opportunities as capital infrastructure works were not completed in time. £3 million was invested in Cultural Capital Refurbishment Projects for venues across the city (Derry City Council, 2013) but works on a key venue the Apprentice Boys Hall and museum development did not commence until 2014 and it received funding under EU peace monies the year after the City of Culture year was complete (Derry City Council, 2014). Swarbrooke (1999, P. 310) argues that “leisure activity however could result in damage to buildings and landscapes and create a poor experience for the visitor”. Therefore a national cross border management plan would need to be implemented to ensure any damage caused by tourism and creation of a social innovation hub at Grianan Aileach was minimal in environmental impact.

In studies such as tourism impact on Giants Causeway de-marketing appears to be needed so that more sustainable forms of tourism can be developed with less environmental impact. “In an ideal world, sites that face extreme pressure from high levels of visitation at peak times would benefit from de-marketing, if only to alleviate concerns over the loss of ecological and cultural integrity within the site itself and in this case one approach to de-marketing would be selectively to market sites for niche markets appealing to those that would be special interest travellers over those akin to mass tourists with a passing interest in heritage and culture” (Leask and Fyall, 2006, P. 60). Regional strategies to encourage tourists to visit periphery locations over hub cities etc. would assist with the marketing of Grianan Aileach and bring city tourists into periphery rural locations that cultural heritage could be showcased at. If the attractions are so important and famous there must be awareness developed around the core periphery locations to the attractions that could act as overspill for the tourists to venture onto. Destination marketing agencies should examine flight connectivity into the north west and West of Ireland so that any rural tourism hubs built around a key signature project such Grianan Aileach could effectively be promoted to inbound tourists and the ‘community’ stakeholders involved become the marketers for the project (Leask & Fyall, 2006, P.51) stated “At both natural and cultural world heritage sites local people are often the tour guides and interpretors. At others they are the guardians and purveyors of the intangible heritage in the form of priests, musicians, dancers, story tellers, the quality of the tourism experience is greatly enhanced if members of the local community are engaged as key stakeholders and encouraged to welcome visitors”.

Further to this place marketing strategies around the West and North West of Ireland to encourage visitors who are already on the island to ‘move’ with the attraction (though this is the concept idea behind Wild Atlantic Way) should be considered as “Geographic segmentation has traditionally been dominated by a classification based on where the tourists live”…”this can be misleading, as many people do not travel directly from their home environments to heritage properties. Instead they might be travelling from other places they are visiting on holiday or from the homes of friends and relatives. Thus marketers ‘may have to target people not where they live but in the place where they are staying” (Swarbrooke 1995, P.65). Strategy consideration may be necessary to connect the midlands and rest of the island into an overall strategy around this idea.

Finally, development of Grianan Aileach could prove a sustainable and environmental development opportunity. At present (May 2015) an Interreg call is open for projects that work cross border, foster innovation, environmental considerations and social impact into their ethos. This funding can cover 60% of a project costs with the remaining 40% that can be delivered as a cash match or in kind contribution. A project that could integrate innovation and create a social and innovation hub/centre in close proximity to Grianan Aileach as part of its tourism offering would be applicable for this funding.

4.4 Conclusion and summary

This chapter has discussed development of signature projects during Decade of Commemorations such as An Grianan Aileach as a platform for hosting events, marketing regions and developing cross border cooperation. The focus of the chapter was to provide an example cross border cooperation project and leveraging that as a marketing tool for destination marketing strategies. The next chapter explores intangible and dissonant heritage and its potential to be used as a marketing tool for tourism purposes and commemoration events.

Further Examination;

  1. How can Irish bodies examine ‘silent’ British built heritage without feeling threatened? Examine W035 British Military Files Kew Archives Audit of all Spaces with British Heritage across Ireland

  2. Single Identity Venues and Contested Spaces and Ways to Open them through Creative Programming

Chapter 5

Intangible and Dissonant Heritage – The challenge on the island of Ireland

5.1 Introduction This chapter provides the reader with an outline discussion around the challenge of dissonant heritage on the island of Ireland. Commemorations with a dissonant approach by groups and leveraging intangible heritage as a marketing tool for tourism promotion from the island that will attract military interest tourists are discussed. The chapter seeks to address objective B on ways to deal with intangible and dissonant heritage from the island of Ireland.

5.2 Dissonant Heritage – The challenge on the island

There are a number of heritages on the island of Ireland that exist, why they exist is a form of ethnic affinity or ethno grouping. In a political context most have arisen from religious identity that was aligned to political ideology and more recently to a nationalist identity akin to the ‘state’ that the ethno group affiliates with. Boyd and Allen (2003, P.267) state “Since there is no single culture common to all members of society who reside within a territory of the state, nationalism is always an artificial construct, a myth or ideology created by state intellectuals” further to this Tunbridge (1996, P.58) states “heritage can be used to support political entities” and “to define quite different and conflicting political identities within it”. Discourse between historic narratives on the island has not allowed a national heritage to emerge that can be universally owned by all, therefore policy must be developed to stimulate a national heritage owned by all on the island through establishment of a board of history and exploration of commonalities between traditions on a north/south basis with input from east/west. Dialogue must be brokered between communities and consultations taken place to involve all heritages linked to the main political divisions on the island.

In a wider European context what appears to be happening in societies at present is integration is failing from ethno groupings to migrant strategies. Assimilation where migrants or ethnic groups ‘blend in’ is taking place but not integration, where they become one with the host identity’s beliefs, ethos, outlook etc. The reason for this is dissonant groups and migrants assimilate for “harmony” reasons but do not integrate as identity is part of ones DNA, it is impossible to erode and goes back millennia to the evolution of man. Beyond this some sections of society are using ‘integrate, populate, control’ strategies to leverage power in society. A recent example of this was a marginal section of Muslims who infiltrated Birmingham city council and attempted to introduce Sharia law into 4 schools in Birmingham (Mackie, P. BBC News, 2014). Though this was largely ‘scare-mongered’ and enlarged through the media who were capitalising on ‘anxieties’ in the population (Aughey, A. 2010). Multiculturalism strategies also only work when there is a constant state of flux in a city or area and economic stability and jobs. For example, London is multicultural as its economy is largely resilient and in areas where ethnic groups dissipated or were displaced a new group has filled the vacuum. Where there is little economic activity ethno groups and emigrants co-exist rather then integrate and polarise and retreat into identity when they feel threatened by changes in their societal conditions such as was evident in the NI Flags Crisis in 2012. Further to this “Regardless of the origins of the nation, collective senses of injustice occur when an ‘opponent’ is perceived as holding back the development of the ethnie into nation or their nation into a state. In such cases, the intelligentsia of an ethnie or nation often seeks to turn to a virile political form of nationalism in order to strongly stake out the autonomy of their community in the contemporary inner state and international order, thereby providing legitimacy and authenticity to the various cultural and political claims of their nation” (Tunbridge 1996, P.9). This was particularly evidenced during the Flags Crisis of 2012 in NI when Loyalists/Unionists reinforced their ethnic and state identity by protests at its ‘erosion’. Ethno groups leverage politics and the past to reinforce their status and identity as Boyd & Allen stated “The relationship between the conversation of the past and politics is, however strong, permenant, intimate and quite unavoidable” (2003, P.46). Remedies to deal with the impact of economic decline or inactivity on integration could be delivering outreach work which facilitates ongoing learning and thus builds capacity of insecure individuals or communities and setting up neutral spaces or community ‘cafes’ where communities can meet, participate and discuss key issues. Civic forums could also be utilised to keep communities engaged and allow platforms for discussion and thus trust building, in times of recession and austerity as this allows a dissonant a voice.

In the context of Ireland. The main groups that the researcher wishes to discuss are; Orange Versus Nationalist traditions consisting of 4 main groupings; Loyalists, Nationalists, Unionists, Republicans.

Loyalism; Tend to be an ethno grouping not an identity, largely working class based, loyal to a crown, ruler and/or political ideology. Conventionally aligned with militarisation but moved towards peace agreements in 1980s/1990s (Shirlow, P. & Monaghan, R. 2011). Ideology is akin with ‘turf politics’ (Long, S. 20xx) and tribalism towards local communities and places. Tends to looks inwards rather than outwards, ‘new’ loyalism has tended to be insular and polarised into identity evident in the Flags Crisis, NI 2012. In relation to heritage and assets associated with thus, Boyd and Allen (2003, P.258) state heritage “is political because the process of heritage designation, protection and interpretation must involve empowerment and participation where people understand and are able to control facets of their own heritage” and “public central heritage images need to mirror the views of the communities within which they are situated” (Chhabra, D. 2012 P.1702) which summarises the desires of ‘recognition’ of the ethos associated with Loyalism by its man actors. Traditionally represented by PUP (aligned to UVF/UDA/UFF) and UDP (Now defunct - Aligned to UDA) in NI and associate with mythical connotations in subject matter such as The Somme (1916).

Republicanism: Loyal to a Republic and believe in destiny through ‘self-determination’, not loyal to a monarchy. In the context of ROI/NI was associated with ‘militarism’ (Spencer, 2004) but shifted away from this ethos with advent of peace agreements. Can be both working, middle and upper class represented. Traditionally represented by Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein in ROI/NI. Represent through mythical connotations across national culture and Gaelic language and associate with political subject matter such as 1798 Rebellion and Easter Rising 1916.

Nationalism; Nationals loyal to a nation, political ideology, can be identity driven and rooted. Believe in right to self-determination and independence (Graham, B. & Mc Dowell, S. 2007). Cultural nationalism weighs heritage as a core attribute in its ethos and as such “The relationship between nationalism and national heritage is obviously intimate” and “A national heritage depends upon the prior acceptance of a national history” (20xx, P. 46). Irish nationalism is focused on disengagement of British interests in NI and achieving Irish unity by harmonisation through cultural, social, political and economic factors across the island. Largely middle and upper class constituents and traditionally represented by SDLP/Sinn Fein in NI and FF/Fine Gael/Labour/Sinn Fein parties in ROI.
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