Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - November 2010

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Nov 29, 2010

My usual difficulty in working out when autumn finishes and winter starts has been clarified by this weekend's big dump of snow, which is now sitting on the boughs of the tree that otherwise blocks the view from my office of St John's Church and the Castle – which the Outstanding Universal Value identifies as a juxtaposition. I am not sure that I entirely agree that it is a juxtaposition: next time you walk down the Royal Mile, compare the tenements to the building on the corner of Queen Street and North St David’s Street. Evolution, not revolution.

That evolution continues across our work at EWH. The review of the management plan for the World Heritage Site continues, with an excellent range of responses for us to discuss with colleagues at Historic Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council, and to then adapt the management plan around. The responses will result in a different document to that which we consulted on and we are immensely grateful for the time and effort people have put into thinking and reacting to the draft.

Scotland’s recently announced budget is a mixed bag from which EWH can expect cuts to the funds it receives from Government and the City of Edinburgh Council. The frustration is that politicians have been unwilling to set out their spending plans for more than one year. This makes planning ahead a somewhat speculative business, unless we are able to secure donations from other sources for the running of the organisation in future years well ahead of time. All contributions – of whatever size – are very welcome.

As well as continuing to raise funds from other sources for our operation, we are continuing to cut back our running costs. The main cut left to make is in our accommodation. We will be out of Charlotte Square within the year, and into somewhere that is both cheaper to rent and cheaper to run: the property market is, after all, at a low at present, and it would be foolish not to take advantage.

We are continuing to look for top-notch people to maintain the cracking pace we’ve been working at for the last few years (our Annual Review is available here), as we maintain a gentle turnover on our board. In January we will be advertising for two vacancies at board level, and seeking those with real drive and enthusiasm for our core work, and high level skills and experience in learning and interpretation, building relationships and our profile for fundraising and experience in working with the community, in its broadest sense. We are keen to maintain momentum and enhance our international reputation, keeping Edinburgh and Scotland ahead of the game.

All of this sounds terrible internalized, but fear not, as this newsletter shows, our work in the outside world continues apace, and the long dark evenings give us lots of time to plan for the year ahead. In particular, please have a look at the time-traveling Mr T, and at our work with the Sunflower Garden at Simpson House – two projects somewhat out of our traditional areas of work.

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