Welcome to our research project website. On these pages you can find out more about the Social Values Project, who is involved, and what we are doing.

This project aims to develop a strategic approach to the social values of heritage places (both natural and cultural) within the National Trust for Scotland estate. In doing so, we also seek to advance wider knowledge and understanding of how heritage organisations can address the multiple and complex knowledges that social values assessments reveal.

In this project, ‘social value’ refers to the significance of historic places to contemporary communities, including people’s sense of identity, belonging, and place.

Implemented over three years (2023-2026), the project will include several pilot social value assessments, encompassing a range of Trust properties with diverse profiles (commencing Spring 2024). The pilot studies, together with activities involving Trust staff and volunteers, will provide the basis to pull together broader implications across the organisation, helping to inform a strategic organisational approach and contributing to the charity’s ten-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, launched in 2022.

The project is being delivered by a research team at the University of Stirling working in partnership with colleagues in the Trust.

This research has been funded by the Trust and the University of Stirling. The project is part of a wider institutional partnership and will contribute to the development of a shared research culture, building strong foundations for future collaborative projects and funding bids. It will also advance both organisations’ research profiles, by contributing new knowledge about the implications of embedding social values assessments in institutional infrastructures, processes and practices.

For more information on the institutional partnership see here.

Featured image: University and Trust staff on a joint visit to Alloa Tower. Photo credit: Siân Jones

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