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5.6 Places of everyday interaction as cultural assets

Assets which are bases for social interaction are viewed as important to daily life, this may be community centres (which are a category on the digital cultural asset map) to visits to the house of a friend or family (which cannot be mapped in a cultural asset map, but would be highlighted in a cognitive map). Places to eat, drink and shop featured highly on the

cognitive maps and within the digital storytelling practice, therefore it is useful to highlight these in multimodal cultural asset mapping activities, particularly given the trend for “trip- chaining” where people go to one facility such as a library specifically because it is near other facilities of interest to them, and transportation links facilitate easy access (Delrieu and Gibson, 2017b, p.3). Research also recognises “the importance of these everyday forms of participation for developing social capital and sustaining social networks, and for defining the parameters of “community” (Miles and Gibson, 2016, p.151).

The social activities which form a person’s daily interactions with their life may be limited through their personal circumstances such as limited income, a link which is highlighted in the Renfrewshire Poverty Action report (Renfrewshire Council, 2014b) and research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2017). Recent policy initiatives designed to “give culture a new profile and priority in terms of the fight against poverty” (Welsh Government, 2014, p.13) similarly recognise that culture has a key role to play in community stability and social life, and government indicators are now in place to try to increase cultural engagement (Scottish Government, 2018b). Self-limiting ones own cultural landscape can also be an issue for although it has been shown that 80% of people think local heritage makes their area a better place to live” and “73% of UK adults agree that the UK government has a moral obligation to protect our heritage” (Historic England, 2017b, p.1) there is still the perception among some that culture is not for them, or ties into a dominant ideology not sitting well with their own experiences and preferences (Sinha, 1991, Boland, 2010, Giovine, 2015). The insights into the extent of participants cultural geography world (section 4.2.4) was particularly pertinent in this regard as it raises questions as to how to improve access to services of importance to these groups, and champion the positive effect of assets which form the centre of the settlement for a participant.

Using the multi-modal method of investigating cultural assets can contribute to a greater understanding of what is viewed as of cultural value by a community, tying in with the ethos that local people know best; “heritage practitioners and policy makers should listen, not merely to satisfy some social or political obligation, but because what they are being told is both interesting and important in terms of how particular places and things are sustained in the future” (Schofield, 2014, p.18).