Demystifying ‘Capacity Building’

DEMYSTIFYING 'CAPACITY BUILDING' is a session at the forthcoming CIfA conference 2015, to be held in the Brecon Room, Mercure Holland House Hotel Cardiff at 2.00pm on Thursday 16th April 2015.

Organisers: Amanda Feather, Historic England ( and Kenneth Aitchison, Landward Research Ltd (

'Capacity Building' is a familiar phrase in the world of development‐aid projects, but not something that is genuinely well understood away from that sector.  

This is not simply 'training' with a different name. It is a well‐defined process that allows organisations to move from an existing state to one of higher capacity, and this session seeks to apply this across the whole profession by focussing on building the capacity of the historic environment conservation, protection and management workforce, going beyond
education and training.  

We will review how the concept has developed and will examine how it can be implemented in the historic environment, at a time when the next iteration of the National Heritage Protection Plan framework (in England) is expected to place a much greater emphasis on capacity building.

This session will explore the methodology of engaging stakeholders, measuring current capacity, planning for development, implementing that plan and measuring again to see if capacity has been developed. We seek contributions that examine and discuss how real practices – such as knowledge transfer activities, tools for collaboration or virtual networking – have led to capacity building in the historic environment, transforming individuals, organisations, or even societies in the process.  

The session is sponsored by Historic England and is being videorecorded by Landward Research Ltd.

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