Equality, diversity, inclusion

A skilled and diverse heritage science community is one of the three over-arching goals of the strategic framework for heritage science in the UK.

National Heritage Science Forum Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Statement

The NHSF acknowledges and aims to lead our collective responsibility for the creation of equal opportunities for people from all backgrounds to participate in heritage science, to define the questions asked about heritage, to determine the heritage science research methods used to understand the past, and to inform current actions and shape future opportunities related to heritage science research.

Long-standing issues that divide society have been brought into focus by recent events that have resulted in large sections of society coming together to address systemic inequalities. Equality and inclusivity challenges require solutions that can only come from the plurality of voices, ideas, and perspectives found in a diverse, equitable, inclusive and culturally vibrant workforce. Poor diversity is a persistent issue in the heritage sector including heritage science. Targeted actions are required to improve activities that involve communities and young people with diverse backgrounds. Heritage science research can support the understanding of different heritage values and provide evidence towards improved understanding of different histories and cultures. NHSF is committed to:

  • Ensuring that all members of the heritage science community and stakeholders are treated with fairness, dignity, equity and respect.
  • Upholding and valuing 'protected characteristics' and so will not discriminate on grounds of, including but not limited to, age, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or gender reassignment.
  • Challenging inequalities and removing barriers to equality and diversity in heritage science research and other activities. 


NHSF wants to work with the heritage science community to ensure that there is a broad range of opportunities to develop the heritage science skills that are needed for the future and work as a heritage scientist. This means working together to ensure that routes to training, career paths and opportunities, and workplaces are accessible and attractive to people from all backgrounds.

The NHSF Communities group has identified the following first steps:

  • Collect information from NHSF members on the steps that they are taking to improve equality, diversity and inclusion so that good practice can be shared and we can learn from each other.
  • Use the research NHSF commissioned in 2017 into the career opportunities and constraints for postgraduate heritage scientists and work with training provider and employer partners to address its recommendations, including facilitation of a network or platform to support emerging heritage scientists and address their needs.
  • Encourage engagement with heritage science at an earlier age by sharing members' experience of participation in programmes such as Speakers for Schools and STEM ambassadors to encourage more people to take part in these programmes. 
  • Provide information on how Apprenticeships can provide new entry routes to working as a heritage scientist and assess whether there is a need to develop new Standards.
  • Encourage members to develop Lab Diversity Statements.