Reconciling Diversity and Sustainability: A Study of the Cultural Heritage Sector

Jennifer Hagan, John Blenkinsopp

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper explores possible tensions between the desire of policymakers to encourage greater demographic diversity among volunteers and the appeal to volunteers of working with people who are part of their personal community, often resulting in demographically homogeneous groups. This situation has implications from volunteers’ attraction to commitment, retention and ultimately the group or organisation’s sustainability, particularly for communities where inequality and exclusion is already a significant challenge. We suggest this issue is rarely surfaced because it implies two socially unacceptable assertions; that diversity may not always be an unalloyed good, and that volunteers are in some way prejudiced likely to react negatively to greater diversity. The picture is much more complex, requiring holistic consideration of the unique nature of volunteer work, contextual and individual characteristics. This paper is based upon the author’s doctoral research on cultural heritage volunteers, and several years of experience coordinating volunteers across the Tees Valley.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2019
    EventVoluntary Sector Studies Network Annual Conference: A civil society for the future: setting the agenda for voluntary sector and volunteering research in the 2020s - Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Duration: 10 Sept 201911 Sept 2019


    ConferenceVoluntary Sector Studies Network Annual Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


    Dive into the research topics of 'Reconciling Diversity and Sustainability: A Study of the Cultural Heritage Sector'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this