Community engagement is a fundamental part of CHERISH. Since the beginning of the project in 20217 we have been engaging with the public in a variety of ways and venues across Ireland and Wales.
We have ran outdoor engagement activities such as coastal and island guided walks, field walking exercises to identify artefacts in ploughed soil and community beach cleans. We also continue to collaborate with other organisations who also curate and research threatened coastal heritage sites.
The project has also hosted numerous open days that showcase the diverse nature of the project. Events such as those held during National Heritage Week have been very successful with over 1,000 people stepping aboard the GSI survey vessels to learn about the maritime work of CHERISH.
2019 saw the first CHERISH community excavation at Dinas Dinlle coastal fort in Gwynedd where fifty volunteers from the local area were able to take part in the excavation. The excavation culminated with an open day where over 400 visitors were able to learn about the site and the ways in which climate change and erosion is affecting the site. Visitors were also treated to a guided tour of the excavation trenches where they could see one of the largest ever prehistoric roundhouses uncovered in Wales.
In the next phase of the CHERISH Project the community will be invited to help record changes to their coastline using our app that is currently under development. Training and support will be provided to community groups who wish to get involved.
The CHERISH project will support the active role communities can take within recording the coastal environment through the development and promotion of a community recording. Based upon the successful experiences of both the CITiZAN (Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network) in England and the ShoreUpdate App developed by the SCAPE Trust in Scotland, CHERISH will develop pilot programmes that enable citizen scientists to identify and record coastal heritage sites using mobile devices and provide photographic and written evidence of any potential damage. The tool will be developed for public use in 2022 and during Phase Ii of the CHERISH project.