This wiki was inspired by the following verse taken from Seamus Heaney’s “Doubletake” ( The Cure of Troy). It promotes the view that though hope is about the future, grounds for hope lie in the the records and recollections of the past.

“History says don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”

We lose hope because we lose the historical perspective. We lose sight of the accretion of incremental, imperceptible changes which constitute progress and which render our era dramatically different from the past, a contrast obscured by the undramatic nature of history as a gradual transformation punctuated by occasional tumult.

There are historic – absolutely historic – shifts that have come about because people listened and cooperated. But there are also many wretched examples of people – even people working to “do good” who have not taken the time to listen to the historic processes into which they are entering. History tells do-gooders to sink into a space of humility, and to see others as the full humans, the products of their unique history, that they are.

The HERIAN Project

In 2003, the HERIAN project was launched to develop a coordinated approach to heritage development in industrial South Wales. The long term aim of the initiative was to deliver a memorable visitor experience and by so doing make a valuable contribution to the south Wales economy.

The landscape of South East Wales consists of a series gorges, carved by glaciation through rocks of the Carboniferous Period. In the 19th century it became one of the most heavily industrialised areas of Britain and played a leading role in the formative years of the Industrial Revolution. By 1851, the UK census showed for the first time that more people in Wales made their living from industrial labour than from agriculture. Wales had become the world’s first industrial nation!. The mid-twentieth century saw a steady decline in heavy industry. Areas that were focused on heavy industries such as coal and steel were particularly hard hit. With the heavy industries gone, the South Wales valleys were left with a legacy of industrial decline but this legacy had also left a rich industrial history and a unique society.

In the Welsh language “HERIAN” means “to challenge” and it is also the acronym for “Heritage in Action.” HERIAN covered an area of approximately 1500 square miles, with a population of 1.8 million, and included some of the richest and poorest communities in Wales. Introducing the HERIAN initiative, the First Minister of the Welsh Government, Rhodri Morgan, described the valley of the River Taff from Merthyr Tydfil to Cardiff as 'the Grand Canyon of the Industrial Revolution”.

HERIAN was set up on a solid strategic foundation with a realistic expectation that it would take at least ten years for substantive outcomes to be realised. However, from the start HERIAN had been under-resourced. Its funding was removed just five years after its launch and the project, as a company, ceased trading at the end of March 2009.

HERIAN's legacy is two brochures, 'Valleys that Changed the World' and'Discover the Story of Industrial South Wales', with a toolkit for engaging communities in interpretive planning.

Summary outlines of HERIAN's aims and objectives are available at:

HERIAN; partners aims and plans;


A comparison of HERIAN with a similar initiative in the Pennsylvania Coalfield may be downloaded at;

A Tale of Two Heritage Areas



For over two decades the Schools and Communities Agenda 21 Network (SCAN), based in the National Museum of Wales at Cardiff, worked with Welsh schools to produce mindmaps, wikis and slide presentations that explored the interface between culture and ecology. Using the HERIAN brochures to make an interactive database of the coalfield's community heritage locations, 'Life After Coal' brings these efforts up to date in relation to the recent passing of the Well-being of Future Generations Act by the Welsh Government.

This wiki provides a background to the topic of 'community-level place making' (right hand menu) as as a resource to assemble past wikis, documents and mindmaps (use following links) produced by SCAN to produce knowledge frameworks, which point the way to living sustainably.


Education for Conservation

Baywatch at Cardiff
This was produced almost two decades ago and some of the links are no longer active.

Reflections from Raglan
An example of a Spiderscribe software presentation

Rhondda: Meaningful Nature
Settlement in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales


Wayfaring into Heritage

World development: a process led by consumerism

Slide Shows:

Money from Coal

Three Gorges Ecomuseum


People of the Taff


Settlement System Culture

Virtual Coal Exchange