The project will explore environmental histories of the designed landscape of Sheringham Park in Norfolk, since 1987 the property of the National Trust. The aim of this research is to build upon the outcomes of the PI’s Director’s Impact Fellowship to address current debates about the implications of environmental change for the restoration, management and interpretation of publically accessible designed landscapes of high cultural value. The research will build on the outcomes of an established working partnership between the Director’s Impact Fellowship and the National Trust, and develop those with two related RECN projects(‘Local places, global processes’ and ‘Anticipatory histories of landscape and wildlife’), in a collaborative, teamwork research model of wider application for deploying arts and humanities perspectives on environmental change. It will examine how a designed landscape can be conserved and displayed when there is no longer the economy and labour which once sustained it and explore the ways in which the mentality as well as materiality of this past landscape can best be communicated effectively to the visiting public. It will take advantage of the topicality of the design, the bicentenary of its 1812 design by Humphry Repton, undertaking new archival, library and field research to situate the designed landscape of 1812 within a broader context of estate management of the time, to rethink Repton’s 1812 design in a way which will both raise its profile at Sheringham as a major example of landscape architecture and place it in a longer and wider environmental history of the site and within longer histories of environmental change: local, regional, national and global. It will examine the values and narratives of environmental change which shaped the original design process, its symbols and story lines, compare the way the Repton landscape at Sheringham is interpreted and managed to examples of his work on the ground elsewhere and describe how a designed landscape can interpreted as lived in, worked on and moved through as well as looked at. The project will deploy an understanding of Sheringham’s history to engage with the development of the National Trust’s policies and practices on conservation, heritage and learning, particularly in regard to coastline and woodlands. The project will produce a series of related outcomes: a small public exhibition at Sheringham Park in July 2012, an academic conference at the University of East Anglia exploring the restoration and interpretation of designed landscapes for public understanding, a scholarly article on the practical and interpretative issues arising from the research on Sheringham, and a landscape and environment trail around Sheringham Park weaving together key locations and views on the Sheringham estate with their environmental and landscape histories. Furthermore research materials will inform a chapter of the book Living Landscapes and feature on the companion website, as well as being made available for a new edition of the National Trust catalogue for Sheringham Park. All project members involved in the collaboration will benefit from the research and from the inter-disciplinary process involved in its undertaking. The National Trust team of employees and volunteers will also benefit from their involvement in the project, in learning from the methods of conducting landscape history and engaging with visitors that will be employed by the research team.
The "Building Commons Knowledge" research project will build upon the success of AHRC-funded Contested Common Land project. It will create new pathways to both knowledge exchange and research impact through a programme of community workshops and commons sustainability workshops, and through the development of a new comprehensive online resource for researchers, community groups and public bodies with an interest in the history and contemporary sustainable governance of common land. It will create a comprehensive database and bibliography of commons available to all and will also develop a 'commons community history toolkit' of materials to equip local stakeholders and community groups to capture the history of common land. The project will also build upon the knowledge exchange developed by the Contested Common Land project, and extend it's impact by bringing its research outputs to a wider audience of key policy community members and stakeholders. Finally, the on-funding project will seek to foster sustainable self regulation of the modern commons by stakeholders, and will seek to promote a fuller understanding among key stakeholders of the interaction of common property rights with the legal and economic instruments used to promote sustainable commons management. The project activities will have two strands: (i) a programme of Community History workshops at which local community groups and commoners will be trained in the use of a community 'toolkit' for recording the histories of their own commons and (ii) two commons sustainability workshops focusing on the ecology of common land and its preservation, and on the role of common land in promoting sustainable rural communities. The project will culminate in a national Conference - "Sustaining the Commons"- for commoners, community groups, other stakeholders, the policy community and representatives of public bodies with responsibility for commons management. The project's work programme will be delivered with the active participation of two project partners - the Foundation for Common Land and the National Trust. The Foundation for Common Land is the national body representing commoners' associations in England and Wales and has umbrella groupings of commoners in four regions: Cumbria, Yorkshire, Wales and South-West England. The National Trust has, since its inception, been one of the largest owners of common land in England and Wales. The purchase and preservation of common land was one of the principal objectives for which the National Trust was formed and it currently manages 11 per cent of the commons in England. The promotion of the sustainable management of common land is a key policy objective of the Trust, and integral to its wider vision to promote sustainable rural communities. The Trust has a keen interest in new work that helps us to better understand the history of common land resources and how commons function in specific locations, and in work that identifies future management models that take us beyond the 'simple' model of National Trust ownership. The "Building Commons Knowledge" research project will explore these themes in close collaboration with the Trust.
Decision-making about heritage is changing and changing with it are definitions of 'heritage'. New legislation in the form of the Localism Act (2011), which aims to give more decision-making powers to local communities, can be located within a wider participatory turn which is questioning professional expertise and institutional legitimacy and is having the effect of pushing the definitions, knowledge, valuing and management of 'heritage' into new areas. To set a responsive research agenda for heritage studies and policy this project will co-design (Phase 1) and co-produce (Phase 2) research through creating new connections between the knowledge and perspectives of people from a range of organizations, communities, groups and perspectives who are situated in different places within heritage decision-making. The project Research Team will work together in the Phase 1 co-design phase through a series of iterative cycles informed by the 'extended' or 'radical' epistemology (Schon 1995) associated with participatory and systemic action research approaches (e.g. Banks et al. 2012; Burns 2007). Ideas we have drawn on relate to valuing and creating space for different ways of knowing such as experiential; presentational; propositional and practical (Heron and Reason 1997), the different ways through which 'knowing' is produced through action, interaction, experience, conceptualization and reflection (after Kolb 1984; Burns 2007, p. 34) and the productivity of feeling confident in what you know (your own perspective and opinions) as well as the productivity of a sense of 'unknowing'(Vasudevan 2011). Our co-design process will happen through a six-step process. In Step 1 'Entry points: Initial Reflections and Conceptualizations' the team will work with the PI to individually delineate their own positions and perspectives. In Step 2 'Workshop 1: Scoping the issues' the team will meet up and use techniques of storytelling and diagramming to scope the issues which will inform the final research design. In Step 3 'New perspectives: Experiential "unknowns" and Reflection', there will be a shifting of perspectives through the innovative use of 'day a life swap' which will see team members spending a day with someone else in the team and, through this, draw on the embodied learning than comes from being in unfamiliar places and contexts. In Step 4 'Workshop 2: Making decisions about the research project' a final workshop will draw on the experiential and reflective learning of Steps 2 and 3 to underpin the co-designing of Phase 2 research and Step 5 'Write and Collaboratively Revise final plan for AHRC'. The final step, Step 6, will see the submission of the 'interim progress report'. The Phase 1 outcomes will be the new relationships formed between team members and the development of a broader network of critical friends for the project. The Phase 1 outputs will be the Phase 2 research design itself, an 'in process' blog and website and a 2 page PDF reflecting on and capturing the co-design process. Looking forward to Phase 2, the Phase 1 Research Team will become the management group and will oversee the research direction. Indicatively we anticipate that we may identify a small number of parallel lines of inquiry that will give us targeted insights into different issues and questions related to the project's guiding question. Drawing on a systemic approach, we might deliberately site these inquiries in different places and use them to illuminate otherwise disconnected aspects of heritage practice and decision-making. These lines of inquiry could be led by any member of the Phase 1 Research Team and certainly might well be led by members of the Research Team not based in HEIs, with support from the PI. The connections between the lines of inquiry might be drawn out in workshops which will increase the reach of engagement and bring together the Research Team and wider academic, professional and community networks.
Sea-level rise is one of the most profound aspects of human-induced climate change and its steady but uncertain rate of rise will transform the world's coasts in the coming decades threatening millions of coastal and flood plain residents. While this is understood in a technical sense, wider society has not grasped the scale of change produced by expected rise in sea level over the next century. In the UK, with its large legacy of coastal defences, this issue is especially challenging. Many defences are uneconomic to maintain and renew, and widespread 'realignment' is planned within the strategic process of Shoreline Management Planning (SMP). Realignments reactivate natural sediment processes which enhances self-adjusting natural protection with both risk-reduction and aesthetic benefits. However, the transformation from a defended to a realigned coast is especially challenging to implement and will be an important focus of this research. There has been surprisingly little consideration of how the transition to a realigned coast can be facilitated and enabled across the full range of physical and social perspectives. Efforts to better understand the full range of adaptation options and their implementation, including realignment, offer potentially significant rewards in terms of tangible enhancement of coastal resilience. CoastalRes aims to develop and demonstrate prototype methods to assess realistic pathways for strategic coastal erosion and flood resilience in the light of climate change, including sea-level rise. We will accomplish this aim via three objectives. Objective 1. Co-produce a comprehensive set of representative coastal archetypes that describe the open and estuarine coasts of England and Wales in terms relevant to building coastal resilience, including present and future demography, hazards, sea-level rise, contrasting geomorphology, shoreline position, land use patterns and management legacy. This will include early and fully participatory engagement with stakeholders to consider their knowledge and experiences and define the full range of archetypes. Objective 2. Identify and evaluate a comprehensive range of strategic high level adaptation options, considering their physical suitability, economic efficiency, social acceptability and pathways of application (potential sequence in time) and impact on UK resilience. This will include a systematic literature-based review combined with two regional stakeholder workshops organised with the Coastal Group Network and the Environment Agency. Objective 3. Taking three common and representative coastal archetypes, design decision pathways to maintain and enhance resilience based on the menu of adaptation options. This will include consideration of a range of factors including policy choices, cost implications, risk trade-offs and public participation in problem specification and decision making. These adaptation pathways for resilience will be validated with representative real sites. The use of coastal archetypes for the analysis, rather than case studies, is novel and allows generalisation from individual cases to develop generic and transferable guidance. Crucially, our analysis considers all the open coasts and estuaries in England and Wales, as estuaries contain a large proportion of the assets and activities exposed to marine flooding. In contrast to previous work, which has tended to rely on consultation and 'outreach' to stakeholders, our research will have a genuinely participatory approach. This will allow us to achieve a consensus understanding with a large and diverse group of relevant Project Partners, including the key organisations the Environment Agency and Maritime District Authorities. The CoastalRes Project will provide a solid demonstration of a transition to a more balanced, resilient and sustainable portfolio of adaptive options on the UK coast and provide a foundation for further research in this area.
The aim of this project is to provide a critical review of the role of digital engagement and access in shaping cultural experiences in the context of museums, galleries and heritage. Since the late 1990s the potential of the digital world for generating new ways of engaging with the heritage sector, widely defined, has been a key focus of both academic work and cultural practice. Academics and practitioners alike have explored the potential of digital technology for offering new insights into our understanding of the past for an ever wider section of society. This has taken a number of forms, from 3D modelling of archaeological sites to large-scale digitisation projects for the long-term preservation and curation of material heritage. At the same time, colleagues have explored the ways in which the digital world can be used as a tool for increasing and broadening public participation in heritage culture. On the one hand, this has focussed on how the internet can help provide a 'shop window' for museums, galleries and heritage, and translate this into physical visits to sites. On the other, the sector increasingly seeks to use the digital sphere to provide a space for more dynamic, two-way engagement with heritage culture, aimed at providing a complementary experience to the physical visit that can, in turn, enhance the cultural value of heritage through a range of phenomena (e.g. user-generated content, online communities, crowdsourcing projects). The last decade has seen a huge number of digital projects take place on a variety of scales operating in a whole host of heritage cultures around the world. These provide a plethora of case studies for the potential of the digital both to widen access to the world's heritage and provide new ways for individuals and communities to experience and consume heritage, from the Europeana Foundation - an interactive forum which provides access to millions of artefacts from across Europe - to small scale projects such as the 'Ostalgie Kabinett' which helps support community engagement with the historical memory of the former East German State. At the same time, there has been a growing emphasis, both amongst scholarly and grey literature, on how we measure the value of this activity and what we mean by value in this context. As Parry (2010) highlights, this is an area of activity which can easily 'fetishise the future, and neglect the past'. Or it has potential, somewhat counter intuitively perhaps, to help limit access to material culture, locking it away behind a 'protective' digital wall (Cameron and Kenderdine 2010). Our review will examine this tension through the critical lens of 'cultural value', placing discussion of digital engagement within the broader literature on interactivity and participation with heritage per se, the potential for co-production in research and the ramifications this can have on the question of the 'ownership' of heritage, all issues that shape current conceptualisations of the relationship between the physical and the digital sphere. The aim of this CR is threefold. 1) It will give an overview of the ways in which the heritage sector currently engages with the digital world, providing a range of international case studies in order to highlight leading-edge practice globally. 2) These case studies will be embedded within a critical analysis of the scholarly and grey literature, and in particular an investigation of how the literature has sought to understand the issue of 'value' in this context. 3) The findings of the critical review will be evaluated, via a workshop to be held at Leeds, by an international group of heritage professionals in order to explore what they perceive to be the continuing gaps in the literature and potential new directions for museological and heritage practice. This will, in turn, also lead to the production of briefing document for heritage professionals looking to enhance their digital engagement with audiences.