Within the Walls: Heritage Values and the Historic City

A Collaborative PhD project in the Historic City of York, UK

Project Details

WTW is a Collaborative Doctoral Award supported by the University of York and the City of York Council. The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and will run between 2013-2019, during which three PhD students will undertake research based within the Department of Archaeology (x2) and the Department of History (x1).

Each PhD student has a different ‘line of enquiry’ within the overall project. The three strands can be roughly defined as follows;

  1. A critical engagement with the UNESCO concept of Outstanding Universal Value, using York and other comparable historic cities as case studies. A specific question – as the concept of World Heritage passes its fortieth year – is how relevant this concept remains in an increasingly plural and culturally diverse society. Has World Heritage had its day? How relevant is World Heritage to the communities who ‘own’ and live with it?
  2. A York-specific study which aims to critically assess the range of heritage values alongside the expert-led management practices which they seek to inform. Particular consideration will be given to the relative weighting attached to economic and historical/evidential values alongside social values as they relate to both the built environment and below-ground deposits. Sites across York are designated and afforded statutory protection on the basis of their ‘national importance’ but how do such national judgements relate to locally held views of everyday sites and places? How can local ‘heritage communities’ participate more actively in and inform heritage practice? This study will identify key stakeholder groups including marginalised (inc Traveller and Homeless) communities.
  3. A critical engagement with the historic archives of the City of York. This project will be informed and shaped by national strategic priorities for archives which emphasise partnership, sustainability, and the critical development of access to archival resources (both analogue and digital). Questions concern the value of the archive to local communities and its role in supporting tourism, community cohesion, education and learning, adult health and wellbeing and the young peoples’ agenda.

Please check out OUR TEAM pages for more details about the individual projects and their research interests.


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