Within the Walls: Heritage Values and the Historic City

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

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Final event at Kings Manor today: Come Play with the Past!

Good Morning!

Just a quick post to say, we’ll be in the Huntingdon room from 2-4pm TODAY with the York Tactile Mapping team, key historic model-buildings of York ready for a brush with the present, AND a digital heritage exhibition via Pinterest. Open freely to the public, as part of the Being Human Festival.

For those who may not know Kings Manor is HERE, and it is easily reachable by bus. Best place to park is down Marygate. If you have any queries please contact the porters at Kings Manor on 01904 433995 or email us directly on wtwyork@gmail.com.

Also, for those who have already attended the events this week, many many thanks, we hope you have enjoyed the week as much as we have. It would be fab if you can let us know what you thought via the Being Human survey:


Best wishes,

The Within the Wall Team

(aka Kat, Ed and Victoria)


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What’s happening this November?

The Within the Walls team are hosting several events next month as part of the Being Human Festival—the UK’s first national celebration of the humanities (www.beinghumanfest.org):


Hello, I’m here to report on the activities we’re inviting you to attend, based at Kings Manor during the Being Human Festival.  I’m not crazy about press releases (they don’t really explain what’s happening) so I will indulge in a little promotional explanation here. And to start it off, here’s a statement I enjoy thoroughly:

“York is a city of complex, layered and cacophonous history.  The past clamours for attention, from the rich archaeology preserved in its anaerobic soil to its stock of medieval monuments and major archive collections, from the architecture of Georgian society to the invention of the Kit-Kat.”

Vicky Hoyle wrote it for our application to the Being Human Festival back in March. And since then we’ve been thinking of ways we can explore the ‘noisiness’ of York’s history. So, for the first part of our event we’ve asked fellow researchers and practitioners to take part in our ‘Exploring the Past’ exhibition (Kings Manor Refectory 17th-22nd), presenting a variety of projects that have taken place in York in the last 3years. These come from the work of the York Living with Heritage Project, the York Minster, the Gateway to History Projectthe Heritage Jam, IPUP, the Centre of Medieval Studies, and many more. It’s staggering how much happens in York in the way of accounting for history and heritage; each project takes a different angle, explores different issues and connects with different people. This diversity raises the question—why does heritage matter to so many people, and is York’s heritage special?

York, Stonegate (Kat Keljik)

York, Stonegate (Kat Keljik)

Tucking into the meatiness of this question, we also have a line-up of 6 speakers over four public seminars (aka Sandwich Seminars), all of whom have had different approaches and ideas of how people interact with heritage. We’re hoping to encourage some discussions at the end of each session about why it is so important to think about the past in such diverse ways, and what’s in it for us? The line-up is as follows:

  1. Mon 17th-“Community Heritage and the Homeless” Dr John Schofield, Dept. of Archaeology, University of York (1-2pm Room: K/133)
  2. Tues 18th– “The York Living With Heritage Project” Dr Helen Graham, University of Leeds, York Alternative History Group and York Past and Present Group (1-2pm Room: K/133)
  3. Tues 18th– [YOHRS Seminar] “Place and Past: landscape/heritage synergies” Graham Fairclough, University of Newcastle (5:15-6:30pm Room: K/111)
  4. Wed 19th– “Commemoration and Public History” Dr Geoff Cubitt- Dept of History, University of York (1-2pm Room: K/159).

And for our final public event, “Play with the Past” (Saturday 22nd 2pm-4pm, Huntingdon Room) we’ll be exploring how the relationship between humans and their heritage in terms of physical interaction within a digital age. During the open-afternoon workshop we invite people to curate their own heritage exhibition using our Pinterest board, and to graffiti our papier-mâché buildings. We’re also delighted to be joined by the York Tactile Mapping Project, whose work focuses on breaking down barriers of engagement with York’s heritage for blind and partially sighted members of the community. The team will also be on hand to discuss these activities. Families with children are welcome, refreshments will also be available.

So there we are, that’s the line-up, we hope you can join us to get involved in the noisiness of York’s past and to muse about why this matters. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions via wtwyork@gmail.com.


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Timeline York Plus Visit Kings Manor

Yes, it has been a whopping 4 months since I last wrote here. Truth be told, the early stages of the PhD have thrown up a couple of issues for me, and I have a developing blog-post on ethics which I’m not quite ready to publish (apologies to Larry).

But in the meantime, something quite delightful happened over the weekend. The Within the Walls team welcomed the Timeline York Plus groups to Kings Manor for their biannual meet-up. Timeline York Plus is a ‘group of groups’—or a network—which brings together York’s Local History and Archaeology communities. They meet up twice a year to exchange activity reports and have a good catch-up essentially. Details of the sort of projects undertaken and the groups that participate can be found here at their WIKI page.

We were also happy to welcome Sarah Tester, a colleague of Vicky’s, from The Gateway to History project (HLF funded project). She gave a presentation on the archival projects she has been working on so far (in fact some of them involved the groups present on the day—i.e. Poppleton Local History Society).

Interestingly, because of Tony’s (North Duffield) query into how groups in York can better interact with each other, we had an impromptu discussion about how social media can be used to this aim—which of course overlaps with some of my own project interests. The discussions are likely to continue on this topic but I did end up summarising the advantages of blogging with the group. (I hope this blog post might help)

The TYPLUS meeting at Kings Manor

The TYPLUS meeting at Kings Manor

Lastly, Ed Freedman, assisted by Alison Sinclair who kindly stepped up at the last minute, gave a brilliant tour of the Kings Manor in terms of its architecture and history. Ed and Alison made a fantastic double act and everyone was interested to hear how the building has evolved over the years, which is visible in the material remains and the brickwork. Special thanks go to Dr Kate Giles for lending us your notes and research sources.

On the tour of Kings Manor

On the tour of Kings Manor

My next blog will not be as long in the making, as we have a lot happening in the months up to November (see last blog post).


By Katrina Foxton–tweets as @kfoxton9

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Watch this Space!!!


Welcome to the Within the Walls blog pages, a space where the WTW team can post their thoughts and ideas (as individuals and as a team) as they progress through their research on the heritage of York. This site is a ‘window-frame’ into the research side of the project but there is also room for guest bloggers, photo-essays, fictional fancies, reflexive accounts and related filmed events. The team hopes the experience of blogging will help them to tease out and apply a critical eye to some of the issues they come across, in a creative and engaged manner. Comments and interactions from the rest of the digital community are most welcome.

General Aims:

The WTW team will be engaging critically with their role amidst wider academic discussion; for example, subsequent blogs will reflect on the meaning of project’s title, on personal research experiences and methodological issues that surface during project work. The team will also be keeping pace with practicalities of heritage management, and will be working closely with, or indeed as, locally based heritage practitioners. The project is purposely situated between the academic theory and heritage practice, and throughout their studies the team hope to reveal interesting perspectives and potential tensions in order to contribute to current discussions in the heritage management field.

They are currently at the early stages of research so please ‘watch this space’ for further blogs and familiarise yourself with the menu bars above for more details about the Within the Walls Project.