Within the Walls: Heritage Values and the Historic City

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

Katrina Foxton

Project Strand: Local Heritage Management

I am based in the Department of Archaeology, at the Kings Manor in York, supervised by John Schofield and co-supervised by John Oxley at the City of York Council. I will be working on the second strand of the Within The Walls project which aims to assess the ‘local heritage management processes’ in York, in particular looking at how the assessment of ‘values’ are used to make decisions about heritage by practitioners, and also to see whether ‘local heritage communities’—including those marginalised groups—can be involved in this process in some way.

The key terms prominent in my inquiry are;

‘local heritage management processes’: There are many different forms of managing heritage, from those that are public to those that are not so public; it is the areas such as planning development, designation of listed buildings, and tourist management strategies, that I aim to critically assess. By researching current local and national policies and by talking to practitioners within the field—both from within the local authority and other institutions—I hope to understand fully how the heritage management process actually works on a day-today basis.

‘value’: English Heritage’s Conservation Principles identify four values—aesthetic, historical, social, and economic—but there is vast array of ‘values’ shared by practitioners and by the local community. Arguably communication is vital, and by experimenting through a variety of digital, visual and textual media, it may be possible to create exciting new ways of ‘talking’ which encourage a fruitful exchange of knowledge and appropriately convey the values of different people.

local heritage community’: This term is adapted from the Faro Convention (Council of Europe 2005). I actually have yet to find out what this term means in reality, but I believe generally it refers to the way that groups are bound together by common interests, including an interest in their shared history and heritage. I expect to learn the most about my project from working collaboratively with a variety of different heritage communities.

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