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|Sense of place, engagement with heritage and ecomuseum potential in the North Pennines AONB
|Hawke, Stephanie Kate
|This research project aims to explore the factors constituting ‘sense of place’ for individuals in the North Pennines who are engaging with their heritage through volunteer, leisure or other ‘safeguarding’ activities. The PhD draws on an analysis of indepth interview data collected in 2008 amongst people engaging with their heritage in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The research explores and analyses the bond between people and place. A review of the literature from environmental psychology finds sense of place explored through notions of ‘place identity’, ‘place attachment’ and ‘place dependency’ and in Chapter Four data is discussed in relation to these ideas. Drawing on an identity process model introduced in Chapter Four, the relationship between people, place and time that represents the contribution of heritage to sense of place, is the focus of discussion in Chapter Five. Chapter Six concentrates on the involvement of local people in heritage activity. Evidence is presented in support of the view that human, social and identity forms of capital can be developed through engagement with heritage. Chapter Seven introduces supporting data to explore the potential presented by the ecomuseum paradigm. The chapter proposes that there are solutions within ecomuseology to some of the issues raised by the previous chapters. These are issues of the plurality of heritage values, the three‐dimensionality of sense of place and the urgent need for an alternative heritage paradigm that has capacity for a more democratic involvement of local people as ‘agents’ of sense of place. Synergies are found between the objectives within the AONB Management Plan and the principles of ecomuseology. The dissertation concludes by noting the limitations of the existing heritage discourse to recognise the ways in which local people find expression for their heritage values and argues for an ‘alternative heritage discourse.’ This discourse accepts the experience of heritage as a cultural process such as the social interaction of festivals and exhibitions and the reminiscence woven through everyday chatter during such engagement. Protection of heritage that democratically involves ordinary people and acknowledges their many ways of ascribing meaning is therefore demanded.
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|School of Arts and Cultures
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