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Title: Landscape and memory: everyday experience in the heritage landscapes of North East England
Authors: Carter, Philippa
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In the context of the Derwent Valley, North-East England, and in collaboration with the Land of Oak & Iron Landscape Partnership, this thesis explores the ways in which memory shapes the understanding of heritage landscapes. I depict the interaction of ‘heritage from below’ (HFB) (Robertson, 2012) and the ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’ (AHD) (Smith, 2006) through the concept of ‘enmeshed heritage’. This term encompasses culture, identity, and place to capture a sense of heritage which is messy, connected, and defies easy categorisation. It is rooted in the ordinary, exposing how the heritage of place is used in everyday life to locate value, create meaning, and find continuity. These everyday experiences operate outside the parameters of official heritage projects, but interact and intersect with official senses of heritage, shaping feelings and attitudes to place. Understanding landscape in this way recognises that landscape and people are intrinsically connected and mutually constructing, and that the ways people use and move through the landscape are influenced by past practice, habit, feeling, and affect. I developed a methodology that remained sensitive to the subtleties of place-based interactions whilst foregrounding the voices and world views of participants. Immersive walking interviews enhanced my observations and engagement and granted access to a rich and ‘thick’ sense of place. It is shown that the AHD not only limits the senses of heritage available to individuals and communities, but also to professionals working in the sector. In the North-East, where ‘industrial structures of feeling’ (Byrne, 2002) remain important, marginalising everyday and enmeshed relationships to heritage can sever a sense of continuity, which in turn impacts on attitudes towards place and local identities. The thesis demonstrates the importance of paying attention to memory and the ordinary in understanding how people experience heritage, place, and landscape.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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