Topic: Wrestling With Social Value - An Examination of Methods and Approaches for Heritage Management and Conservation
Supervisors: Professor Siân Jones and Dr Peter Matthews (University of Stirling), Judith Anderson and Karen Robertson (Historic Environment Scotland).
Currently, there is a gap between heritage conservation instruments, which place increasing emphasis on ‘social value’, and routine heritage management, where social value remains poorly addressed and understood. My research contributes to bridging this gap through developing a better understanding of how to capture social value in real-world heritage contexts.
I will be developing a suite of rapid qualitative methods for examining social values, to be trialled at a number of field sites in Scotland. The sites will include a variety of historic environments, as well as a range of management and conservation contexts, in order to evaluate how the methods perform in different scenarios. Towards the end of my research, the methods and findings will be translated into a ‘toolkit’ for practical application by heritage conservation professionals. Adoption of the methodologies will provide heritage organisations with a firmer evidence base to inform policy, guidance and decision‐making at local and national levels. More broadly, the research will support a more sophisticated understanding of how methods can be combined to evidence the social value of heritage; allowing the heritage sector, in Scotland and beyond, to better demonstrate its impact upon society.
My research combines a lifelong interest in history and heritage with issues explored through my M. Res. of how social values, such as identity, are reflected in environmental management processes. It also draws from my 15-years of experience working with international organisations promoting human rights and citizen participation.
This project is co-funded by and conducted in collaboration with, Historic Environment Scotland.
Education: B.A. (hons) History (University of Exeter), M. A. Environment, Development and Policy (University of Sussex), M. Res. Social Anthropology (University of Aberdeen)