How should decisions about heritage be made?: Co-designing a research project


Principal Investigator: Dr Helen Graham, University of Leeds
Co-investigators: Martin Bashforth, York’s Alternative History and Radical Historian; Mike Benson, Director, Bede’s World; Tim Boon, Head of Research and Public History, Science Museum; Karen Brookfield, Deputy Director, Strategy, Heritage Lottery Fund; Peter Brown, Director, York Civic Trust; Danny Callaghan, Independent Consultant‘The Potteries Tile Trail’ (HLF All Our Stories); Richard Courtney, University of Leicester; Alex Hale, Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland; Rebecca Madgin, University of Glasgow; Paul Manners, Director, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement; Jennifer Timothy, Senior Building Conservation Officer, Leicester City Council; Rachael Turner, MadLab and ‘The Ghosts of St Pauls’ project (HLF All Our Stories)
Duration: 2014

‘How should decisions about heritage be made?’ is an unusual research project because, when we started, we didn’t exactly know what it was about! This is because a team of people from lots of different types of organisations, groups and communities worked together in early 2013 to work together to design the research questions and its methods. In our Phase 2 research (beginning in July 2013) we will to root our bigger concerns with democracy and heritage in specific places and contexts by mapping who makes decisions, when and where. Our methodology, inspired by systemic action research approaches, uses a parallel set of three inquiry strands each oriented to heritage ‘as a system’ in different ways: ‘from within’ (using live projects to trace decision making), ‘experimenting’ (through a co-collecting project at the Science Museum) and ‘interrogating’ (publically investigating the effects of ‘heritage’ in York).

Our Team includes museums, other heritage organisations and local groups, funders and academics/researchers.

Our Co-design project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of their Connected Communities Programme and is a Co-Design Development Grant.