Accessibility statement

Claire Boardman

Research project

Deep Mapping the City: Heritage Inspired Place Disruption to Promote Social Cohesion in Diverse Inner Urban Neighbourhoods.


Dr Kate Giles (Archaeology)

Dr Debbie Maxwell (Theatre, Film, TV & Interactive Media)


A University of York Digital Creativity Labs and Department of Archaeology collaborative project funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)


In an era of localism and participatory public decision making, ‘the community’ has moved to centre stage and been charged with maintaining the power balance between social and commercial interests in lieu of a much reduced public sector. However, at the same time, economics-driven urban regeneration has enabled and promoted the development of highly mobile and migratory urban populations; undermining the social cohesiveness required by and characteristic of all communities. 

This longitudinal, multi-discipline, multimethod research focuses on two 'ordinary' inner-urban neighbourhoods dominated by late 19th century and early 20th century 'worker housing'. Necessitated by rapid urban expansion, their repetitive, utilitarian architecture obscures completely any deeper past and offers no focal point for historic environment led regeneration initiatives. 

Without being physically or consciously visible and therefore cognitively and emotionally accessible, the active role the past can play in daily sense-making practices, the connective tissue of all communities, is negated. However, though elusive, there remain traces of deeper inner-urban pasts scattered across the city’s archives, collections, memories, and myths.

Employing a designed ethnographic intervention, it explores the potential of institutional and community archival content, participatory interpretation and place-based digital storytelling to reinstate lost urban pasts into the contemporary consciousness of each neighbourhood. In this way, it challenges existing place histories and disrupts individual and communal ‘sense of place’, while simultaneously creating increased opportunities for new people-place connections.

Finally, it considers both the impact and sustainability of neighbourhood-owned, heritage-inspired digital placemaking in ‘ordinary places’ and how current urban heritage management and local authority planning processes might act to enable or block a reinvigorated, digitally mediated, local urban ‘folk-tale’ practice. 



I am a PhD Researcher in Digital & Applied Heritage, supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via the Digital Creativity Labs, a specialist Impact Hub focused on artificial intelligence, gaming technologies and interactive media.

Prior to commencing my PhD, I completed an MSc in Digital Heritage/Archaeology (York) via an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Studentship offered via the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH). My dissertation critically revisited archaeological predictive modelling in the ‘Big Data’ era. 

My research is practice-focused, action-based and diverse although I often return to considering human-environment relationships. It remains multidisciplinary with a current focus on archaeoinformatics, historic urban landscape management, digital urbanism and SMART heritage.

Before returning to higher education, I pursued a successful portfolio career; building on my original education in data/information science and systems this expanded into organisational analysis and design and digital transformation. This allowed me to live and work in several countries while continuing to develop my archaeological competency via postgraduate degree programmes in Prehistory and Archaeology (Sheffield) and Geoarchaeology, Remote Sensing and GIS (Bradford). 

At this time my research was focused on the archaeology of island and coastal communities and methodological innovation in response to rapid climate change. This was supported by fieldwork both within the UK and the Pacific region (Cook, Tahiti and Easter islands). 

I own and manage two small enterprises and currently serve as a Trustee for two regional social charities (England and Scotland), aligned with natural and cultural heritage and focused on inclusivity, personal learning and development.

Papers & Workshops

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Claire Ingram, Jenn Chubb, Claire Boardman, and Marian Ursu (2020). Generating Real-World Impact from Academic Research: A University Impact Hub. In SER&IP 2020: 7th International Workshop on Software Engineering Research and Industrial Practice, May 24, 2020, Seoul, South Korea. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 8 pages.

Conferences - Papers

  • ‘Urban Deep Mapping: A Tale of One Housing Estate’, 18 December 2019, Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference, University of Central London. 
  • ‘Applying Creative Constraints to Managing Engagement Design Risk through Creative Constraints’, 25 April 2019, CAA International Conference, Krakow, Poland. 

Conferences - Workshops

  • Storying Place, part of the Writing as Thinking Session, National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE) Conference, York, 9-11 November 2018. (Co-Facilitator).



  • Communicating Archaeology (illustration, photography, videography, mapping, 3D Modelling, website design and build)
  • Researching Archaeology (data management and analytics, spreadsheets, GIS, professional report writing)
  • Research Design
  • Geophysics and GIS


  • GIS
  • Spatial Analytics

Continuous Learning / Professional Development 

  • Deep Mapping & Digital Placemaking
  • GIS incl. Processing Remotely Sensed Data

Outreach & Impact

  • Tang Hall Explore Fun Palace 2018, Archival Gameplay (Lead)
  • Clifton Explore Fun Palace 2018, Archival Gameplay (Lead)
  • Discover Tang Hall: Cultural & Natural Heritage Trail App (Design Lead)
  • Museum Chatbot (Student Project Supervisor) 
  • Value-Led Heritage Engagement – Design Card Development (Co-Designer)

Contact details

Claire Boardman
PhD Candidate
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor