Summary of research project
Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) was developed by English Heritage (now Historic England) in the 1990s as one tool within a framework of methods to support various approaches to decision-making in historic landscape management and place-based planning. Such decisions were traditionally based on a canon of rigid values that were initially understood as inherent in the material fabric. However, during the ‘cultural turn’ from the mid-20th century, a paradigm shift introduced social values and more democratic public participation models. The Council of Europe’s Conventions ( Florence 2000, Faro 2005) emphasised the importance of perception, everyday landscapes, and communal and community values, based on beliefs, attachments, experiences, traditions, family history and folklore.
Several projects have successfully included the local population in decisions on change and development increasing community resilience, quality of life and sustainable development. However, these projects were usually initiated by academic researchers, supported by technology and know-how of experts in a reactive approach; and, being based on a complex methodology, not replicable for local authorities within the local planning process’ budget and time constraints.
This research aims to develop a practical and proactive way to include social values, which are inherently challenging to map due to the qualitative, subjective nature of these ‘soft’ data, into HLC maps. A mixed-method approach will utilise digital and online tools complemented by in-depth interviewing. The resulting map will provide local decision-makers with background information on what matters most to people in their everyday landscapes, and foster a sense of place, belonging and identity.
I studied Prehistory, Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Heidelberg in Germany with a keen interest in excavation techniques and the Roman period. My Master’s dissertation explored the excavation of an early Gallo-Roman temple based on site plans and artefacts.
A two-year sabbatical brought me to South Korea, where I studied the Korean language and culture. My time in Korea was an extraordinary experience of Buddhist religion and temple culture and discovering intriguing early relationships between early Korean history and western cultures, such as the evidence of rare Roman glass and the global phenomenon of burial mounts.
Relocated to the UK, I worked for seven years as a field archaeologist and supervisor in commercial archaeology. During this time, I developed a research interest in landscapes, GIS and remote sensing and decided to return to academia alongside my work. I completed a part-time MSc in Applied Landscape Archaeology at the University of Oxford. In my dissertation, I explored the time-depth in wider landscapes based on aerial photography and lidar data in partnership with Historic England and created a method of temporal GIS.
As a Post Graduate researcher in Cultural Heritage Management, I am currently exploring place attachment of communities and methods and tools for rapid data collection. In my analysis, I focus on developing automated processes using Python and the Natural Language Toolkit for rapid data processing as an alternative to the time-consuming manual, qualitative analysis, which is widely applied in current research in humanities.
My research interest is in landscapes, GIS and mapping, and place attachment theory. But also in the relationship between Posthumanism and climate change, and opportunities for heritage to counteract this development. Currently, I explore the application of GIS mapping for wider audiences and public engagement. A prospective research project will include the distribution of female Anglo-Saxon Saints in England and producing an interactive web map as a means for immersive storytelling.