Accessibility statement

Community activism in heritage


Module leaders: Don Henson and


Public engagement is a key part of modern heritage practice and increasingly so in modern archaeology. There has been debate about the merits of different approaches to this; crudely characterised as top-down and bottom-up. There is also debate about the impact of such engagement. This module will give students: 

  • an appreciation for the importance of engaging with communities;
  • the benefits of this for both heritage practitioners and the members of those communities;
  • skills in enabling bottom-up heritage facilitation that delivers long-term community benefits.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module, students should have an understanding of: 

  • the historical development of community heritage practice;
  • theories of community engagement and public heritage;
  • current standards and principles that support public heritage (e.g. the Faro convention);
  • problems and issues in the management of community heritage projects;
  • the different international contexts for community heritage engagement; 

and the ability to: 

  • critique academic writing about community heritage work;
  • evaluate existing and past community heritage projects;
  • write effective briefs and funding proposals for public heritage projects;
  • communicate effectively with non-heritage practitioners;
  • work as part of a team and yet meet differing aims and objectives.