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The Becket Connection

The Becket Connection: Employing the becket story and 2020 anniversary as catalysts to transform heritage, tourism, education and community engagement. 

The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture's new project the Becket Connection will mobilise the rich research outputs of the 2014-17 AHRC-funded 'Pilgrimage and England's Cathedrals, Past and Present' (PEC) project (with Canterbury Cathedral as Case Study) to develop resources for the Becket 2020 anniversary, with benefits for local & regional culture, heritage tourism, education, and community engagement. Key partners include Canterbury Cathedral, the City Council, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Business Improvement District, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury Museums & Galleries, the British Museum, and Museum of London.

2020 marks a triple Becket anniversary: 900 years since his birth in London, 850 years since his murder in Canterbury Cathedral, and 800 years since his relics were installed in a glittering shrine which drew pilgrims from across Europe. This major commemoration coincides with 'The Canterbury Journey', a £24.7 million Cathedral conservation, education and interpretation project (2017-2021) which will ensure a long-term legacy for resources created.

Outputs will include:
1. Development of a complete, historically-informed, digital model of Canterbury Cathedral and the City in the early 15C, incorporating the PEC project 3D medieval pilgrim experience visualisations. When complete, in late 2018, it will play a key role in design and delivery of the 'Canterbury Journey' permanent exhibition and multimedia guides, and offer a new, unique, strategic visual platform for broadening tourist engagement with the City of Canterbury

2. Development (with the Canterbury Journey Visitor/Education/Community Engagement team and Canterbury Diocese Education team) of the Cathedral/City/Pilgrim experience models into a new interactive online resource for schools and visitors of all ages to support teaching of History (KS3 & 4), Literature (Chaucer), and RE, by late 2018. The resource will also be produced on Flash Drive for educational outreach packs and piloted as a visitor 'takeaway'

3. Adaptation and enhancement of the Cathedral/City/Pilgrim models in partnership with the British Museum for early 2019, for use in their major Becket 2020 exhibition

4. Use of the models and other PEC project research material as a catalyst in poetry, drama, art and craft workshops through 2018, with the Marlowe Theatre and Canterbury Journey team, to generate creative contemporary responses to the Becket story from all age groups. Material created will be incorporated into Becket 2020 exhibitions and performances

Canterbury Steering Group (shaping project outputs to achieve partner goals):
Chair: Commodore Martin Atherton (Receiver- General, Canterbury Cathedral); Andrew Dawson (Marlowe Theatre); Lisa Carlson (Chief Executive, ‘Canterbury Connected’ Business Improvement District; Robin Joy (Eastbridge Hospital [Pilgrim Hospice] Canterbury); Mitch Robertson (Canterbury Museums and Galleries); Jan Leandro (Head of Learning & Participation, Canterbury Cathedral); Naomi Speakman (Curator, Late Medieval Europe, British Museum); Robert Thomas (Canterbury City Council Heritage Champion & Chair, Canterbury Heritage Forum); Prof. Louise Wilkinson (Co-Director, Centre for Kent History and Heritage, Canterbury Christ Church University); Rowena Willard-Wright, (Senior Curator, English Heritage); Cressida Williams (Head of Archives and Library, Canterbury Cathedral).