Place and the Past: Landscape / Heritage Synergies
York Heritage Research Seminar
“Where do you come from?” strangers ask, to know each other better. It’s a many-layered question, but ‘place’ and ‘the past’ are prominent – or, in other words, landscape and heritage. Although relatively recent in current usage (with meanings diverse and fluid), it is easy to imagine that ‘landscape’ and ‘heritage’ summarise concepts and feelings that are very much older and perhaps fundamental to being human. They embody memory both individual and collective, they contribute to identity and belonging, and they (should) encourage complexity and pluralism not to say ambiguity and contradictions to thrive. They frame relationships between people and place, materiality (the realm of things), the non-human (the realm of nature), and other people. Why then are they often regarded only as something fragile, at risk and needing protection?
An archaeologist originally, with a long career in English Heritage behind him, Graham Fairclough’s work now mainly concerns landscape, ‘new’ perspectives on heritage and interdisciplinary encounters. He is co-editor of the journal Landscapes, co-ordinator (through Newcastle University’s McCord Centre for Historic and Cultural Landscape) of the EU JPI network CHeriScape, and is currently co-editing new books on Heritage and Cultural Sustainability and on Landscape Character.