Centre for Heritage, Culture & Society
The Centre for Heritage, Culture & Society is an interdisciplinary research centre that addresses people’s relationships with past, present and future cultural places and landscapes.
Through our distinctive combination of methods drawn from social sciences and creative practice, our research uncovers pluralistic, imaginative and innovative approaches to ensuring that all within society can engage with, and benefit from, cultural heritage.
Photo credit: Steve Tanner
Projects within this Centre
Heritage is not history; rather, it is the way that current societies make sense of the past in the present and carry it into the future. Heritage is therefore not objective fact, but is linked with its meanings, uses and manifestations in society. So, where there is heritage there are people - creating, interpreting, storytelling, preserving, safeguarding, communicating – different aspects of memory, place and identity.
Research shows that engaging with heritage can have tremendously positive effects on sense of place and identity, community cohesion and wellbeing. But heritage can also be linked to divisiveness and exclusion or become fragmented or lost as it is shaped by social or natural forces.
Impactful research can usefully understand the way these processes and effects of heritage work in and on society, with the understanding that ‘heritage’ can mean different things to different people, and that it does not operate in isolation but is a part of society and imbricated with other aspects of culture.
The Centre for Heritage, Culture & Society works through the lens of social justice and sustainability to explore ways to ensure that the benefits of engaging with cultural heritage can be accessed, experienced, and enjoyed by all.
Some of our recent projects have explored the ethics of participation in intangible cultural heritage across Europe, using ethnographic fieldwork, archival research and creative theatre and sound; working with the cultural sector in Cornwall to produce a Cornish Audio-Visual Archive Charter; and surfacing the plurality of stories within a National Trust coastal landscape to advance inclusion, using critical discourse analysis, walking interviews and experimental film.
Dr Laura Hodsdon
Dr Laura Hodsdon is a Senior Research Fellow working on heritage/landscape geographies and discourses, with particular interest in heritage in society. She is currently leading a European Commission Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage/AHRC-funded research consortium to explore marginalised intangible cultural heritage in the project Re-voicing Cultural Landscapes: Narratives, Perspectives, and Performances of Marginalised Intangible Cultural Heritage. The results of this research will be published in Routledge's Critical Heritages of Europe series, in an edited volume 'Revoicing Intangible Cultural Heritage: Perspectives from the Margins of Europe'. Other current research is on discourse and power in various contexts including heritage, landscapes, and organisations and work.Read Dr Hodsdon's full profile
We accept proposals for MPhil or PhD study from applicants with a project idea of their own which aligns with the aims of the Centre for Heritage, Culture & Society or as a response to one of our associated Falmouth Doctoral Project briefs below.
Find out more about the application process for MPhil or PhD study with us on our Research Degrees pages: