The coast has always been an attractive and evocative place to live, work and visit. The testament to this lies in the rich and diverse coastal heritage assets present around Britain’s coastline. These places aren’t just valuable for learning about past people but also are also incredibly important to us today. However, coastal heritage is in danger of being lost through natural processes, which will be most visible on the coast, and this is only going to be exacerbated further by the effects of climate change.
Managing a changing coast will include managing heritage sites as they travel through a transformative process of decline and eventual loss. This is a relatively unexplored aspect within both the professional and academic literature, with current efforts focussed mainly on necessary prioritisation and risk assessment. Discussions around how to deal with assets in a post-prioritisation space, when change is understood to be inevitable, are only just now being addressed within the professional sector. The concern surrounding the implications of potential mismanagement of heritage assets that face inevitable change has created a great deal of anxiety within the heritage sector, leading to indecision which, in itself, is a decision of inaction. One of the hardest first steps in managing these places is starting the conversation about loss, and what it means for the sites and for the people who care for them.
This work aims to first articulate what loss means to heritage undergoing these changes and then to help visualise what these changes mean to the people who care for these important places. Ultimately creating a space in which to open dialogues between heritage practitioners and the wider public on transformational change and the loss of heritage assets on the coast.
This project is supervised by Professor Caitlin DeSilvey (University of Exeter), Dr Hannah Fluck (National Trust), John Ette (Historic England) and Dr Bryony Onciul (University of Exeter).
This project is an AHRC collaborative doctoral partnership PhD supported by the University of Exeter and Historic England
Archaeologist and Filmmaker
Creator of Visualising Loss Interactive Documentary
I'm an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD student working with the University of Exeter and Historic England on "Visualising Loss; Interactive Documentary as a Tool for Understanding and Communicating the Loss of Coastal Heritage."
My research lies at the intersection of critical heritage studies and creative communication methods. I have a specific interest in filmmaking and digital storytelling. I'm particularly interested in how creative communication methods such as film and novel methodologies like interactive documentaries can be used to help both professionals in the heritage sector as well as the wider public approach the emotive issue of heritage loss.
Prior to joining the university, I worked as an archaeological research assistant and filmmaker for the SCAPE Trust, based at the University of St Andrews.