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Articulating Loss Themes


Below is a short section outlining each of these themes and their relation to the case studies that chosen. Interviews from a variety of national and interactional heritage practitioners also serve to add additional context to the management of these sites.


An important aspect of the Articulating Loss framework is that it is not designed to be a strict set of rules instead it is meant as more of a guideline for how heritage sites. The Visualising Loss interactive documentary is designed to help you explore these themes by navigating around the case study interviews.


Read the short sections on the themes below and the justification for assigning them to the case study sites featured in the work. You may want to structure a session around each of these themes and think about the following points:


  • What are the core differences between each of the themes?

  • Do you think that the themes that have been assigned to the sites are accurate?

    • Would you have assigned them differently?

    • Do you think any of the sites exhibit aspects from several themes?

  • How does this make you think about heritage sites in your area that may be undergoing similar changes?




“Inevitable loss involves the loss of heritage over an extended but unpredictable time period and provides opportunities for renegotiation of cultural and social relationships.”


Hurst Castle has been chosen as an example of inevitable loss due to the unpredictable, yet foreseeable issues encountered through the erosion of the shingle foundations.


There are opportunities for active and purposeful engagement with sites undergoing inevitable loss as they respond to changes. Though, this requires a careful understanding of the uncertainties around timescales when dealing with aspects of loss.





“Radical loss requires the consideration of future histories associated with landscape scale change and incorporates the loss of both heritage and nonheritage asset.”


The Isles of Scilly were chosen to represent radical loss due to the radical landscape change that has already occurred at the islands as well as what is predicted to occur in the future.


The opportunities associated with radical loss are less for the heritage sites themselves but more for the role of heritage in helping present populations cope with the challenges created by an ever-changing coast.





“Invisible loss engages with previously unnoticed or overlooked heritage, and explores the loss of the unknown as well as the potential release of value through the process of discovery and recognition”


The chapel at St Levan represents the invisible loss theme as the physical remains of the chapel blended seamlessly into the landscape appearing to many as invisible. Through engagement with the local community and visitors about the chapel prior to excavations, these largely invisible remains became increasingly visible. With that so did the potential for increased appreciation and therefore anxiety about potential future loss.


The opportunities presented by invisible heritage lie in acting quickly and decisively in helping manage and negotiate the site as it becomes more visible till its eventual loss. It would be an opportunity to build loss into a site from the very beginning of a project.





“Adaptive loss recognises the transformational nature of a place, and allows for continued evolution of form and function, into new iterations, with potential support from external sources.”


Gunwalloe as a landscape contains a multitude of different heritage assets, each having to adapt to an uncertain future while maintaining a present role for both the local community and visitors alike. The church of Saint Winwaloe still has an active congregation while the National Trust café and Gatehouse remain focal points for all types of visitors. All will have to adapt to the changing landscape in innovative ways. 


Adaptative opportunities presented by this theme allow for a blend of old and new ways to approach change in the landscape. This may include mixing traditional and more contemporary solutions.

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