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Contemporary and Competing Vistas: Public Perceptions of Wearmouth and Jarrow

By JANE SOPHIE LAIDLER

Abstract

The Contemporary and Competing Vistas project is a facet of the English Heritage ‘One Monastery in Two Places,’ (OMTP) historical landscape study which aimed to enhance existing archaeological and historical records of Wearmouth and Jarrow’s iconic monastic Anglo-Saxon remains at St Peter’s and St Paul’s. The OMTP project took place in advance of the twin monasteries nomination for joint UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2011. This facet of the wider OMTP project aimed to gain insights into the diversity of ways in which people memorialize, understand, experience and use the post-industrial landscapes of the two churches. In addition, this study aimed to identify alternate perceptions of landscape, local heritage and factors which influence how people experience and view Jarrow and Wearmouth. Between May and November 2010 the public, local stakeholders and the Wearmouth-Jarrow Partnership for World Heritage Status were invited to take part in interviews, focus group sessions, and drawing and photographic elicitation exercises. The use of a multi-faceted approach facilitated the collection of a range of qualitative, spatial and visual data. This data has provided insights into how townscapes are perceived in terms of personal and communal memories, meanings, experiences, beliefs and emotions. Participants discussed their perceptions of the past, present and future with frequent reference to recent regeneration schemes, developments and the demolition of familiar features. The desire to preserve certain aspects of the landscape because of historical associations, personal and communal symbolism was a recurrent theme. In addition the landscape was identified as a place for local, national and international encounters. This thesis argues that the fusions between tangible and intangible elements have resulted in competing, pluralistic perceptions of the landscapes of Wearmouth and Jarrow. It is recommended that further research is conducted in order to create heritage frameworks which encourage the diversity of landscape perceptions to be considered in future Landscape Characterization projects and the management of the monastic sites at Wearmouth-Jarrow and their hinterlands. \ud \u

Topics: Intangible, Heritage, Perceptions
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.dur.ac.uk:3253
Provided by: Durham e-Theses

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