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1.4 Thesis Outline

The central discussion relates to using creative techniques to allow wider participation in identifying cultural assets, and that everyone can contribute to the debate and thus reveal and celebrate more hidden and less well known assets. In line with principle that “heritage is everywhere” (Schofield, 2014, p.2) culture is not just about the big sights and attractions, although they will form part of the tapestry of culture in most areas, culture also includes privately and community owned and managed facilities as well as state funded activities (Stevenson, 2013). Culture is enshrined in human rights (United Nations, 2015b) and everyone should have the right to take part in and shape the future of their place, should they wish to do so (Harvey, 2003). I strongly support the ethos that “encouraging local residents to rediscover and re-understand their cities” (Lee, 2009, p.499) is a good thing and although cultural heritage is dealt with separately from built heritage within a policy context I argue for a greater degree of integration between the strands of themes which apply to both policy areas. This “cultural connections” approach is highlighted within recent Scottish policy (The Scottish Government, 2013, p.5), with culture-led regeneration deemed to be a positive tool for achieving lasting change.


The context of being embedded within a live civic bid presents an opportunity to reflect on the role of a practitioner-researcher carrying out practice-based research within organisation, and the wider application to inter-disciplinary research and debates around the co-production and use of research within different environments, particularly given an increased focus on the need for creating impact in research (Vitae, 2011, Research Excellence Framework, 2017). My work thus offers an original insight into theory, methods and practice relevant to creative community engagement methods to uncover hidden cultural heritage, and influencing a city of culture bid.


This chapter presents an outline of the theoretical terrain which informs the research, explaining its relevance through positioning the research within the context of the City of Culture concept and introduces key terms which are used throughout the thesis. It further introduces the idea of an original typology of hidden heritage, and presents the objectives of the research. Chapter two discusses the epistemology and ontology relevant to the thesis, adopting the Vee heuretic approach (Wheeldon, 2012) to explain the design of the research project and detailing the overarching methodological approach taken. It also describes the rationale behind the chosen methods and explains the ethical considerations that arose throughout the study. The specific methods used are introduced, demonstrating how the

chosen practice contributes towards an understanding of the fields of knowledge of cultural asset mapping and community involvement. Limitations to the practice-based elements of the PhD and how these are overcome are discussed.


Chapters three and four describe, explain and analyse the results from the practice-based research, giving an explanation of the digital cultural asset mapping, cognitive mapping and digital storytelling and how they address the research objectives, together with discussion on the relevance of these methods for community research elsewhere. These chapters are designed to be viewed in conjunction with the creative outputs themselves; this practice- based portfolio can be viewed online at https://crenellatedarts.com/phd


Chapter five examines the use of a multi-modal technique to reveal hidden cultural heritage, forming the main conclusions on asset definition, and opening up dialogue on the meaning of cultural assets by examining how the multi-modal approach gives insights into a cultural landscape. An original scale of meaning of cultural assets is proposed, which is again designed to be read in conjunction with the practice-based portfolio, offering a tool for understanding cultural asset engagement.


Chapter six represents the conclusions and critical reflections on the research, giving reflections on the personal development opportunities afforded as a practitioner-researcher whilst engaging in the PhD process and an insight into the role of a researcher on a live cultural project. A discussion is given on the implications of the research for further practice, defining why the project makes an original contribution to knowledge and suggests ways in which the research can be developed.