Places of joy: the role of heritage after lockdown

Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton (United Kingdom)

For Ben Davenport (University of Cambridge), Dr. Eirini Gallou (Historic England), Prof. Marie Louise Sorensen (University of Cambridge) and Prof. David Uzzell (Uniersity of Surrey)

During Covid-19, people have been using heritage locations as places of reunion, sociality and escape, but also potentially to satisfy deeper psychological and socio-cultural needs.

A collaboration between researchers at University of Southampton, University of Cambridge and University of Surrey, and supported by Historic England and The Heritage Alliance, Places of Joy: The Role of Heritage After Lockdown investigates whether and why heritage appears as a joyful space at a time of national crisis, and thus to understand the specific characteristics of heritage sites that contribute to wellbeing and resilience. In this talk, we share how the project Places of Joy used the opening up period following lockdown in England as a time that, arguably, highlighted people's awareness of heritage places as something they had missed.

We share our preliminary findings of which needs and desires heritage visits may connect, based on the data collected from visitors at several heritage places during summer and autumn 2020.