Tales of the Frontier: Political Representations and Practices inspired by Hadrian's Wall. Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement

Lead Research Organisation: Durham University
Department Name: Archaeology

Abstract

The 'Tales of the Frontier' project (TotF) was funded by AHRC from 2007 to 2013, initially through a major research grant (as part of the Landscapes and Environment theme) and subsequently through a Research Fellowship (in 2011) and Cultural Engagement project (2013). TotF explored the long-life of Hadrian's Wall (HW), which is one of the UK's most significant ancient monuments and also forms a part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site (which includes archaeological remains across Europe; Breeze and Jilek 2008; for references see Case for Support). HW also draws large numbers of visitors into the borderlands of northern England, playing a significant role in the local economy of "Hadrian's Wall Country". The Wall has previously been communicated within archaeology and to the public as a specifically Roman military monument-indeed, this Roman military identity is at the heart of the Wall's definition, protection, management and interpretation (Symonds and Mason 2009). The core objective of TotF was to explore and communicate associations derived from the afterlife of the monument and its landscape, from the C5 to the present day, addressing a rich variety of historical and contemporary values, including tangible and intangible aspects that reflect the Wall's long-term past and its significance in the present.
The results have been communicated through: a variety of academic outputs (e.g. Witcher et al. 2010; Hingley 2012), 2 popular articles (in British Archaeology and Current Archaeology) and a public exhibition that has toured a number of museums and institutions in the UK during the past 4 years (Tolia Kelly 2010). This Follow-on Funding project is designed to further develop the significant social and policy impacts of the project by creating pathways that could not have been foreseen when the initial grant application was submitted. The project team includes academics from Durham University and the main non-academic partner is Hadrian's Wall Trust (HWT). The agenda developed by TotF communicated a richer range of historical and contemporary meanings for HW than those conveyed by the traditional idea of it as the relict work of the Roman military, built in the AD 120s and disused by the early C5. These deal with the human aspects of the rich biography (afterlife) of this Roman monument and its role as a living and vital landscape, from Roman times to the present (cf. Hingley 2012). This project will engage academics, heritage managers, and public stakeholders to collaboratively develop a set of 10 Trails that can be accessed by car and by public transport and that deal with themes in the long life of the Wall that are not sufficiently addressed in current digital media and publications, including ideas about the antiquarian history of the Wall and its role as a mythical landscape. This aims to develop a transformative perspective that informs the developing interpretational policies for the World Heritage Site (cf. Mills 2013). This will reflect and maximize the results of the initial TotF project through sustained collaboration that engages a wider audience of policy makers and members of the public.
It aims to direct local people, digital communities and visitors to a variety of places and ideas that are not included in current materials that give accounts of the Wall, potentially leading to increased visitor numbers and a more sustainable management regime. It will also develop materials relevant to the historical and modern landscape along the Wall, contributing to current discussions about the 4th iteration of the HW Management Plan that are addressing the idea of a Research Framework for the natural, cultural and current landscapes of HW.

Planned Impact

The project will create benefit for a range of organizations & individuals in the public and private sectors & also for the public. The creation of 10 Trails that pick up upon important tales about Hadrian's Wall & its landscape aims to draw in the interests & expertise of numerous individuals & organizations that work in & on 'Hadrian's Wall Country'. Policies for the management & interpretation of HW are defined in the third iteration of the Management Plan (MP) and this is currently under revision for implementation in 2015. This FoF engages with a range of themes that from important aspects of this document, aiming to integrate the interests and concerns of: (a) policy makers at national & local level (e.g. English Heritage; Hadrian's Wall Trust, Northumberland National Park), (b) members of the professional community of archaeologists involved in studying the Wall, (c) various charities & trusts that oversee particular museums & monuments (Vindolanda, Tyne & Wear Museums), (d) commercial interests (bed & breakfasts, local businesses), (e) artists working on the Wall, (f) educators in school and college & (g) interested local individuals, including volunteers working on the National Trail. The interests of these groups are already integrated through the MP Committee, which meets twice a year (on which PI is an active member), but the aim of the FoF is to develop a key output through the involvement of a range of interested individuals from all these interest groups - a digital resource to communicate 10 Trails that will lead locals and visitors to themes about the life of HW that are not addressed in existing tourist information.
The Trails address a number of agendas outlined in the MP. These documents are overseen and implemented by HWT & a number of impacts are foreseen:
(1) Encouraging visitors to explore additional sites & places that are not already famous tourist features may help to limit erosion of popular sections of the National Trail (MP, policy 10[g]), while also helping to spread the economic benefits of tourism to additional areas away from the main honeypot sites (evidently this needs to be carefully managed to ensure that the Trails do not undermine visitor numbers to existing attractions).
(2) Highlighting aspects of the historical and current landscape that add value to the Roman-military focus of much current interpretation (MP, Policy 9(f); cf. Mills 2013; for references, see Case for Support). The MP (6.11.6) explores the idea that other aspect of the HW landscape, including the Christian heritage, the border history of Reivers and Jacobites & the wider landscape, are currently being brought forward for several sites along the Wall & within its corridor, but this proposal aims to build upon this work by communicating the broader relevance of a number of these themes to all stakeholders.
(3) Developing a broader educational potential by addressing a number of themes in the life of the Wall that can be picked up by school teachers who will be able to draw upon the outputs.
(4) Highlighting an agenda for the broader valuation of the Wall for national & international audiences. HWT organizes an annual conference that is attended by a number of organizations that oversee sections of the Roman frontiers in Scotland & on the continent & the results of this FoF will be featured there (October 2014).PI will also communicate the results of this project to colleagues in Historic Scotland (Dr Lesley Macinnes) & relevant contacts overseas in Germany and elsewhere.
Policy makers & local third sector organisations should benefit through the contribution to the assessment of the value of the Wall & its landscape, seeking to address themes which communicate new ways of understanding the monument. Local people & visitors should be enabled to experience the Wall and its landscape in new ways, developing the Management Plan policy (9[g]) to engage local people and visitors in the research process.

Publications


10 25 50
 
Description The project aimed to create easily accessible public outputs (leaflets) to communicate the academic results of the Tales of the Frontier project. These leaflets were informed by three workshops that involved stakeholders with an interest in the Wall. These workshops and the work of the Postdoctoral Researcher helped transform the approach that we intended to take to these leaflets and we have made a range of significant new contacts as well as providing materials to communicate the results of our academic work to a range of non-academic stakeholders including members of the public, students and policy makers.
This work has also helped to develop the agenda of the 'Iron Age and Roman Heritages' project that AHRC is funding from 2016 to 2019 and contacts made during the Tales of the Frontier follow on funding will be developed in this new project.
Exploitation Route We consider that the leaflets provide a new perspective on the life history of the Wall, telling a variety of regional and local tales that provide different understandings from the usual focus on the monument as a Roman military structure, built in the C2 AD and disused in the C5. The involvement of stakeholders in the workshops was particularly successful and we have collected some evidence about the impact of the workshops and leaflets on those involved. We will continue to develop these aspects of the outreach of the project, using Hingley's role on the World Heritage Site Management Panel to highlight the broader valuation of Hadrian's Wall.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
URL http://www.talesofthefrontier.org
 
Description The findings were derived from the 'Tales of the Frontier' project and this was a follow-on funding project to communicate some of these findings to a broader group of stakeholders. In 2016 we also conducted further research to collect evidence with funding provided by Durham University. During the course of the AHRC-funded project, we printed the specified leaflets and guide and sent these to a number of venues along the Wall in April 2015. We kept back a few examples for handing out at future events. As a result of stakeholder feedback we were able to find the resources to print four times the specified print run for the same cost (2,000 rather than 500 copies) to ensure an longer-term supply. We have also made the leaflets and guide openly available on the internet and have conducted work to encourage the use of these leaflets and and also to assess the number of downloads and the potential impact. John Scott, the Hadrian's Wall co-ordinator (Northumberland Country Council) has received particularly positive feedback on the workshops that we held and we are looking for ways to develop these. The PI has recently been elected to the role of Chair of the Archaeological Research Delivery Group for the Hadrian's Wall Partnership Board and this recognises the impact of Tales of the Frontier on archaeologists and policy makers involved in Hadrian's Wall.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic
 
Description Seedcorn funding from Durham University to develop the results of the AHRC funded follow on funding impact project
Amount £3,000 (GBP)
Organisation Durham University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK)
Start 11/2015 
End 06/2016
 
Description Chair of the Hadrian's Wall Archaeological Research Delivery Group for the Management Plan Partnership Group 
Organisation Northumberland County Council
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The Hadrian's Wall co-ordinator is employed by Northumberland County Council and helps to manage the various Delivery Groups connected to the World Heritage Site Management Plan. He has been involved with the development of the academic outputs of a number of our projects connected to Hadrian's Wall since 2007.
Collaborator Contribution Helping develop grant applications and supporting projects underway.
Impact Leaflets arising from the Tales of the Frontier follow-on project
Start Year 2015
 
Description A report on engagement activities accessible through the web 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Production of a report available online that outlined the initiative and the public engagement in this work, acknowledging those who contributed to the AHRC funded follow-on project from Tales of the Frontier.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.talesofthefrontier.org/uploads/1/0/6/8/10683127/totf_web_report.pdf
 
Description A workshop for members of the public 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A workshop in Tullie House Museum, Carlisle with members of the public to develop the impact of the work undertaken in the Tales of the Frontier follow on funding project. This was part of a project to increase the uptake of the leaflets and information produced as a result of the AHRC-funded project and was funded by Durham University in May 2016. We considered the impact of the themed leaflets produced by the project and aimed to spread public engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.talesofthefrontier.org/uploads/1/0/6/8/10683127/totf_web_report.pdf
 
Description Leaflets and booklet on 'Tales' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact These leaflets were intended to communicate the results of the 'Tales of the Frontier' project to a broad audience by telling a range of tales about the landscape and culture of Hadrian's Wall. We printed copies and gave them to various venues along the Wall to hand out and have also made these available online through our website (see below). We are currently exploring the number of downloads and the impact of these leaflets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.talesofthefrontier.org/wall-stories-leaflets-and-booklet.html
 
Description Talk at Hadrian's Wall Networking Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Around 120 participants attended the Hadrian's Wall Networking day and Hingley was the first speaker. This was a lively event at which the results of the Tales of the Frontier project were addressed and there was a lively discussion about broadening participation with regard to the monument.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.visithadrianswall.co.uk/whats-on/hadrians-wall-networking-day-celebrating-your-world-heri...
 
Description Talk at Tullie House Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk about Life of the Frontiers at the Tullie House Museum on 30th November 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://visitnorthumberland.com/news/2014/09/hadrian-s-wall-country-talks-trails-app-prizes
 
Description Workshop to inform leaflets 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We held two workshops to help to scope and provide information for leaflets. These were attend by around 40 people including local residents and officers from a range of organisations with interests in Hadrian's Wall and its landscapes. We are currently monitoring (with resources provided by Durham University) the impact of these worships on those that attended and also the impact of the leaflets that were produced.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015
URL http://www.talesofthefrontier.org