Heriot Watt University

James Watt Scholarship

Sustainable heritage tourism in the Clyde river catchment
A multi-disciplinary approach to past, present and future waterscapes

Researcher: Luke Devlin

The Clyde’s iconic status was created through heavy industry and ship-building, but the catchment encompasses a more diverse, complex historic landscape. By critiquing past approaches to heritage and considering current policies and procedures, this project addresses potentials for, approaches to, and underlying philosophies of future heritages, using the interdisciplinary “waterscapes perspective” developed in IRC-based workshops since 2014. Combining expertise in cultural anthropology and human ecology (Kockel) with heritage marketing (Taheri), the project aims to develop innovative models for heritage engagements, taking the Clyde river catchment as its focus. The research addresses patterns and practices of people’s engagement with their built environment and the wider cultural landscape and seeks to work with communities to re-discover places and spaces by re-generating creative responses to these that promote economic, social, psychological, physiological and ecological wellbeing, and making these responsive processes sustainable.

The project’s aims are pursued through four objectives, each guided by a primary research question:

  • Qualitative fieldwork, applying ethnographic, oral history and practice-led methods, seeks to capture who sees which places/spaces as their heritage, and what their future aspirations for Clyde heritages are.
  • Surveying different actors and stakeholders of such places/spaces will help clarify who actually owns heritage places/spaces legally, who controls them economically, politically and culturally, and what impacts physical, economic, psychological and cultural pollution have had.
  • The IRC’s international network of practice will facilitate comparison with other case studies as appropriate, and examine possibilities for current and future community engagement, applying co-production models through various modes of creative response to our past.
  • Mapping aspirations with team members and local communities, using collaborative, co-design and co-production approaches supported by a range of mapping techniques, will capture and analyse intercultural interests, wishes, aspirations and concerns of communities for developing their future.

The project commenced in April 2016.