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Name: Faye Shortland 

PhD: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Human Geography) 

Thesis Title: 'Living Heritage' and living heritage: The ontology and experience of cultural landscapes in the English Lake District 

Thesis Description:

I am a PhD student in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. Drawing conceptually on work in geography and anthropology the PhD aims to problematize the concept of a ‘living cultural landscape’ by analysing its varied interpretation and mobilisation by the range of stakeholders whose lives are intimately enfolded with the land. The PhD will combine ethnographic fieldwork among farmers and other groups (participant observation, interviews, field-diary) with discourse analysis of official documents (management plans, UNESCO documents).

The primary context for the PhD is the Lake District’s newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Status, gained in July 2017. In exploring the multiple interpretations and experiences of landscape heritage, however, its relevance will extend to making theoretical and policy contributions of international significance. The objectives are to:

  • Explore the embodied experience of directly engaging with a living cultural landscape from multiple perspectives
  • Understand how varied lived experiences translate into diverse interpretations and representations of living cultural landscapes and the implications this may have for conflicts over their appropriate management
  • Make policy recommendations for the management of living cultural landscapes that are cognizant of the aspirations of the relevant stakeholders

Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr. Steven Emery (University of Birmingham) 

Dr. Katy Bennett (University of Leicester) 

About Me:

I undertook my BSc in Geography at the University of Birmingham from 2013-2016, I then moved to Durham University for the year 2016-2017 and completed my MA in Socio-Cultural Anthropology. The combination of these two disciplines has provided me with a vast skills set, both theoretically and methodologically, to undertake this PhD.

In addition to the PhD, so far, I have taught on the following undergraduate geography modules:

  • Contemporary Human Geography (Year 1)
  • Mapping the Midlands (Year 1)
  • Geographies of Children and Young People (Year 3)
  • Rotterdam Field Course (Year 1)
  • Berlin Field Course (Year 2)
  • Environmental Assessment and Management (Year 2) Guest Lecture 
  • Social and Political Geography (Year 2) 
  • Malta Field Course (Year 2) 

Voluntary Roles:

I have a strong belief in promoting equality and diversity within our department (GEES) and have taken on the role of 'Equality and Diversity Postgraduate Rep' which has involved organising a fundraising day, including sessions and panels relating to equality and diversity. Further to this, it also involves liaising with the undergraduate reps to ensure their voices are heard at the school equality and diversity meetings. 

For the years 2018/19; 2019/2020 I am also the Annual Conference Officer for the Postgraduate Forum for the Royal Geographical Society (PGF RGS-IBG) and this role will involve creating and running sessions for the RGS-IBG International conference in London in 2019. Since January 2020 I am also a Postgraduate Fellow of the RGS (with IBG).

Conference Papers/ Seminars:

  • "Narrating the Lake District: An Ethnographic Study"  at Orientations: A conference of Narrative and Place, Panel 8A - Creating a Nation: Landscape, Heritage and Englishness, University of Nottingham, 30-31st May 2018

  • "Cultural Landscapes: Ontology and Experience of the English Lake District" at RGS-IBG International Conference, Postgraduate Snapshots in/of the Landscape, Cardiff University, 28th-31st August 2018

  • "Ontology and Experience: The Management of a newly inscribed World Heritage Site, The English Lake District" at the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage Research Seminar Series,University of Birmingham, 28th November 2018

  • "A Partnership Approach: Embodied Encounters within the Lake District National Park" at RGS-IBG International Conference, Trust in Rural Land Governance Session, RGS-IBG London, 28th August- 30th August 2019

  • "A Beautiful Ruin? The Case of the English Lake District" at RGS-IBG International Conference, New and Emerging Rural Researchers Session, RGS-IBG London, 28th August- 30th August 2019

  • "Multiple Understandings of the 'Rural': A Diverse Methodological Approach", Session Convener at the RGS-IBG 2019, 28th August- 30th August 2019

  • Chaired "Environmental Practices" at the 13th Annual Conference of the Landscape Space and Place Research Group, 9th September 2019

Other Research Interests:

  • Environmental History
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Law 
  • Agricultural Policy
  • European Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Governance Strategies 


University email address:


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