Heritage Inclusion/Exclusion in a Post-Brexit UK

Project Team: Tanja Hoffmann and Emma Waterton

Project Support and Funding: The Leverhulme Trust

This project builds on the results of the 2003-2004 national survey that formed part of the ESRC-funded project Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion: A Critical Investigation (Bennet et al. 2009), which was in turn a primary reference for a national survey undertaken as part of the 2012-2014 ARC-funded project Australian Cultural Fields: National and Transnational Dynamics (Bennett et al. 2020). In the 20 years since the first Cultural Field survey, the United Kingdom has experienced social, political, and economic ruptures that have redrawn boundaries of inclusion and exclusion. The 2008 financial crisis followed by over a decade of austerity measures has reshaped some of the nation’s most deeply held values and institutions. Participation in international conflict coupled with pre-Brexit freedom of movement have shaped the UK’s global reputation and the national imaginary. The COVID-19 pandemic, which followed closely on the heels of Brexit, has enlivened debates about national identity in times of crisis. Heritage has played a role in each of these seismic changes as the citizenry of the UK look to heritage past and present to reimagine who fits in, and who remains outside of, the past, present, and future of the UK.

Two decades on from the original data collection, we look to understand the degree to which cultural tastes and practices have changed in a post-Brexit United Kingdom. Specifically, we seek to understand how different forms of heritage are engaged in, and engage with, respondent perceptions of social, cultural, and economic inclusion or exclusion. Both previous surveys encompassed a wide range of cultural fields, but, given Bennett and Rowe’s assertion that there is “much to be gained in future work [that adopts] a narrower focus” (2022: p. 6), we take as our survey model only the heritage-centred questions developed for the Australian Cultural Fields project (Bennet et al. 2020; Rowe et al. 2018). Questions about consumption of heritage, including but not limited to questions concerning recognition of and visits to a list of named cultural items and places, will be compared with the socio-demographic characteristics of respondents. These include, age, gender, occupation, class position and identification, level of education, field of study and university attended, occupation and level of education for partners, ethnicity and ethnic identification, country of birth, level of income, capital holdings, and finally, housing and place of residence. The survey aims to capture a representative sample of UK households, with a possible ‘boost’ sample required to capture responses of minority populations who are often less likely to participate in a national survey. The survey aims to capture a representative sample of UK households, with a possible ‘boost’ sample required to capture responses of minority populations who are often less likely to participate in a national survey.

Sustainable Development Goal/s: