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Plural Heritages of Istanbul

Exploring the cultural heritage of the Land Walls of Istanbul.

How do different communities give meaning to major heritage sites? What happens when such meanings are intertwined with histories of conflict and marginalisation, or are not recognised in official heritage interpretations?

This project explored the ‘plural heritages’ of the Istanbul Land (‘Theodosian’) Walls and their surroundings. This 5th-Century CE UNESCO World Heritage site stretches over six kilometres through the city.

To see our researchers in action, watch our short video.

The Plural Heritages project also served as the central case study for our book, Plural Heritages and Community Co-production, which you can find here.

Heritage student

About the research project

We undertook walking interviews with community members, producing a large body of data about people’s relations to place history. We then worked with communities to develop new understandings of the heterogeneous heritage value of the Walls, by co-producing public-facing films, and a mobile app. Finally, the ‘Official Development Assistance’ (ODA) phase of the project involved the roll-out of toolkits and the training of Turkish heritage professionals and relevant stakeholders, in order to disseminate insights and models of practice relating to plural heritages, engaging with communities, and co-production.

To learn more about the project, visit our website.

Funder: The project was funded by the AHRC (UK) and TUBITAK (Turkey) under the Katip-Celebi Newton fund.

Duration: October 2016-December 2018

PI and further team: The Newcastle team comprises

  • Prof. Chris Whitehead (PI) - Media, Culture, Heritage, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Dr Tom Schofield (Co-I) - Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Gönül Bozoğlu (RA) - Media, Culture, Heritage, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Dan Foster Smith (RA) - Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures

Partners:  Istanbul Bilgi University; Bursa Uludağ University