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Research project

Places of Joy. Heritage After Lockdown

Lead researcher:

Project overview

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented scale of public wellbeing need. Provision of non-clinical solutions to support mental health using existing resources is therefore vital.

A collaboration between University of Southampton, University of Cambridge, University of Sussex, and Historic England, supported by the Heritage Alliance, Places of Joy investigates whether heritage appears as a joyful space at a time of national crisis, and if so, how and why.

The work aims to understand the roles and characteristics of heritage sites in contributing to wellbeing. Its findings are revealing the importance of visits to heritage sites in promoting positive subjective wellbeing, as well as satisfying deeper psychological and socio-cultural needs.


Lead researcher

Professor Joanna Sofaer

Professor of Archaeology

Research interests

  • The role of heritage and the historic environment in wellbeing
  • The social value of archaeology 

Connect with Joanna

Research outputs

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