Research project

Places of Joy: Heritage After Lockdown

Project overview

The economic and social effects of the COVID crisis are likely to lead to an extended period of widespread public anxiety. Provision of non-clinical solutions to the promotion of public wellbeing using existing resources is therefore vital.  A collaboration between , Places of Joy: The Role of Heritage After Lockdown investigates whether and why heritage appears as a joyful space at a time of national crisis, and thus to understand the specific characteristics of heritage sites that contribute to wellbeing and resilience. The research uses the unique period following the release of lockdown, when access to heritage is regained after a period of deprivation, to explore the potentials of heritage by examining:

What motivates people to visit heritage spaces after lockdown? What needs do access to heritage spaces satisfy?
How does heritage function to create wellbeing? What are the specific qualities of heritage sites that might enhance public wellbeing? How does an understanding of these qualities allow us to reflect on what heritage is?
What impacts do visits have on people and how might this affect attitudes and visits to heritage sites going forward? Do visits to heritage sites during Covid-19 lead to change in the perceived value of heritage?


Lead researcher

Professor Joanna Sofaer

Professor of Archaeology

Research interests

  • The role of cultural and community assets in health and wellbeing
  • The relationship between heritage and wellbeing
  • The social value of archaeology 
Connect with Joanna

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs