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Roots and Futures: Exploring the roots of communities old and new in North Sheffield (Project Report 2021, English and Arabic versions)

posted on 2021-09-02, 14:50 authored by Isabelle CarterIsabelle Carter, Elizabeth Craig-AtkinsElizabeth Craig-Atkins

Roots and Futures is a collaboration between archaeologists at the University of Sheffield, community-based organisations Zest and KINCA, Kelham Island Museum, and heritage consultants at Ecus. The project explores the links between history, place and health and wellbeing by supporting and empowering local people to share their memories of Upperthorpe, Netherthorpe, Neepsend and Kelham Island, places that we refer to collectively throughout the report as ‘North Sheffield’. Through their stories, Roots and Futures sheds light on the aspects of archaeology and history that are most important and meaningful to communities today.

The project is an example of direct engagement with people in North Sheffield. It began in Spring 2020 with the creation of the Roots and Futures app, which invited users to add stories about their favourite places to an interactive map of North Sheffield. Over Summer 2021, we have spoken in-depth with local people about their engagement with the past in a series of consultation activities. The Roots and Futures blog has recorded our progress along the way. To access the blog, visit:

This report documents our findings so far and their implications for future heritage work with communities in Sheffield and beyond.

It highlights the community-expressed need for:

  • Taking a place-based approach that utilises outdoor activities to bring heritage, and its attendant health and wellbeing benefits, to local communities.
  • Highlighting social and cultural histories to tell more personalised and diverse stories of Sheffield’s past.
  • Adopting creative approaches to engaging with the past through oral histories, material culture and heritage trails of historic buildings and landscapes.

The research presented in this report obtained ethics approval from the University of Sheffield Research Ethics Committee, application numbers 034934 and 040303.


National Productivity Investment Fund, via University of Sheffield



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