Dr. Alex Langlands
Senior Lecturer - History – College of Arts & Humanities, Swansea University
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Heritage and historic assets are increasingly playing a role in the place-making ambitions of national, regional and local governments. Sense of place, identity capital and the rich narratives that can come from drawing the past into the present can all serve as an active agent in social, economic and cultural regeneration. However, it is often in some of the most deprived areas – those regions ravaged and then abandoned by heavy industry – where the need for regeneration is greatest but where resources and affordances are at their lowest. Since 2010 the College of Arts and Humanities has been engaged in a sustained campaign of research and public engagement around the Lower Swansea Valley, where now only a handful of derelict buildings are all that remains of a once global copper industry. This talk will review much of this work, highlighting both the successes and the on-going challenges, whilst at the same time identifying key opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration in ambitious plans for further public engagement and regeneration.
I am an archaeologist and historian specialising in the early medieval period but with interests across British landscape history, from the Bronze Age through to the Second World War. My areas of research look at developments in the Anglo-Saxon landscape, from the fall of Roman Britain to the eve of the Domesday Book and the Norman Conquest. I am also interested in the topography of early medieval towns and proto-urban development from the ninth to the eleventh centuries. I have developed a strong GIS-orientated approach to landscape interpretation and heritage management and in recent years I have worked with Ordnance Survey exploring methods for assessing the historic character of landscapes and understanding temporality in both landscapes and the mapped and digital data relating to them.
I have over six years’ experience working as a field archaeologist on commercial and research excavations across Britain and Europe. I have also worked in the broadcast media as a presenter and producer for BBC Two and Channel 4, including Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm, one of the most successful history television brands on BBC Two, achieving regular viewing figures of over 3 million but peaking at 5.9 million viewers. I have co-authored a Sunday Times Bestseller in the Hard-back Non-Fiction category, been nominated for British Broadcast Awards in category of Best Factual Programme and presented in a BBC Two series winning the prestigious Learning on Screen Award given by the British Universities Film & Video Council. As an independent heritage professional I continue to consult on a range of heritage related projects and feature in broadcast productions for BBC Two.