Exploring Co-production in Community Heritage Research: Reflections from the Bennachie Landscapes Project

Jeffry Oliver* (Corresponding Author), Jackson Armstrong, Elizabeth Curtis, Neil Curtis, Jo Vergunst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Co-production of community heritage research is in vogue. Co-production aims to break down barriers between ‘experts’ and the ‘public’ to co-create knowledge about the past. Few projects have sought to critically evaluate the complexities of co-producing research, particularly long-term ones, composed of multiple activities, which draw on differently situated groups. This paper
presents a reflective analysis by the university-based participants of a long-standing community heritage project focusing on the ruins of a locally celebrated crofting community in Northeast Scotland. The use of archaeological and archival techniques, the creation of an exhibition, a kitchen garden, promenade drama, a heritage app, and publications, provide both opportunities and challenges for co-production. The meaning of co-production was shaped by the nature of research activities, resulting in significantly varied levels of participation; its embedding therefore requires managing expectations. Effective relationships for co-creating knowledge are an outgrowth of building trust, which take time, patience, and commitment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-2015
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Community Archaeology & Heritage
Issue number3
Early online date19 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2022


  • Co-production
  • community formation
  • identities
  • power relations
  • trust


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