Where We Live Now is a series of activities centred on the theme of place and place-based policy-making being conducted by the British Academy from Summer 2015 to Spring 2017. It incorporate events, academic analysis, policy forums, and public engagement through multimedia. This project is being led by Dame Fiona Reynolds Hon FBA (Cambridge) and Deborah Lamb (Historic England) and is being overseen by a project working group and the Academy’s Public Policy Committee.

Where We Live Now will be divided into two parts:

Part One: What do places mean to people?

First, the project will use the expertise of its fellowship to ask what we can learn from research in the humanities and social sciences about understanding what place means to people. What are the factors which generate a sense of belonging, and how do we begin to understand the different scales of place which people relate to for different purposes? The Academy will also use a variety of media and events to engage with the public and learn how people feel about where they live.

Part Two: What does place-based policy look like?

The second stage of the project will use the evidence gathered above to assess whether policy-making could better take into account how people feel about where they live. What does place-based policy-making – holistic policy-making that integrates sectors – look like, how is it being developed and implemented? We will test whether developing an understanding of the way people relate to places would help in designing more successful policies, and what the barriers to greater place-based policy-making might be.


Alongside this regularly updated microsite, event summaries, and multimedia outputs, Where We Live Now will conclude with with two documents – the first, a collection of perspectives on place from diverse topics such as cinema to social integration, and the second a proposition to policy-makers showing the potential for place-based policy-making and recommendations to better incorporate people’s connections to place in the policy process.


Jamiesha Majevadia
Public Policy Adviser, British Academy

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