Claire Smith


The theme of Claire’s career thus far is a love of historic buildings. Currently a PhD student with Historic England and the University of York, Claire is researching the strategies around protecting historic buildings through national and local listing regimes. The project, titled ‘Beyond the List’, investigates the value of the National Heritage List for England, including listed buildings, and other mechanisms such as local lists; the aim is to critically assess today’s approach and seek ideas for the future direction of heritage protection through ‘listing’. Prior to her PhD, Claire was the Listed Buildings Caseworker for the Council for British Archaeology, reviewing listed building consent applications. Having successfully gained a Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2015, Claire also co-ordinates a conservation project for a Grade I listed church, dealing with some of the oldest stained glass in York, stabilising shifting masonry and helping to revitalise community and congregation interaction with their wonderful building. Claire has a range of teaching experience through the University of York’s archaeology department including as a module leader for their Heritage Protection MA skills module for the past three years. Combining academic thinking with practice is at the heart of her work.


Life before the Library Shelf: Cre-ating Impact before the PhD Thesis is Written

I initially resisted doing a PhD because I feared that it would sit on a library shelf (or in the online repository) never to be read, except by the poor supervisors upon whom it was forced. But the CDP approach offers the opportunity for something different. It can be three years of active engagement with academia and practice, transferring knowledge and creating outputs from the start.

This paper draws upon my own experience of communicating research and endeavouring to deliver impact at the early stages of a project, discussing how the connections to the sector through the CDP, particularly through early use of the Student Development Fund (SDF) and the partner organisation’s existing avenues, can play a role in delivering research impact during the process of the PhD research, before a thesis is written. Outputs discussed include: walking tours, volunteer training, newspaper articles, professional magazines, blogs, and staff conferences.

This paper also argues that creating impact is not just a one-way process of researchers announcing our findings, but can be used during the research to shape the direction of research questions and methods. The examples show that communicating research can be beneficial for us as researchers as well as to the audiences receiving our work – even when the research is not part of the PhD project – through responses to publicity cultivating networks and facilitating research avenues.