Resisting relocation and reconceptualising authenticity: the experiential and emotional values of the Southbank Undercroft, London, UK

Rebecca Madgin (Lead Author), David Webb, Pollyanna Ruiz, Tim Snelson

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27 Citations (Scopus)
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In 2013 the Southbank Centre proposed the redevelopment of a complex of buildings including a famous skate spot known as the Undercroft. The 2013–14 campaign to protect the Undercroft drew strongly on heritage arguments, encapsulated in the tagline, ‘You Can’t Move History: You Can Secure the Future’. The campaign, which was ultimately successful as the Undercroft remains open and skateable, provides a lens through which three key areas of heritage theory and practice can be examined. Firstly, the campaign uses the term ‘found space’ to reconceptualise authenticity and places a greater emphasis on embodied experiences of, and emotional attachments to, historic urban spaces. Secondly, the concept of found space opens up a discussion surrounding the role of citizen expertise in understanding the experiential and emotional values of historic urban spaces. Finally, the paper concludes by considering the place for found space and citizen expertise within current heritage discourse and practice. The paper is accompanied by the award-winning film ‘You Can’t Move History’ which was produced by the research team in collaboration with Paul Richards from BrazenBunch and directed by skater, turned filmmaker, Winstan Whitter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-598
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number6
Early online date13 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • experience
  • emotion
  • found space
  • authenticity
  • citizen expertise

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