Laura Ferguson



Queen’s University Belfast/University of Leeds

Department: Planning

Funding: Scottish Arctic Club

Time frame: 2019

Keywords: culture; heritage; tourism; coastal; Longyearbyen; planning; risk; preservation



Longyearbyen’s Coal Mining Heritage: For Town and For Tourism

This project’s remit covers the tangible and intangible coal mining heritage in Longyearbyen, its future preservation and development, and how this is situated in the context of industrial heritage in the wider Arctic region.  It is a small research project, part-funded by the Scottish Arctic Club. Project work consists of three parts: (i) attitudes of residents and visitors towards Longyearbyen’s coal mining heritage; (ii) the insights of heritage professionals regarding the conservation and development of Arctic industrial heritage and Longyearbyen’s coal mining heritage in particular; and (iii) observed conditions of cultural heritage in the Longyearbyen area for risk assessment.  It is hoped the data from parts (i) and (ii) in particular will feed into a larger project on Arctic industrial heritage in future.

Focus of current fieldwork (May 2019): 

Part (i) shall consist of two e-surveys, one designed for tourists and one designed for residents. They shall capture the range of attitudes of tourists and residents towards the link between coal mining and town identity, the preservation of the coal mining heritage as the industry declines, and the exploitation of it for tourism.  Part (ii) will consist of interviews with individuals such as experts, those working in heritage or heritage tourism, interest groups and local enthusiasts.  Part (iii) links to a separate purpose but relates to Longyearbyen’s mining heritage.  It aims to analyse the risks to coastal cultural heritage in the Longyearbyen area by combining quantitative modelling with qualitative field data.  The data gathering will consist of rapid field assessment of heritage assets in the Longyearbyen vicinity, during which the current state and condition of heritage assets will be recorded, based on visual inspection. 

Updated project is coming