Heritage Connects


Heritage Connects: history, community and public health

Funder: Wellcome Trust (Seed Award)

This exciting new research project collaborates with a major MRC-funded study of the health impacts of a new urban green-way in Belfast to explore the potential of engagement with heritage to reduce health inequalities and enhance social capital among urban communities.

Taking two historic parks in east Belfast as a case study, it will employ a mixture of quantitative and qualitative surveys, focus groups and public engagement activities with the communities living near them to assess the role of heritage in individuals’ and communities’ well-being and health behaviours and the factors which influence this.

Olwen Purdue is the Principal Investigator for Heritage Connects, alongside her Co-Investigators Leonie Hannan, Frank Kee and Mark Tully. They will be working with Deepti Adlakha to deliver this project. James Greer is the post-doctoral researcher on the project.


Dr James Greer is Project Research Assistant, and Visiting Research Fellow at QUB School of History, Anthropology Philosophy and Politics, 25 University Square, Belfast, BT7 1NN.

Dr James Greer is a Research Assistant on the project. His PhD thesis and most of his published work explores the political history of Northern Ireland, in particular the development of Ulster unionism and the modern Northern conflict. Currently he is completing a project of academic research and public engagement discussing Ulster Scots political thought in modern Ireland, focusing on themes such as the complexities of Presbyterianism in the early years of the Northern Ireland state. His varied other research interests include the roles of women in early twentieth-century Ulster politics and society, inter-war Northern labour politics, and sport and popular culture during the Northern conflict. Furthermore, he has also authored reports commissioned by District Policing and Community Safety Partnerships analysing crime and community safety in Belfast.

Contact: james.greer@qub.ac.uk

Professor Frank Kee is Director of the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health (NI) and Principal Investigator of the PARC Study. Professor Kee led the successful bid to the UKCRC for a Centre of Excellence in Public Health (NI), one of five centres in the UK. Professor Kee was appointed to the Medical School in 1998. He has been the primary grant holder of the ECTIM Study Extension in Belfast (Etude Cas Temoin de l’Infarctus Myocarde), the Belfast EARS II study (European Atherosclerosis Study) and of the Belfast PRIME Study Extension.

Dr Mark Tully is the Study Director on the PARC Study. Mark graduated in Biomedical Science from QUB in 2000. He then went on to complete his PhD looking at the effects of home-based walking programmes on cardiovascular risk factors. Mark also works on a number of projects looking at the effects of the environment on physical activity.

Dr Deepti Adlakha has a background in architecture and urban design. She completed her PhD from the Brown School, Prevention Research Centre, Washington University in St. Louis, United States, and thereafter started working at the Centre for Public Health, Queens University-Belfast. Deepti is passionate about promoting healthy, livable cities and her research focus includes understanding how public built environments impact health behaviours such as physical activity and recreation.