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Staff Profile

Dr Tom Ratcliffe

Lecturer in Sustainability, Tourism and Heritage Management

I specialise in Sustainability, Tourism and Heritage studies including research themes such as community identity and participation, contested landscapes, sustainable land management practices, land ownership, power dynamics and social and ecological inequalities. My research explores culture and nature relationships within the context of the biodiversity and climate crises in the Anthropocene. In particular, my research has focussed on green spaces mainly UK National Parks and has used social science research methods including walking interviews.

Prior to returning to academic life in 2017, I worked as a Heritage and Tourism Consultant for five years designing strategic plans and conducting audience research projects for National Lottery Heritage Fund projects at heritage and landscape sites across the United Kingdom.

In addition, I am a member of the Visitor Economy and Experience Research Group, the Ecological Justice Research Group and the Living Lab at York St John University.


My current research includes the following projects:

  • PRME sustainability research project (Funded by student internship funding)
  • Diversification of visitors and organisation at York Archaeological Trust (Funded by Community Research grants programme 2022-23)
  • Making connections in National Park landscapes (Funded by QR - continuation of PhD research)
  • Sustainable Tadcaster (Funded by Community Research grants programme 2023-24) 

My recent publications:

From 2017-2022, I completed an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD thesis titled ‘Contested natural-cultural landscapes in the Anthropocene: Connecting community identity, heritage and influence in the North York Moors National Park’. 

The PhD research project investigated how people with a range of invested interests identify with three landscapes within the North York Moors National Park and the role communities have currently in influencing decisions about landscape protection and change within the power structures of these contested landscapes. A variety of social science research methods were used with walking interviews being the primary method.