Dr Ioanna Katapidi

Photograph of Dr Ioanna Katapidi

Department of History

Contact details

Arts 432
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Birmingham, interested in the interaction between people and place and the role of heritage in this interaction. I am particularly interested in the role of heritage in place making and place identity in urban and rural areas, exploring especially local communities’ perceptions and their dynamics and potential in informing relevant conservation and planning policies.


  • PhD: Department of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University
  • MSc in Urban Regeneration: Bartlett School of Planning, University College of London (UCL)
  • Msc in Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, Greece


Ioanna is a lecturer and has joined Ironbridge International Institute of Cultural Heritage (IIICH)  in May 2017.

Ioanna has completed her undergraduate studies in Greece and her postgraduate studies in the UK. Her first degree is in Urban and Regional Planning, from the Department of Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly, in Greece. Her dissertation focused on a specific category of heritage, that of traditional settlements in Greece, constituting the first systematic mapping and documentation of crucial characteristics of all the traditional settlements in Greece (almost 900 in total). She graduated with a First Honours Degree, coming first in her class and obtaining 12 scholarships and awards for her excellent performance during the 5 years of her studies.

In 2009 Ioanna moved to the UK for her MSc in Urban Regeneration, at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College of London (UCL), for which she secured funding by Achillopoulos Foundation Institute in Greece. Her dissertation explored the relationship between conservation of heritage and economic development, focusing on the efficiency of Greek conservation policies in addressing this relationship.

Her PhD was a natural evolution of her growing interest in heritage, which she completed at the School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University in 2015, receiving funding from Bodossakis Foundation. Her thesis explores the way in which people perceive heritage in living heritage places, focusing on Greek traditional settlements. The thesis particularly examines what is identified and valued as heritage and why and how conservation policies may affect these processes. The thesis argues that these are not three different aspects which can be explained through single independent factors alone, but they are interrelated forming people’s perceptions of heritage. Ioanna has closely worked with local communities in her case study areas organising focus groups and workshops and bringing together experts and residents. During her PhD, Ioanna was also actively involved in teaching and tutoring, in various courses.

Part of her research has been awarded at AESOP (Association of European Planning Schools) international conference in 2015 receiving the ‘best young academic paper’ award for a paper exploring people’s awareness of heritage.

Straight after her PhD Ioanna worked as a research associate at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Her research during that time revolved around the area of sociotechnical studies of the urban environment focusing essentially on place identity, including the role of heritage in the construction of this identity.

Before joining IIICH Ioanna worked as a Teaching Associate at the Department of Planning and Regional Development, University of Thessaly in Greece. She was the module leader of the ‘Management of Natural, Cultural Heritage and Landscape’ course.

Ioanna is now embarking on a new journey during which she will further expand her research to respond to crucial questions related to heritage, meshing with the interests of IIICH and CHAMP (Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy, University of Illinois).  Under the broad theme of Heritage, Tourism and Economic Development, she will explore questions such as:  How does heritage contribute to place identity? What are the intersections between heritage and planning policies? How do local, regional and national identities fare within the emergence of heritage economies? How are different types of heritage received by communities in the face of social change and economic decline in the urban and rural environment? 


Ioanna is responsible for and the convenor of the following courses.

  • Heritage Conservation Management
  • Heritage Management Practices
  • Research Skills and Methods.

Postgraduate supervision

Heritage and Place Making
Heritage and Place identity
Heritage led urban regeneration
Heritage and Sustainable Development
The social construction of heritage

Find out more - our PhD Cultural Heritage  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My main research interest lies on the idea of heritage as a social construct. I am particularly interested in the way people perceive and ‘construct’ heritage, especially in living heritage places.

Local communities are at the core of my research exploring their importance in the identification and interpretation of heritage in order to a) understand what heritage is about, for who and why, b) the role of heritage values in leveraging economic and social benefits and c) contribute to conservation and management heritage policies capable of enhancing the economic and social sustainability of places with heritage sources.

In addition, conducting my own research and participating in a number of heritage related conferences, sparked my interest in expanding my knowledge on the following topics:  heritage-based economies and tourism, heritage and place identity, heritage and sustainable development.

Given the focus of my thesis on Greek traditional settlements, I had also the opportunity to explore heritage in the light of economic crisis and the actions towards or against conservation policies triggered by economic crisis.

Being a bridge between University of Birmingham and University of Illinois provides me the opportunity to get involved in projects in both IIICH (Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage) at University of Birmingham and CHAMP (Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy) at the University of Illinois, US.

I have been involved in an AHRC funded project named ‘World Heritage FOR Sustainable Development’. The aim of the project is to establish and build an international network that will explore various pathways by which sites already inscribed on the World Heritage List in the developing world can be sensitively mobilised so as to contribute to the fulfilment of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ultimate focus of the project will be to share innovation and best practice with and between developing nations with World Heritage Sites. It will draw upon extant research and professional engagement relating to all World Heritage sites in order to interrogate and distil working principles, issues and practice.

In addition, I will get involved in ‘The Mythic Mississippi Project’ which is a research project, educational laboratory and development initiative offered by the University of Illinois. This is a long-term multi- and interdisciplinary project exploring a dozen places of major significance in the State of Illinois.

Key issue in both projects is the involvement of different stakeholders and communities in the interpretation and management of heritage. Such an involvement aims to have direct public impacts and contribute to shaping more effective and welcome conservation policies and practices.

Other activities

Papers and Presentations in Conferences

  • How do conservation policies affect the way in which people value heritage?. Paper presented in Spaces of Dialogues for Places of Dignity, AESOP conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 11-14 July 2017. 
  • How does nature affect perceptions of built heritage? Local communities’ insights in Greek  traditional settlements. Paper presented in Nature & Culture: Heritage in Context Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 16-19 May, 2016.
  • Understanding perceptions of heritage in living places: The case of Greek traditional settlements. Paper presented in Global Crisis, Planning and Challenges to Spatial Justice in the North and the South, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 3-8 July, 2016. 
  • Economic crisis as a double edged sword for heritage conservation: Locals’ insights in Greek traditional settlements. Paper presented in Changing Cities Conference, Porto Heli, Greece, 22-26 June, 2015. 
  • Examining awareness of heritage in Greek traditional settlements. Presentation in the conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), Utrecht, Netherlands, 2014.
  • Homelessness in the Context of an Acute Economic Crisis in Europe:  the Case of Greece (with Sapounakis, A.) Paper presented in the European Research Conference Homelessness, Homelessness in the time of crisis Warsaw 19th September 2014.
  • The role of conservation policies in the protection of cultural landscape: Challenges and Threats. The case of Pelion in Greece. Paper presented in Changing Cities Conference, Skiathos, Greece 18-21 June, 2013.
  • Is conservation policy responsible for the economic development of the historic urban environment?  The case of Greece, Heritage 2012, Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development, Editor: Amoeda R. Lira S. Pinheiro C. pp. 81-93. 
  • In Defence of Public Open Space in the Modern Greek City: Challenges that Need to be Faced. Presentation in the conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), Ankara, Turkey,  11-15 July, 2012.
  • Is conservation policy responsible for the economic development of the historic urban environment? The case of Greece. Presentation in the 3rd International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development, Porto, Portugal, 19-22 June, 2015. 
  • Past, Present, Future: Approaching the conservation of historical settlements concept. Presentation in Postgraduate Conference and Theory School, Gregynog, Wales, UK, 25-27 April, 2012.
  • Location Patterns and Social Integration of Economic Immigrants. A Comparative Analysis of the Greek and Northern European Context (with Sapounakis, A.). Paper presented in the European Research Conference Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe, Pisa, Italy, 16th September, 2011.
  • Urban Regeneration in Mediterranean Historic cities. Presentation in the ‘Why does the past matter’ conference of The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Heritage and Society, Massachusetts, US, May 2011.
  • Urban Regeneration of the western waterfront in Crete: Five years after. Presentation in the conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning, Helsinki, July 2010.


Recent publications


Katapidi, I 2023, 'The role of conservation policies in local understandings of heritage in living heritage places: a Greek testimony', International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 275-293. https://doi.org/10.1080/13527258.2023.2181377

Katapidi, I 2021, 'Heritage policy meets community praxis: widening conservation approaches in the traditional villages of central Greece', Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 81, pp. 47-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2020.09.012

Katapidi, I & Sapounakis, A 2017, 'Evictions from Primary Residences in Greece: Methodological Concerns Regarding the Collection of Data from Civil Courts’ Records for Tenancies', European Journal of Homelessness , vol. 11, no. 2, 2, pp. 149-162.

Katapidi, I 2015, 'Examining awareness of heritage in Greek traditional settlements', Institution of Civil Engineers. Proceedings. Urban Design and Planning, vol. 168, no. 5, pp. 251-258. https://doi.org/10.1680/udap.14.00040

Katapidi, I 2014, 'Does Greek conservation policy effectively protect the cultural landscapes? a critical examination of policy’s efficiency in Greek traditional settlements', European Spatial Research and Policy, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 97-113. https://doi.org/10.1515/esrp-2015-0007

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Katapidi, I, Mallekidou, H & Krause, A 2014, Challenges in achieving sustainable energy goals in historical cities of the European Union: a reflexive debate about contemporary urban development and the purpose of planning. in Spatial Planning & Energy Young Planners Workshop. 1 edn, ECTP-CEU, Brussels-Belgium, pp. 162-176.


Katapidi, I & Robinson, M 2022, World Heritage and Sustainable Development: Purpose, Practice and Possibilities. in C Cross & JD Giblin (eds), Critical Approaches to Heritage for Development. 1st edn, Rethinking Development, Routledge, London. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003107361-3

Katapidi, I 2020, Community Engagement in the Development and Management of Heritage sites. in The Protection and Utilization pf Contemporary Industrial Heritage: Studies on the Third-front Industrial Heritage. Shanghai University, pp. 102-118.

View all publications in research portal