Ioanna has joined Ironbridge International Institute of Cultural Heritage (IIICH) as a research fellow under the Bridge Fellowship programme, which is a ‘Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education 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? 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? While the largest part of her time is devoted to research, Ioanna will also be involved in teaching in relevant courses in IIICH, UK and CHAMP, US.