UCL Centre for Digital Humanities


The heritage of Brexit: role of the past in political identity construction on social media

21 March 2018, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm

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UCL Centre for Digital Humanities
Gower Street
United Kingdom

What is the role of the pre-modern past in the construction of political identities relating to the UK's membership in the European Union? This talk addresses questions around the heritage(s) of Brexit and how they feature in social media political activism.

The paper examines how materials and ideas from Iron Age to Early Medieval Britain and Europe were leveraged by those who discussed the topic of Brexit in over 1.4 million messages published in dedicated Facebook pages. Through a combination of data-intensive and qualitative investigations of textual data, it identifies the 'heritages' invoked in support of pro- or anti-Brexit sentiments.

All welcome and there will be drinks and discussion after the talk. Attendance is free but we kindly ask that you register for the event.


Chiara Bonacchi is an AHRC-funded Co-Investigator on the Iron Age and Roman Heritages: ancient identities in modern Britain project. She is also Co-founder of MicroPasts and Network Co-ordinator for Archaeology, Media and Communication Research Network. She holds an Honorary Research Associate title at the UCL Institute of Archaeology

Her research interests include public perceptions and experience of the past; the communication and representation of archaeology; digital technologies in heritage and GLAMs; Heritage and Data science.