Tyneside modern Rome : the North East's image of its Roman past and its lost Englishness

Paul Barlow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article addresses the question of multiple identities in a sense of communal solidarity that is both powerful and also marginal. By emphasising the relationship between North East English identity and the remains of Roman England Barlow seeks to explore the varieties of ways in which the NE has construed its identity with reference to non-local or universalising models of civilisation and modernity. The article looks at the construction of a series of visitor centres defined by Romanness and their relation to the contemporary ideal of a weightless, service-centred economy. This is contrasted with the claims on cultural continuities represented by other centres which define identity in terms of industrialism. In addition to this local project, the essay is linked to a wider concern with issues of race, ethnicity and cultural identity which is developing into a wider project centring on the emergence of racio-ethnic models of cultural identity in the 19th and 20th centuries. This project links these models to the North East as a transitional or rather ‘multiple’ space in which competing an irreconcilable claims to continuities are articulated. The insights developed here will be furthered in the new research project ‘Northern Spaces’ currently being undertaken at Northumbria University. The essay is also part of a wider project which links local identities with models of ethnicity and debates about cultural ‘authenticity’ in the 19th-20th century. The wider project is international in scope, including research into ethno-racial models of art in Brittany, Germany and Palestine. These concerns will be linked to wider themes related to the 19th century concepts of “Semitic” and “Aryan” identities, along with models of local and national affiliations as articulated in important transitional locales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMade in Newcastle: Visual Culture
EditorsHilary Fawcett
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherNorthumbria University
Number of pages184
ISBN (Print)978-1904794264
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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