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Centre for Heritage

Bringing together researchers and students from a variety of academic and professional disciplines

Overview of the Centre

The Centre for Heritage is a leading research centre for the interdisciplinary study of heritage from the conceptual, and the virtual to the material fabric and its sustainable conservation.

It brings together researchers who contribute to the identification, preservation, and better understanding of heritage to address political (Brexit, conflict and civil unrest), economic (recession, funding cuts, poverty, inequalities), social and educational (disengagement), and environmental (pollution, climate change, and natural disasters) threats. The Centre spans all disciplines to create a space of collaboration to develop new models and tools, including digital ones to modernise and energise the field.

The Centre for Heritage involves internationally recognised research leaders from several disciplines, who aim to develop a radical and dynamic approach to heritage. The wide ranging expertise of its members means that it traverses traditional divisions between heritage studies, archaeology, architecture, geography, law, management and conservation to develop an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates the sciences, social sciences and humanities into a coherent framework.Interdisciplinarity is achieved through the analysis of five research questions that cut across the different fields and that allow for both coherence and agility regarding the development of present and future sub research themes:

  • What is heritage?
  • How to protect/conserve/display/manage heritage?
  • When should heritage be protected/displayed/managed?
  • Why heritage should be protected/displayed/managed?
  • For whom should heritage be preserved/displayed/managed?

These five questions are addressed by members at the local, national and international levels:

  • Historical and cultural: Identity and memory
  • Economic (including UN SDG): Tourism and sustainable development, Reduction of poverty and inequality, Trafficking of cultural property, Human development, Gender equality, Heritage and rights (including cultural rights), Communities and governance, Promotion of peace (war, conflict, restitution), Well being
  • Environmental: pollution, climate change, green heritage
  • Technical: conservation tools and practices
  • Digitalisation: Documentation, Representation and Dissemination
  • Material culture
  • Methods and concepts: including interdisciplinary methods

The Centre aims to support individual and collaborative research projects that have heritage as their common denominator and to bring cross fertilization of ideas between the different fields of culture, heritage and conservation. It bridges the gap between heritage in sciences (documentation, carbonation, optical imagery, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and conservation…) and heritage in social sciences and humanities (politics, power, contestation, values…).The Centre’s aims and objectives are to:

  • organise interdisciplinary workshops on themes that address the broader research questions and select objects/case studies as a focus point
  • develop innovative research programs and projects
  • encourage and develop peer support group
  • promote international exchanges through the organisation of interdisciplinary research events,
  • support the next generation of researchers, in particular post-graduate students by developing cross faculty teaching around the different subthemes