AHRC Heritage launched to enhance UK heritage research

Date: 04/10/2017

Logo for the new AHRC Heritage Priority Area.

Today sees the official launch of AHRC Heritage Research, a priority area established to enhance heritage research across the UK, at a three-day major conference in London.

The AHRC Heritage Research team - led by Professor Rodney Harrison at University College London - will raise the profile of the heritage sector and provide leadership by working with the research community and partner organisations, in particular helping early career researchers to access opportunities.

Professor Harrison will  make important contributions to the understanding of heritage by connecting both natural and cultural heritage research and linking it with policy and practice in the UK and internationally.

AHRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Thompson, will launch the initiative at an event at the British Academy in London. Dr Karen Salt, Co-Director of the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Research in Race and Rights, will deliver the AHRC Heritage Research inaugural public lecture.

Professor Rodney Harrison, AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow and professor of heritage studies at University College London.

The AHRC identified heritage as one of three priority areas because of the profound difference it makes to society. As part of the launch, the AHRC Heritage Priority Area team has organised three days of events. They include a day-long conference on Thursday 5th October– organised in partnership with the Association of Critical Heritage Studies – entitled 'Heritage Studies: Critical Approaches and New Directions'.

Thursday’s conference will be followed by an evening panel to debate the role of Heritage research in policy and practice. Professor Harrison will chair the discussion joined academic colleagues and senior representatives from the Science Museum, the British Library, the National Trust, the Heritage Alliance, the Historic Houses Associaiton and Historic England.

A workshop on Friday will focus on how heritage research may help address challenges faced by developing countries as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund.

Professor Rodney Harrison, Professor of Heritage Studies at UCL and AHRC Heritage Fellow, said: “Heritage should not be something which we think of as stuck in the past. I want to develop new ways of addressing global problems by fostering interdisciplinary approaches to heritage.

“It is essential that we have an expanded understanding of heritage that works across traditional boundaries and brings natural and cultural heritage research into a closer conversation.

 “As Heritage Fellow, I plan to look at how we can connect academics, practitioners and the public in new, exciting and innovative ways as co-researchers. By uniting different disciplines we can look at how heritage may help to solve key challenges both in the UK and internationally.”

Professor Andrew Thompson, Arts & Humanities Research Council Chief Executive, said: “Heritage is one of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s three priority areas, and for good reason. Our continued focus on heritage research will play a vital role in examining not only our history, but our culture and values as well.

“The AHRC will stimulate and develop new heritage research across the arts and humanities, while continuing to build on the substantial heritage research that we’ve funded so far.”

For more details on AHRC heritage visit: www.heritage-research.org. You can follow them on Twitter using the @AhrcHeritage handle

Notes to Editors

About the Arts and Humanities Research Council

The AHRC funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.

You can find out more information via www.ahrc.ac.uk or following us on Twitter at @ahrcpress, on Facebook at Arts and Humanities Research Council, or Instagram at @ahrcpress. 

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