The UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies invites applications from UCL academic staff or doctoral/ postdoctoral students to its Small Grants Scheme, which funds projects that lead to or support collaborative research on critical heritage studies. Funding of up to £2000 per application is available per project. In very exceptional circumstances we may consider applications up to £4000. There is no minimum limit for awards.
We particularly invite proposals that:
- involve collaboration between staff based in different UCL departments, and/or utilise cross-disciplinary approaches;
- aim to achieve research impact (through scholarly output, public engagement, influence on policy and practice, knowledge transfer or similar);
- aim to prepare the ground for new, extended research projects (including grant applications).
Typical projects eligible for funding include:
- hosting a research conference, a seminar, workshop, or symposium;
- public engagement activities and collaborations with external non-academic institutions;
- costs associated with a specific project, e.g. research assistant time (UCL HEFCE staff costs/salaries are not eligible);
- costs associated with a pilot study or the preparation of an application for the funding of a major research project, e.g. travel to meet with potential partners at other institutions.
- General regulations
- The deadline for submission of proposals is 15 June 2018 (4th round, 15 October 2018).
- Projects will be selected by the CCHS Leadership Group. We aim to inform applicants of the result by 1 July 2018 (4th round: by 30 October 2018).
- The project needs to commence and its allocated funds strictly be spent by 28 February 2019.
- Further requirements
- The application must have the support of the lead applicant’s Head of Department
- Administrative support for financial processing and publicity must be available from your home department(s)
- A brief project description for the CCHS website must be submitted within 3 months of the project being selected for funding.
- Acknowledgment should be made of CCHS support in any event literature or project publication; any online details of the project should include a hyperlink to the CCHS website.
- Communication should be maintained during the project to enable reporting and/or publicity on CCHS website and social media (i.e. advance dates on when activities and events will take place, use of the hashtag CCHS on award holder’s own social media posts).
- A progress report must be submitted by the close of the project (with details of achievements against objectives; future dissemination plans; any income from other sources; and final expenditure).
- The project must be in line with UCL’s Expenses Policy https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/policies-procedures/expenses-policy
- Selection criteria
- A contribution to research and debate on critical heritage studies;
- An indication of how the proposal contributes to the themes of the existing CCHS research clusters (if applicable), or alternatively, how it expands and contributes to the development of new themes or areas of research in critical heritage studies at UCL;
- Quality of the underpinning research;
- Where applicable, evidence of the capacity to address publics beyond academia and/or create lasting outputs;
- A coherent programme;
- Value for money and a viable budget, ideally with additional sources of funding indicated;
- A completed application form that does not exceed three pages of A4 (not including the required CV of the lead applicant);
- Claiming funds
CCHS Small Grants funds are paid to the individual’s host department upon project completion. As you incur costs and make claims to your department, please keep copies of all receipts as these will be required as part of your final expenditure report to the CCHS.
If your application is successful, you will receive a confirmation email at the start of the project detailing the amount of your award. At the end of the project, the items which you claim for should generally align with those detailed in your original application. If actual costs are lower than estimated costs, the funds awarded will be reduced accordingly.
- Throughout the project, claims should be made via your home department(s) in accordance with department procedure and in line with UCL’s Expenses Policy https://www.ucl.ac.uk/finance/policies-procedures/expenses-policy
- At the close of the project you will need to submit a final report to the CCHS addressed to Research Centre Administrator Cecile Bremont
- firstname.lastname@example.org for review by the Leadership Group. This must give details of achievements against objectives; future dissemination plans; any income from other sources; and a detailed record of final expenditure.
- Successfull Case Studies
Mapping Memory Routes
By Dr Alda Terracciano, UCL Honorary Research Associate & Prof. Muki Haklay, UCL Department of Geography
This is a collaborative project between UCL departments of Information Studies and Geography, and external, non-academic organisations to test a participatory design methodology developed by artist-researcher Dr Terracciano with the aim of developing a wider research project on eliciting Community Memories for culturally diverse digital archives.
The project uses a cross-disciplinary approach to the themes explored by the CCHS Embracing the Archive cluster, of which Dr Terracciano is one of the leaders, through a new collaboration with Muki Haklay, professor of GIScience, and members of the Curve Community Centre, which supports survivors of the Grenfell Tower, providing mental health services, legal advice and cultural activities.
The project grows from Mapping Memory Routes of Moroccan Communities, devised by Dr Terracciano and produced by the not-for-profit organisation ALDATERRA Projects with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. In its first iteration the project involved 44 intergenerational members of the Moroccan community living, working or visiting Golborne Road (also known as little Morocco) in a series of memory sessions focused on their everyday life, cultural heritage, sense of home, and identity. These memories are shared in an interactive multisensory digital installation Zelige Door on Golborne Road using AR and olfactory technologies to facilitate audiences’ virtual interaction with the place represented as a living museum of intangible cultural Moroccan heritage.
For this new project Terracciano’s methodology and Mapping for Change research tools will be used to support local communities to identify and single out the intangible local heritage of culturally diverse and migrant communities in areas of West London currently experiencing high levels of gentrification and urban development. This will be achieved through workshop sessions focussed on mapping out areas of cultural heritage relevance to the participants, and identifying new technological approaches for sharing such intangible heritages with wider audiences.
- Award £2000
- Photo by Andy Wasley, 2017. courtesy of Aldaterra Projects.
Putting South Asia on Display
By Dr Lally Jaggjeet, Lecturer, UCL Department of History & Prof. Tariq Jazeel, Reader, UCL Department of Geography
What does it mean to display South Asia’s rich heritage in the former colonial metropole, in museums established at the height of British imperial power, and in receipt of global financial flows larger than those pouring into South Asian museums themselves today? How do museum curators and staff navigate the challenge of engaging audiences increasingly heterogeneous in terms of their background, relation to, and knowledge of the British Empire or South Asia, not least diaspora communities and visitors from the subcontinent? How do such challenges translate into problems for architects and graphic designers, whose work is as intimately intertwined with visitor experience/engagement as it is with the culturally, historically, and politically appropriate representation of heritage in various forms, from choices of typeface to the display of objects ‘in context’? Are ‘Area Studies’ galleries even relevant today, or is it the responsibility of museums, if it not driven by the appetite of visitors themselves, to integrate artefacts from the Indian subcontinent into existing galleries of fine arts and architecture, design and technology, migration and urban space, or other categories? Exactly who wants a ‘South Asia’ gallery anyway? These questions form the basis of a series of workshops and a conference between curators, museum staff, scholars, and practitioners:
- a closed workshop under Chatham House Rules: the Challenges of Putting South Asia on Display.
- a public conference: The Past, Present, and Future of South Asian Heritage.
- Award: £1000
Archiving Academies in Early Modern Italy
By Lisa Sampson, Reader, UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities
This project aims at developing new methodologies and piloting digital technologies for archiving the early modern Italian Academies, their activities and networks across Italy and beyond. The research takes forward resources compiled during a major AHRC-funded project (on which I was CI, 2010-14) on The Italian Academies: The First Intellectual Networks of Early Modern Europe.
It involves collaboration with the Medici Archive Project, Florence (Italy) as well as academic colleagues in Italy and in the UK, including at the UCL Centre for Early Modern Exchanges and Centre for Editing Lives and Letters.
The academies, or learned societies, of Italy formed a significant aspect of social and intellectual culture, with over 800 such groupings flourishing over the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Multidisciplinary in their interests, bridging the arts and sciences, they functioned alongside institutions like universities, courts, and religious bodies, offering alternative forums for intellectual and social interaction. Members were drawn from different social classes, including also women and intellectuals from outside Italy. While substantial data has been compiled on academies connected to print publications held in the British Library through the AHRC-funded Italian Academies project and recently made available for download, the archival records of the academies today still remain fragmented and dispersed, often lost from sight across different archives and libraries. This situation is a result of various factors, including the often brief duration of academies, their marginal or even heterodox status with respect to official cultures, negative historiography, invisibility in cataloguing systems, as well as a host of material factors and political and cultural agendas surrounding heritage preservation.
The proposed present project therefore proposes to interrogate critically the forms and meanings of academy archives in relation to broader issues of cultural heritage. It will thereby challenge historical narratives on academies and begin developing an open-access, sustainable digital resource, building on recent developments in digital humanities and critical heritage studies, which will significantly update the only previous such endeavour (Maylender’s catalogue, 1926-30). Events organized to meet these objectives include a symposium on June 28: ‘Archiving the Italian Academies: Critical methodologies and digital tools’ and a public concert with pre-concert talk (date tbc).
- Award: £1920
- Photo byLisa Sampson: Archivio di Stato, Modena, Cancelleria ducale, b. 'Academie'
Research network: Critical Conservation and Church Communities
By Dr James Hales, Senior Teaching Fellow in conservation, UCL Institute of Archaeology
Research Network: “Critical Conservation and Church Communities. The maintenance and conservation of historic places of worship and their impact on current and future communities”
What will be the central focus of a research network?
The research network will act as a think-tank for applied research into the care of places of worship. This will frame a critical approach to churches as integrated complex systems that need to be cared for, rather than a set of component parts that need to be preserved. In a broader critical review of ‘conservation for church mission’ the research network will address the need for diverse non-congregational participation in church life. This research will examine the potential rediscovery of traditional management systems ruptured by congregation declines, rural depopulations, and urban migrations. It will consider the transition of church buildings from sacred to secular, from heritage to contemporary places of community focus.
The research network will explore fundamental questions relating to the care and development of church buildings and their communities such as: who determines conservation strategies for historic church buildings ? For whose benefit are decisions about the conservation and maintenance of historic churches being made? Who’s past is being preserved and whose future is being created? Who is included, and by definition who is excluded?
Who will be involved?
Potential partners include: Church Buildings Council, UCL Institute of Archaeology, CCHS, University of Gothenburg (Department of Conservation), Church of Sweden, University of York (Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture), SPAB (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings), CCT (Churches Conservation Trust), NCT (National Churches Trust).
Research outputs would seek to transform institutional policy and practice, and support sustainable approaches to the maintenance of churches and associated communities. Research will be targeted at developing locally present systems of maintenance that serve as alternatives to current approaches based on the failure of systems of care which then necessitate interventive conservation projects to repair the damage caused by neglect. The network will support research that serves to create resilient church community groups, by promoting conservation strategies designed for the rehabilitation and sustainability of churches and their communities.
- Award: £1989
- Photo by James Hales: Interior of St Nicholas'Church, stanfor on Avon.
Reviving the Ancient Maritime Silk Road: The Politics of Heritage Instrumentalisation in Asia’s Port Cities
By Dr Yunci Cai, Doctoral student, UCL Institute of Archaeology & Prof. Paul Basu, Professor, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS
In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled plans for an ambitious development strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aimed at enhancing the trade cooperation and infrastructural connectivity between China and the Eurasian countries, based on reinvigorating two ancient trading routes: the overland Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) connecting China to Europe, and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) connecting China to the Middle East through South and Southeast Asia. The BRI seeks to revitalise the historical precedents of the ‘Silk Road’ to facilitate the formation of a new world order and a re-organised world economy led by China, based on the principles of cooperation, co-existence and shared prosperity (Zhao 2015; Xin 2017). Hailed as China’s new Silk Road diplomacy, the BRI mollifies China’s rapidly growing geo-political and economic power as a ‘peaceful rise’, aimed at cultivating good relations with its neighbouring countries, unlike the Western powers which seek control and domination of the trading routes through territorial expansion and colonialisation (Wong 2014).
A much overlooked and under-analysed aspect of the BRI lies in China’s emphasis to promote ‘people-to-people’ connections through the initiative, which has hitherto been narrowly focused on China’s ‘soft power’ strategy, ignoring how the BRI narrative is intricately entangled with the complex histories and cultures of the Silk Road (Winter 2016). The diversity of histories and cultures that underlie the notion of the historic Silk Road renders it susceptible to instrumentalisation by different countries and their multiple stakeholders, who strategically mobilise and appropriate these historical and cultural entanglements and flows to serve their own ends. To this end, China has portrayed the Silk Road as a flourishing interregional corridor of peaceful commodity trade, and harmonious intercultural exchanges of people, ideas and technologies. China’s Silk Road rhetoric is also eagerly appropriated by other national governments which perceive the BRI as an opportunity for realising their own ambitions of foreign trade and economic growth.
This research seeks to explore the political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics surrounding the process of heritage instrumentalisation at a selection of port cities along the historic maritime Silk Road. Drawing on the politics of heritage instrumentalisation as a conceptual framework and expanding it to incorporate other dynamics relating to brokerage, soft power and dissonance, this research examines how different stakeholders in these port cities strategically mobilise their maritime history and heritage, especially the narrative of the historic maritime Silk Road, to further their respective agendas, and the results of this instrumentalisation. As heritage is a culturally ascribed concept shaped by power relations and embroiled in questions of who it belongs to, who has the right to represent it and for whom it represented, the representation of the historic maritime Silk Road discourse by different stakeholders often involves a selection of some aspects of the maritime history and heritage which are privileged and emphasised, while other aspects are downplayed or omitted. The representation of the histories and cultures along the maritime Silk Road therefore involves complex negotiations and renegotiations among the multiple stakeholders based on their respective self-interests and agendas, which are in turn bound up with wider issues of geo-politics, economic development and nationalism. This research seeks to uncover these political, economic, social and cultural dynamics that traverse the global, national and local scales, and their implications on people and places. It is expected to identify the key stakeholders instrumentalising the historic maritime Silk Road discourse in the different port cities, uncover their respective interests and agendas, as well as reveal how they have been instrumentalising the historic maritime Silk Road discourse to serve their own ends.
Historic port cities that are being considered as case studies for this research include Quanzhou in China, Melaka in Malaysia, as well as Palembang or Semarang in Indonesia. The small grant of GBP 2,460 from the UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies was used to support an exploratory fieldwork to China, Malaysia and Indonesia to identify key focus areas at each port city of study, secure access to these field-sites, and seek out potential local collaborators. As of March 2018, Dr. Yunci Cai has conducted a fieldtrip to China, and discussed the project with potential collaborators based in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Arising from these visits and discussions, the Directors of Quanzhou Maritime Museum in Quanzhou, China, and the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum in Melaka, Malaysia have extended their in-principle agreement to collaborate on the project. She has plans to visit the rest of the field-sites in July and August 2018.
This research contributes to the theme of Making Global Heritage Futures (MGHF) in two ways. First, it explores how the historic maritime Silk Road discourse is mobilised by different stakeholders within the ongoing political, economic, social and cultural processes that traverse local, national and global scales, and the outcomes of this mobilisation on people and places. Second, it informs policy-making relating to China’s BRI, one of the world’s most ambitious multilateral development strategy in recent times. By understanding how the different stakeholders at the different port cities along the maritime Silk Road mobilise the historic maritime Silk Road discourse to achieve their respective agendas, and the outcomes of this mobilisation at the local, national and global levels, this research complicates the positive rhetoric of the BRI adopted by China that this will lead to promote peaceful trade and harmonious intercultural exchanges of people, ideas and technologies. By uncovering the complex dynamics surrounding the instrumentalisation of cultural heritage along the historic maritime Silk Road, this research opens up avenues to think about how each port city can capitalise on the BRI to seek win-win collaborations while mitigate its negative implications on its people and places.
- Award: £2460
- Photo by Yunci Cai, a diorama of Ming dynasty Chinese Admiral Zhen He at the Cheng Ho Cultural Museum in Melaka, Malysia. UNESCO Heritage site since 2008, is an important port city visited by Zheng He during his voyages, and now is a key focus of China Belt and Road initiative.
Moving Objects: Heritage in/and Exile
By Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Reader, UCL Geography and UCL Migration Research Unit & Helen Chatterjee, Professor of Biology in UCL Biosciences.
This collaborative project will result in a co-curated exhibition, ‘Moving Objects: Heritage in/and Exile’, to be held at UCL in early 2019. In creating this collaborative exhibition, this project will work across disciplines and bring together academics, forced migrants, museum collectors and practitioners to consider and collectively ‘label’ artefacts, objects and collections of oral history, music and poetry that have variously been ‘exiled’ and/or represent different facets of displacement.
In particular, through the convening of three workshops, which will be attended by UCL students, London-based refugees, project partners and leading academics, this project will explore: how collections can be formed and ‘reformed’ in relation to conflict and displacement; how displaced people themselves relate to and reinterpret artefacts ‘housed’ and ‘labelled’ by UCL Museums (including the Petrie Collection of Palestinian artefacts housed at UCL); how refugees and asylum-seekers in London and in the Middle East interpret and conceptualise diverse artefacts, both ‘new’ and ‘old, and; how these conceptualisations relate to the curation of such objects by colleagues working in and about museums and cultural heritage. These workshops, which will take place in the summer, will provide a space to focus on creative projects to imaginatively construct one’s own cabinet of curiosities featuring objects that participants identify/create as ‘empowering’ in contexts of displacement.
This emphasis on ‘empowerment’ and heritage – or on the relationship between heritage and wellbeing – is a key driving force behind this project, dovetailing in particular with the research of the project leads, Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (Geography) and Prof Helen Chatterjee (Biology). Elena is investigating local community experiences of and responses to displacement from Syria in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, exploring in particular the diverse role(s) memory, history and heritage play in ‘making place’ and shaping encounters between refugees and hosts. Likewise, Helen is exploring in her research the value of cultural encounters to health, wellbeing and education in conflict and displacement settings. Both Helen and Elena will bring their project findings into conversation with the curation of this exhibition, creating opportunities for the production of new knowledge with and about displaced peoples, and models for ‘heritage futures’.
In this context, although the exhibition is itself the focus of this project, the most important elements of ‘Moving Objects’ are precisely the processes and journeys that project participants and their selected objects will navigate through all stages of co-curation. By focusing on a process of collaborative engagement with archives, collections, artefacts and people affected by displacement, this project will produce a model of heritage as wellbeing, with important implications for UCL-based research, heritage studies and conflict-affected communities.
- Award: £2460
- Photo © H. Chatterjee – Workshop participants consider wellbeing and heritage through art and creativity