Institute of Archaeology


AHRC award for Ghosts of Solid Air project

24 February 2022

Rodney Harrison (UCL Institute of Archaeology) and Colin Sterling (University of Amsterdam) have been awarded AHRC funding for their public engagement project Ghosts of Solid Air.


Ghosts of Solid Air is an innovative public engagement project that aims to provide a new Augmented Reality experience enabling diverse audiences to understand and participate in discussions around contested statues.

While debates over public commemoration and memorialisation are nothing new, recent events in the UK and around the world have brought into sharp focus the need for more nuanced and pluralistic stories to be told in and through the historic built environment. Responding to this concern - and building on a process of co-creation developed by the project team over a period of twelve months - the experience will be produced in close collaboration with a group of young people (18-25) from London who are not typically engaged with heritage practice or discourse.

By bringing together immersive design specialists, heritage researchers, community representatives and professionals engaged in contested history, this project aims to provide an innovative new model for creative engagement around public monuments and memorials.

Ghosts of Solid Air was initiated as part of Colin Sterling's AHRC-funded New Trajectories in Curatorial Experience Design Fellowship, with its second phase funded by this AHRC Follow-on-funding for Impact and Engagement Award and due to start in April 2022 (AH/W006146/1, project co-leads Rodney Harrison and Colin Sterling, in partnership with Anagram; FEC £96,427, funder contribution £80,356).