Institute of Archaeology

Mr Dean Sully

Mr Dean Sully

Associate Professor

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2000

Research summary

My research is premised on expertise as a clinical practitioner. A core value of conservation has been the intimate physical encounter with the material remains of the past that become the raw materials for the conservation process. The ability of conservators to intervene in the material remains of the past and to create something that is meaningful and useful in the present has become the defining mandate of conservation. 

My research has examined conservation as critical heritage practice, as an open and creative process that seeks to respond to the unfolding becoming of the world in new adaptive ways. This advocates for a shift in conservation practice from a specialist technical service aimed at preserving heritage, to an innovative process in the creation of the world. This investigates new understandings of conservation practice, by prioritising the relationships between people, places, and objects as the primary responsibility of conserving heritage.

My current research aims to re-situate heritage practice, from maintaining the metastable authenticity of heritage places and objects towards co-curating ecosociologically-constituted multispecies worlds. It looks to move beyond concepts that continue to privilege human agencies that sustain inequalities, towards a pluriversity of affective ecosociological potentialities of (post)human and nonhuman matter. This is addressed via transarticulating sympoietic framing that brings creative practice and heritage processes into flux through experimental science-art worldings. This enables a heritage conservation that addresses the social issues of the present in making more-liveable more-than-human worlds by making common cause with other human, non-human, and non-living actors.  

Teaching summary

  • 2007-present, Programme Coordinator of MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums. 
  • 2000-present, Module Coordinator ARCLG122/ARCLO105 Conservation Studies. 
  • 2007-present, Module Coordinator ARCLG036/ARCL0089 MSc Dissertation.
  • I  contribute to teaching across UCL, nationally, as a regular tutor for West Dean College and UK Institute of Conservation (ICON) conservation courses, and internationally for ICCROM courses. 


Doctorate, Phd in Archaeology |
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
First Degree, Bachelor of Science (Honours) | 1984


Dr Dean Sully is Associate Professor in Conservation at University College London’s Institute of Archaeology, where he coordinates the MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums. He is a coordinator of the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS) and the Curating the City Research Cluster, National Trust’s Conservation Advisor for Archaeological Artefacts, Emeritus Scientist-in-Residence at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art, Conservator-in-Residence at the Material Museum, and Director of the Illegal Museum of Beyond. 

He studied conservation and gained his PhD at UCL, and has worked as a conservation practitioner for the National Heritage Board in Singapore (1997-2000), The Museum of London (1993-1997), The British Museum (1987-1993), and Monmouthshire District Council Museums Service (1985-1987).