Institute of Archaeology

Prof Rodney Harrison

Prof Rodney Harrison

Professor of Heritage Studies

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
28th May 2012

Research summary

Rodney Harrison is Professor of Heritage Studies in the UCL Institute of Archaeology. From 2017-2021 he was AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow

His research interests include:

• Critical Heritage Studies

• Heritage, multiculturalism and globalisation

• Posthumanist theory and environmental humanities

• Climate change and Anthropocene studies

• Intangible and indigenous heritage

• Museum studies

• History and philosophy of conservation, museums, anthropology and archaeology

• Archaeologies of the present and recent past

• Contemporary material culture studies

• Historical archaeology

• Archaeologies of colonialism

• Australian archaeology

He is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, and a founding executive committee member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies. At UCL, he is Co-Director of the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies.

Teaching summary

Rodney Harrison is on sabbatical leave during the 2022 calendar year. He is the academic programme co-lead (with Rachel King) for the BA Heritage at UCL East. He teaches on the MA in Museum Studies and MA in Cultural Heritage Studies degree programmes. 


I am Professor of Heritage Studies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, University College London; from 2017-2021 I was AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow; from 2015-2019 I was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures Research Programme, and from 2016-2021 I led the Work Package on “Theorizing heritage futures in Europe: heritage scenarios” as part of the European Commission funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie action [MSCA] Doctoral Training Network CHEurope: Critical Heritage Studies and the Future of Europe. I am the founding editor of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, a former Chair of the Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory (CHAT) group and was a founding executive committee member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS). I am a member of the editorial boards of the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Museum History Journal, and Australian Archaeology Journal. At UCL I am joint Director of the UCL-University of Gothenburg Centre for Critical Heritage Studies, and part of the leadership group of the Centre's Making Global Heritage Futures cluster. I am a member of the steering group for UCL's partnership with the National Trust, and the UCL Urban Lab. In 2021 I was one of UCL's delegates to COP26. I am (co)author or (co)editor of 18 books and guest edited journal volumes and over 80 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. Some of these have been translated into Chinese, Italian, Polish and Portuguese language versions. In addition to the AHRC my research has been funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, British Academy, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Australian Research Council, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the European Commission. In 2020 I was Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) 2020 Biennial International Conference (“ACHS 2020: Futures”) Chair. My current projects include Reimagining Museums for Climate Action, Landscape Futures and the Challenge of Change: Towards Integrated Cultural/Natural Heritage Decision Making, Ghosts of Solid Air, and the Black Atlantic Innovation Network.

I joined the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 2012 after working as a Lecturer in Heritage Studies at the Open University from 2007-2012, where I led, and contributed to the development of teaching on global critical heritage studies and material culture studies. I have previously held teaching and research positions at the Centre for Cross Cultural Research at the Australian National University, the Centre for Archaeology at the University of Western Australia, and as an honorary visiting research fellow in the Department of Anthropology, University College London. I also previously worked as Historical Archaeologist and Regional Aboriginal Heritage Studies Coordinator in the Cultural Heritage Research Unit of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service in Sydney. During the period from 1997-2007 I also worked as an archaeological heritage consultant, conducting and leading on field surveys, excavations, and contributing to and overseeing the production of a range of conservation management planning reports for different kinds of cultural and natural heritage sites and landscapes in both remote and urban contexts in Australia, as well as undertaking research and preparing expert witness reports in relation to Indigenous Native Title claims.