UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Sustainable Heritage Bidecennial Conference: Strategic Research Questions

25 March 2021, 4:00 pm–6:45 pm

Sustainable Heritage Bidecennial Conference: Strategic Research Questions

To mark 20 years of Sustainable Heritage at UCL, we are holding a Bidecennial Conference in March 2021.

Event Information

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UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage

The Sustainable Heritage Bidecennial Conference will take place over four days from 22 - 25 March 2021, starting at 4pm GMT each day.

Conference Sessions:

  • Modern and contemporary heritage | 23 March 4pm 
  • Heritage science | 24 March 4pm 
  • Future heritage | 25 March 4pm 

See the full programme of each conference session with speakers and talk titles below.

Conference workshops:

  • Citizen Science & Cultural Heritage. Planning for success | 24 March 1pm 
  • Digitising museum objects using basic photogrammetry 25 March 1pm 

Workshops have been organised in collaboration with Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC).

See the full programme of each conference workshops with speakers and talk titles below.

Organised in a hybrid format consisting of online talks, workshops and roundtable discussions, the conference will appeal to researchers and practitioners, industry and policy professionals.

The conference is organised under the auspices of the National Heritage Science Forum, the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS - in the process of establishment) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM).

Conference scope

Research into cultural heritage inhabits the space between humanities and science. It is critical, collaborative and interdisciplinary. This makes it challenging on many levels, continually questioning experiments, concepts and theories; applying qualitative and quantitative methods of research; ideally moving fluidly between research, policy and impact and often doing so disruptively; requiring discipline-rooted researchers with an immense breadth of expertise.

Our bidecennial conference will consider where the field might go next within the context of what appears to be a very open research landscape. The outcomes will contribute to the wider debate that is defining the strategic challenges of heritage research.

The programme will consist of invited, visionary contributions exploring questions of theory, methodology, impact, sustainability, and the presentations are expected to focus on the future and to reflect on the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of heritage research.

Conference sessions

Heritage risk and resilience 

Monday 22 March 4pm - 6:45pm
Led by Prof Kalliopi Fouseki


Cristina Sabbioni (CNR): "Climate Change and Cultural Heritage: Today's Progress and Tomorrow's Challenges"
Ege Yildirim (ICOMOS, Turkey): “The Sustainable Development Goals and the Expansion of Heritage”
Trinidad Rico (Rutgers, School of Art and Sciences): “Reconsidering endangerment through a heritage of religion”
Rob Woodside (English Heritage) and Santiago Giraldo (Global Heritage Fund): “The Long Tail – strategies for heritage resilience in a post-Covid world”

Heritage risk and resilience round table panel:

  • May Cassar (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK) 
  • Joy Edeoja (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK)
  • Amr Elhusseiny (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK)
  • Lorika Hisari (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK)
  • Ewan Hyslop (Historic Environment Scotland, UK) 
  • Rohit Jigyasu (ICCROM, Italy) 
  • Elia Quijano Quinones (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK)
  • Luiz Souza (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil) 
  • Rob Woodside (English Heritage, UK)
About this session:

Heritage risk and resilience

Heritage is at risk of major socio-economic, cultural, political and environmental challenges. As much as heritage is at risk of major challenges many of which are unpredicted as the Covid-19 pandemic evidently showed, heritage can also be a significant catalyst for socio-economic, cultural and environmental resilience. Heritage can contribute actively to many of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by the United Nations in 2016. To this end, there is a series of critical questions that emerge and which the conference aims to explore. On a conceptual level, should we rethink concepts linked to ‘risk’, ‘resilience’ and ‘uncertainty’? How can recent and current challenges contribute to the reconceptualization of ‘risk’ and ‘resilience’ in the context of heritage? What is missing from current approaches to heritage and risk? What are the implications in practice of current approaches to risk and resilience in heritage contexts?

Modern and contemporary heritage 

Tuesday 23 March 4pm - 6:30pm
Led by Dr Katherine Curran


Edward Denison (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture): “MoHoA – Modern Heritage of Africa / Modern Heritage in the Anthropocene”
Susan MacDonald (Getty Conservation Institute): "Modern heritage research and the 2020 pivot: catching up and moving forward"
Jill Sterrett (formerly of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Smart Museum, Chicago): "Scaffolds: 21st century Heritage Thinking"
Gus Casely-Hayford (V&A East): “V&A East: How do we inspire a generation?”

Modern and contemporary heritage round table panel:

  • Alejandra Albuerne (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage)
  • Gus Casely-Hayford (V&A East)
  • Rupert Cole (Science Museum)
  • Edward Denison (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)
  • Susan MacDonald (Getty Conservation Institute)
  • Jill Sterrett (formerly of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Smart Museum, Chicago)
About this session:

Modern and contemporary heritage

Increasingly, heritage professionals are being challenged by modern and contemporary heritage such as plastic museum artefacts, Brutalist architecture and the technologies, philosophies and movements that have shaped the modern world. The conservation of this heritage is crucial in order to understand its impact on modern society, for example its environmental impact. How do we value the tangible and intangible aspects of modern and contemporary heritage? How can we better understand the properties of modern and contemporary heritage materials, including their composition, fabrication and assembly methods, use and decay mechanisms? What evidence-based conservation strategies do we need for the storage and display of modern museum objects and repair, maintenance and replacement of components of modern buildings? Can traditional ethical frameworks be applied to the conservation of such materials, or do they need to be adapted? What about modern and contemporary heritage that has a more complex relationship with materials such as time-based media?

Heritage science

Wednesday 24 March 4pm - 6:30pm
Led by Dr Josep Grau-Bové


Jenny Richards (St John's College, Oxford) and Peter Brimblecombe (National Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Marine Environment and Engineering): “Modelling of environmental pressures within the heritage sciences”
Scott Orr (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage): "Heritage data science as exploratory enquiry"
Matthew Collins, Christian Carøe, Alberto Taurozzi, Tuuli Kasso, Alister Sutherland  (The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Samuel Johns (Organic Geochemistry Unit, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol), Mélanie Roffet-SalqueRenée Enevold (Moesgaard Museum, Denmark) Guillermo Rangel: "ArcHives - Beeswax as a Biomolecular Record"
John Delaney (National Gallery, Washington DC, USA): "Multimodal Imaging Spectroscopy in Cultural Heritage Science: Future Directions"

Heritage science round table panel:

  • Cecilia Bembibre (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK)
  • Abdelrazek Elnaggar (Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, Egypt) 
  • Blen Taye Gemeda (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Marco Leona (Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA)
About this session:

Heritage science

When the scientific method is used to study heritage, we are doing heritage science. However, what makes heritage science different from other branches of science? The complexity of cultural heritage as a focus of study usually pushes existing technologies beyond their limits, driving new scientific developments. We invite submissions that show how knowledge and techniques from other disciplines are transformed when they are used in heritage science. Data-driven approaches, for example, often need to be improved to deal with unstructured and complex historic data. Engineering solutions need to operate within the constraints of historic sites, which may be remote, protected, busy, fragile… Physical sciences need the social sciences, because understanding the human relationships with heritage is essential to understand deterioration or change. When does science become “heritage science”? This theme could usefully build on the Strategic Framework for Heritage Science for the UK, 2018-2023.

Future heritage 

Thursday 25 March 4pm - 6:45pm
Led by Prof Richard Sandford


Monika Stobiecka (Faculty of Liberal Arts, Warsaw University): Digital sustainability: what happens when we digitize everything?
Shadreck Chirikure (British Academy Global Professor, School of Archaeology in Oxford University & Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town): Imagining heritage futures in Africa and elsewhere: great expectations or great trepidations?
Dan Hicks (Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, University of Oxford): Brutish Heritage
Stephen Witherford (Director, Witherford Watson Mann architects): Constructing Ruins – architecture of imperfection

Future heritage round table panel:

  • Monika Stobiecka (Faculty of Liberal Arts, Warsaw University, Poland)
  • Shadreck Chirikure (British Academy Global Professor, School of Archaeology, Oxford University, UK and Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Dan Hicks (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Stephen Witherford (Witherford Watson Mann architects, London, UK)
About this session:

Future heritage

As novel materials and technologies emerge, as new patterns of consumption and production develop, and as what is valued changes within society, the nature of heritage will evolve, and in doing so, the capacity of heritage to support future societies in their response to planetary challenges will change as well. What new forms of heritage might be anticipated? What new challenges might they present for heritage science and management? What resources can heritage offer that support people to accept and live through change? How might heritage contribute to, critique, and enrich the development of positive future imaginaries? What different roles might heritage play in future society?

We are delighted to announce that Prof Raimund Bleischwitz, Director of the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources will give the Welcome address, on 22 March at 4pm GMT.  

The conference will be concluded by a talk by Prof May Cassar, Director of UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, on 25 March at 6:30pm GMT. 

Conference workshops

Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud logo
The following workshops have been organised in collaboration with Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC)


Citizen Science & Cultural Heritage - Planning for success.

Workshop organised with Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC)
Wednesday 24 March, 1-2pm GMT


Rosie Brigham (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage)
Josep Grau-Bove (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage)

About the session

"Well why don't we crowdsource it?!" is an easy suggestion to make in a meeting when facing with a complex task, but in reality, citizen science and crowdsourcing projects are highly complex and require significant resources in order to succeed. In this hour session we will take you thought the planning stages of creating two different Citizen Science projects, one involving data collection and one involving data tagging, and we will take you step by step through the planning stages to show what needs to be considered to ensure your project will be success.

Rosie Brigham is a software engineer and researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Heritage, (ISH) University College London. She is the founder of Monument Monitor, a ground-breaking citizen heritage science project that collects conservation data from visitor photographs. Her PhD explores how artificial intelligence can improve conservation management processes and her previous publications have investigated the reliability of citizen scientist provided data. Follow her on twitter @rosie934 and Instagram @monumentmonitor.

Josep Grau-Bove is a lecturer in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology. Joseps’ work explores the interface is where technology meets preventive conservation. He is interested in how new computational developments can support preventive conservation management and is currently working on the application of building information modelling, citizen science and system dynamics in heritage science.

Digitising museum objects using basic photogrammetry

Workshop organised with Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC)
Thursday 25 March, 1-2pm GMT


Kira Zumkley (Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and UCL Centre for Digital Humanities)
Adam Gibson (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage)

About the session

This workshop will introduce participants to the field of imaging applications in the study and management of heritage. The focus will be paced on developing skills for the use of photogrammetry in heritage. It will look at the process of creating a 3D model of a museum object from start to finish using basic photogrammetry equipment. As such, workshop participants will gain insight into the photogrammetric process, understand what is achievable with basic equipment and become more aware of the requirements 3D digitsation of museum objects entails and how these might differ from every day objects.

Kira Zumkley has been working in the heritage sector for over 10 years both as an archaeologist, photographer, and researcher. She is the Chair of the Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography and Honorary Lecturer at the Centre for Digital Humanities at University College London. In addition, she is currently working as a researcher on a joint project between the Victoria and Albert Museum, University of Brighton and University College London. Prior to moving into academia, Kira worked as the photography manager at the Science Museum Group and carried out her own creative photography practices focusing on the contrasting experiences of urban and natural spaces.

Adam Gibson is Professor of Heritage Science at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage. His group applies imaging techniques to aspects of heritage, predominantly multispectral and hyperspectral imaging. His work has looked, among other things, at painting analysis and feature recovery in historical documents.

Conference publications

Read and download the Conference

containing summaries of the invited talks.

Presenters will submit a chapter for the edited volume Strategic Research Directions for Heritage Research 2021 to be published open access. All submissions will be reviewed and edited.

Expert committee

List of Committee Experts



Albuerne Alejandra

UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK

Bechthold Tim

Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum, Germany

Bertrand Loic

University Paris Saclay, France

Cassar May

UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK

Cattell John

Historic England, UK

De Priest Paula

Smithsonian Institution, Museum Conservation Institute, USA

Elnaggar Abdelrazek

Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, Egypt

Gibson Adam

UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK

Guttormsen Torgrim Sneve

Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, Norway

Heritage Alison

International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, Italy

Heron Carl

The British Museum, UK

Holtorf Cornelius

Linnaeus University, Sweden

Hyslop Ewan

Historic Environment Scotland, UK

Jigyasu Rohit

International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, Italy

Keune Katrien

Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands

Lambert Susan

Museum of Design in Plastics, UK

Learner Tom

Getty Conservation Institute, USA

Leona Marco

Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA

Loader Robert

Docomomo, Portugal

MacDonald Susan

Getty Conservation Institute, USA

Maricevic Maja

British Library, UK

Mossman Susan

Plastics Historical Society/Science Museum Group

Mumovic Dejan

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, UK

Orr Scott Allan

UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, UK

Pezzati Luca

European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science, Italy

Souza Luiz

Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil

Viles Heather

University of Oxford, UK

Vlachou-Mogire Constantina

National Heritage Science Forum & Historic Royal Palaces, UK

Wangusa Ayeta Anne

Culture and Development East Africa, Tanzania

Woodside Rob

English Heritage, UK


Conference chair

Our bidecennial conference will be chaired by Prof Matija Strlic, Professor of Heritage Science.