UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Professor May Cassar presented with Honorary CBE for services to science and cultural heritage

27 July 2022

Professor May Cassar, Director of UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage in the Bartlett, has been awarded an honorary CBE for services to science and cultural heritage.

Prof May Cassar CBE accepts her award

May Cassar, Professor of Sustainable Heritage and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Heritage at The Bartlett UCL, was presented the award by Nigel Huddleston MP on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

Nigel Huddleston MP said:

I was delighted to present an Honorary CBE to Professor May Cassar. This is a richly deserved award which recognises the incredible contributions she has made to science and heritage. She has been at the forefront of the resurgence of heritage science research activity in the UK for more than a decade, and she has had international influence in her field.”

Commenting on her Honour, May said:

I am naturally very pleased to have been awarded this Honour both personally and for the recognition it gives to the key role of science and cultural heritage. I am also grateful for the support I have had from so many Bartlett and UCL colleagues, and external partners over the years.”

About Prof May Cassar CBE

Professor May Cassar CBE established the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage in 2001 and continues as its Director.

The Institute is cross-disciplinary and brings together academics from the arts, humanities, social and heritage sciences to research and teach sustainable solutions to real-world cultural heritage problems and to engage cultural heritage and sustainable development, social and environmental sustainability.

The origins of the Institute’s cross-disciplinary credentials are in Professor Cassar’s early career in public policy as the Environmental Adviser to the UK Museums & Galleries Commission. Her Routledge book, Environmental Management: Guidelines for Museums and Galleries (1984) first highlighted the responsibility of cultural institutions for environmental sustainability. Professor Cassar’s long-standing area of research interest is preventive conservation with a particular focus on the impact of climate change on cultural heritage. 

At UCL, Professor Cassar pioneered this research area, undertaking a scoping study on climate change and the historic environment for English Heritage, the first study of its kind to evidence the concerns and observations of heritage site managers on the impact of climate change on historic buildings, collections and sites. This was a precursor to the EU Noah’s Ark project which won the Europa Nostra Grand Prix for Research in 2009.

Professor Cassar continues to be a leading influencer in the field, speaking at last year’s G20 Culture Ministerial on cultural heritage’s role in addressing climate crisis.

Professor Cassar has worked on climate change and cultural heritage with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and has been a member of the UNESC0-ICOMOS-IPCC Scientific Steering Committee on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change and the EU JPI Cultural Heritage and Global Change Science and Advisory Board.

At an international level, Professor Cassar is national co-ordinator of the UK node of the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) and a member of the Committee of Nodes of IPERION HS. She has worked on projects with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, ICCROM, European Parliament, European Commission and National Governments to develop strategic approaches to the preservation of cultural heritage.  

Professor May Cassar was awarded the Royal Warrant Holder Association’s 2012 Plowden Gold Medal in recognition of her enduring commitment to improving the professional standing of heritage conservation practice nationally and internationally.