UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


New ISH-led project will develop methods to safeguard cultural heritage against climate change

28 June 2024

The SASCHA project will develop practical tools and methods for assessing and managing climate change's risks to cultural heritage sites worldwide.

Photograph of the colourful port on the island of Venetone in Italy

The project, SASCHA (Multiscale approaches and scalability within climate change - heritage risk assessment), is led by Dr Scott Allan Orr (UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage). It addresses a call from the Joint Programming Initiatives on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI CH), Connecting Climate Knowledge for Europe (JPI Climate), and the Belmont Forum, focussed on collaborative research on Climate and Cultural Heritage.

The project will be launched in Helsinki in June at the 2024 Sustainability and Research Innovation (SRI) Congress, alongside the other funded projects under the Climate and Cultural Heritage call. The goal is to enable interactions and links between the projects outside of their core remit, including topics such as multisensory heritage and climate change, nature-culture relations, and local and Indigenous communities.

SASCHA researchers will develop innovative methods for understanding climate change risks to heritage sites. These methods will be designed for multiscale analysis, meaning they can be applied to both local and global contexts. This approach aims to bridge the gap between local knowledge and global data, ensuring that vulnerability assessments are relevant to specific locations while also considering broader trends. To this end, SASCHA will investigate several case studies, such as Ventotene Island (Italy), but also integrating tangible heritage sites, landscapes, and associated communities in Norway, the UK, the US.

"We know a lot of about what risks climate changes hold at the regional scale, but we also recognise that heritage sites have intrinsic and individual value. Bridging across this divide is a challenge” – Dr Scott Allan Orr. 

ISH has been advocating for the need to explore multi-scale approaches to understandings risks of climate change for some time.  We will lead tasks on developing regional assessment methods and holistic indicators for heritage, as well as have oversight of project governance. 

With a budget of approximately £1M, the project will run between June 2024 and May 2027.

The project consortium is led by UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Heritage (ISH) including Dr Josep Grau-Bove as a Co-Investigator. It includes the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Research (NIKU), Arizona State University (US), NHAZCA (Italy), and North Carolina State University (US) as academic partners, and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), English Heritage Trust (UK), and Ventotene Municipality (Italy) as heritage partners. 


Image credit:

Unsplash - Lāsma Artmane