UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


Eirini Gallou

Thesis title: Sustainable heritage management & community participation on island context: investigation of reciprocal links

Primary supervisor: Dr. Kalliopi Fouseki
Secondary supervisor: Professor May Cassar
Starting date: October 2015
Projected completion date:  October 2018

My research aims to focus on the challenges and possibilities lying in peripheral island heritage sites to achieve sustainable management and in parallel contribute to local community development.

In a world facing strong restrictions due to economic crisis, cultural projects face reductions in resources and peripheral heritage sites are the first to undergo the consequences of it. This research aims to offer tools for identifying the strengths and possibilities of local communities for safeguarding both monuments and their own future. By considering the sites and community an as an interdependent whole, the question posed is:  how can local communities engage in a sustainable management of the sites (and their surrounding environment) that would ensure the future of both peripheral monuments and their linked communities? 

The island context is meant to be studied initially gathering data through a main case study where active participation is present , Orkney, focusing on engagement in projects realized in a variety of heritage sites involved in the Scapa Flow Landscape Project Scheme, including archaeological sites in the buffer zone of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, WHS. The aim of the initial part of the project -which contains around 20 semi structured interviews with participants and project managers-is  to understand the main areas of impact of realized participatory projects on community  social wellbeing/cohesion and project’s sustainability.

The findings are going to be combined with relative literature review data to formulate a series of questionnaires to be distributed in a second phase to more participants, exploring the reciprocal impacts of participation on both sides: heritage organizations and communities. This concept of reciprocity is going to guide the whole research project providing a holistic lens of viewing impact assessments for cultural heritage projects.

The research is aiming to improve the evaluation process for participatory projects in heritage, specifically focusing on social impacts and their measurement.
A database with island heritage case studies in Europe- that involve community participation- is going to be created and used to test the possibilities of generalizing the indicators in different cases.  The case studies are meant to define the uniqueness of the management schemes and the locality of the sustainability measures in remote islands, as well as indicate ways of effective community empowerment in the process.


Eirini Gallou is an achitect with a Diploma from AUTH University, (2009, Thessaloniki), an Msc in Architecture, Urbanism and Building sciences with specialisation in «Renovation, Modification, Intervention, transformation» (2012, Rmit, TUDelft), and Sustainable Development. She has also followed postgraduate seminars in History of Art from the University of Crete Greece (2010). She has worked as a project manager/museographer in the Archaeological Museum in Samothrace in Greece, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture for the European funded project of “Renovation of the archaeological museum and new permanent exhibition redesign” of the Museum. 

Previously, she worked for various architecture and urbanism studios in the Netherlands and Belgium (2013: Studio Valkenier, RDVA) and participated in design projects and competitions as well as in monuments' restoration and reuse projects.
She has also worked for the Greek Ministry of Culture again in 2010, for the Ephorate of Modern Monuments and Technical works in Crete where she documented vernacular housing and interpreted/communicated the legislation restrictions for various restoration projects.

In 2014 she worked as an intern for ICCROM, Rome in the organisation of the courses delivered by the Sites department (Built Heritage) under the guidance of project manager, G. Wijesuriya.
During this period, she participated to the ICCROM-CHA Forum on Authenticity in Asian Context, presenting a complementary reflexion on authenticity in the context of museum collections in Europe.

The PhD research on sustainable heritage management was initiated thanks to the her work experience in the archaeological heritage in the island of Samothrace in Greece and aims to provide systemic models and solutions that could be applicable in similar contexts.

The research is kindly supported by the A.Onassis  Public Benefit Foundation in Greece.