Centre for Critical Heritage Studies


UNESCO archives (Photo credit: Rodney Harrison)


Embracing the archive

Critical archival and digital humanities studies cluster

The work of this cluster intersects with that of ICARUS (the International Centre for Archives and Records Research) and the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities), both based in the Department of Information Studies at UCL, but both operating on a cross-disciplinary basis. We also collaborate closely with colleagues in Gothenburg as part of the joint UCL/University of Gothenburg 'Embracing the Archive' cluster.

We take the Archival Multiverse and a participatory approach to knowledge production as a starting point. We are interested in collaborating with all those inside and outside the academy who are interested in critically exploring questions about the nature of the archive and digital cultural heritage.

Issues and questions

  • The many meanings and forms of the archive, inclusive of orality and performance, in the digital age
  • The role of the archive and digital cultural heritage in supporting and challenging significant historical narratives, and the extent to which these interventions reflect marginalised and intersecting presences with regard to gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality and disability
  • The analysis of digital cultural heritage artefacts, technologies and techniques from the perspectives of cultural criticism and the politics of code. For example, in what ways can techniques like interpretative markup consciously or unconsciously reflect (or subvert) dominant social, cultural, political and intellectual hierarchies of knowledge and classification?
  • The history and contemporary development of participatory and collaborative approaches to knowledge production including community-based archives and the Dig Where You Stand methodology
  • The history and contemporary development of the Digital Humanities and other fields like Digital History that have formed at the intersections of archives, cultural heritage, the Humanities, and computing. Our interest is especially in the context of uncovering 'hidden',  overlooked or devalued contributions to their emergence and development
  • The affective and emotional resonance of archives and digital cultural heritage
  • Epistemologies of the digital, especially those emerging from the building, hacking or remixing of digital cultural heritage artefacts and analyses 
  • Investigations of new or emerging approaches to representing, encountering, transforming or interrogating digital cultural heritage artefacts and exhibitions
  • The role of records and access to information in supporting individual and collective endeavours for social justice