UCL News


UCL in the News: Cross-discipline plan aims to give the past a future

28 February 2008

Zoe Corbyn, 'Times Higher Education' The Arts and Humanities Research Council … has launched an £8 million, five-year research programme in collaboration with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The programme is directed at better maintaining and understanding the myriad artworks, artefacts and places that make up our cultural heritage.

"We are talking about the totality of what we perceive to be cultural assets," said May Cassar [UCL Bartlett School], a professor of sustainable heritage who is leading the new Science and Heritage Research Programme.

"From paintings in galleries, to furniture in historic houses, to archaeological sites and cultural landscapes, we are interested in ensuring that they are in better shape for the future." …

"How do old walls take up moisture? How will climate change alter how materials respond to the environment? We need to fund high-quality research to be able to answer some of those questions," Professor Cassar said.

She stressed that the focus would be "whole object" research that looks at the meaning a particular piece of cultural heritage has to the public, along with its history and use. …

"This year will focus on building up the networks in preparation for a rolling programme of research announcements next year," said Professor Cassar. …

She added that the programme was also an opportunity to bring heritage science to fruition as a discipline in its own right. "Currently we still have these individual disciplines learning how to do research together but, who knows, in five years we may have a new hybrid." …