Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences


National Trust Partnership

UCL and the National Trust have a history of cross disciplinary collaborations, from high level research to informal teaching sessions.

From June 2021, we entered a new phase of the institutional Strategic Partnership, offering opportunities to collaborate on shared research ambitions and draw on our world-leading fields of expertise and resources. The National Trust offers research partnerships, heritage sector knowledge and access across its heritage sites (historic properties and natural environments) while UCL’s knowledge and expertise can help the National Trust deliver their strategy, develop staff research capacity and develop joint-funded projects. The goal of the Partnership aims to address critical, public-facing research agendas across cultural heritage and the environment. 

UCL and the National Trust partner to promote heritage science, conservation and cultural value

Scaffolding surrounds the hall during the roof restoration project at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

In 2021, UCL signed a long-term strategic partnership with the National Trust to help conserve its historical sites and address important heritage challenges.

Image: Scaffolding surrounds the hall during the roof restoration project at Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk | ©National Trust Images/Mike Selby

Read the full announcement on UCL News

Our work

This exciting five-year initiative offers opportunities to: 

  • Collaborate on activities focussed in the discipline of heritage studies (including heritage science), aligning with the ‘Looking after’ pillar of the National Trust's strategic framework for research.
  • Focus on providing opportunities for joint research, knowledge exchange, and supporting the development of the next generation of heritage professionals.
  • Explore ways to collaborate generally in the development of joint and respective research interests relating to heritage, training and professional development.


The Partnerships’ co-developed research strands prioritise three Sustainable Heritage themes developed in line with UCL Grand Challenges and the National Trust Strategic Framework for Research:

Wreck of the Yankee at Blakeney Point, Norfolk ©National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Adapting to Change in the Anthropocene    

Supporting projects to better understand various, complex and changing forces, from socio-cultural to economic and environmental that affect heritage across a range of time frames from short to very long term. This theme supports future resilience through effective evidence gathering and improved foresight, planning and the development of adaptable management strategies and tools. 

Image: Wreck of the Yankee at Blakeney Point, Norfolk | ©National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Dogs welcome at Attingham Park, Shropshire (c)National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

Connecting People with Heritage for Health and Wellbeing

Supporting projects to help us understand the contribution which cultural heritage can make to individual and community health and wellbeing. How can greater public benefit be enabled – physical accessibility to interpretation, community participation and programming – measured, and successful interventions shared? 

Image: Dogs welcome at Attingham Park, Shropshire | ©National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

A volunteer cleaning windows at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire ©National Trust Images/John Millar

The Social Lives of Heritage: understanding heritage significance 

Acknowledging cycles of cultural and natural change over time, this theme addresses the potentials of technology, scientific analysis and modelling to deepen interpretation/understanding of collections and the historic environment. How can change be predicted and resources managed?

Image: A volunteer cleaning windows at Little Moreton Hall, Cheshire | ©National Trust Images/John Millar


UCL academic and secondment spotlights

Rodney Harrison

Professor Rodney Harrison on UCL’s new partnership with the National Trust

Rodney Harrison, Professor of Heritage Studies, shares his experience of working with the National Trust and highlights opportunities coming up as a result of the new UCL partnership.

Sarah Wolferstan

Sarah Wolferstan on her research secondment with the National Trust

Sarah Wolferstan, Project Manager at UCL’s Centre for Applied Archaeology, shares her experience of working at the National Trust as part of UCL’s strategic partnership.

Working Together

Supporting regular UCL-NT Strategic Partnership meetings, the UCL Steering Group is chaired by Professor Christoph Lindner (Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment) and comprises representatives from anthropology, archaeology, heritage and conservation science, art history and the built environment. The Joint Steering Group sets out:

  • our ambition for next five years for research with impact, building our role as an IRO, research to inspire & engage;
  • our priority areas; Looking after focus on connecting people with nature and heritage, heritage understanding and significance, adapting to environmental change, embedding sustainability in our operations

UCL members on the Joint Steering Group

  • Chair: Christoph Lindner (Bartlett) 
  • Lamia Dabboussy (Innovation & Enterprise Principal Partnerships Manager, Creative Sectors)
  • Rebecca Robinson (Innovation & Enterprise, Creative Sectors)
  • Kalliopi Fouseki (Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources)
  • Steve Rolling (Research Impact)
  • Rodney Harrison (Institute of Archaeology and Centre for Critical Heritage Studies)
  • Haidy Geismar (Anthropology, Director of the School for the Creative and Cultural Industries)
  • Steven Gray (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis)
  • Karen Welch (Grand Challenges)
  • Siobhan Morris (Grand Challenges)
  • Alison Wright (History of Art)
  • Audrey Tan (Public Engagement)

National Trust Partner members on the Joint Steering Group

  • Anita Weatherby (Head of Research)
  • Ingrid Samuel (Placemaking and Heritage Director)
  • Nicola Froggatt (Research Manager)
  • Tom Dommett (Head of Historic Environment)
  • Hannah Harte (Head of Conservation, Collections & Interiors)
  • John Orna-Ornstein (Director of Curation and Experience)