UCL Urban Laboratory


Centre for Critical Heritage Studies to launch at UCL in partnership with University of Gothenburg

6 May 2016

A new Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS) is being launched at UCL in collaboration with the University of Gothenburg, with UCL Urban Laboratory joining as a key partner

Project Campus Nackrosen

The interdisciplinary research centre will be based in the UCL Institute of Archaeology and involve researchers from across the university. Its remit is to respond to the challenges posed by heritagization processes and globalisation, including the hegemony of 'North Atlantic universals' in heritage policy and practice. It will lead the way in defining a new field of critical heritage studies which identifies and interprets evolving, multi-scalar forms of heritage and identity, and addresses issues of heritage justice.

UCL Urban Laboratory is part of one of the centre's five research clusters, 'Curating the City -Transdisciplinary Approaches in Urban Settings'. The research cluster, led by Henric Benesch (Academy of Design and Craft) and Ingrid Martins Holmberg (Department of Conservation) at the University of Gothenburg and Clare Melhuish (UCL Urban Laboratory) and Dean Sully (Institute of Archaeology) at UCL, will host and promote research, seminars, and public events between Gothenburg and London over an initial three-year period, and co-produce publications.

Some of the themes which the Urban Laboratory is proposing to explore in collaboration with its partners, and with a focus on practice-based research, include: university-led regeneration and heritage encounters with urban people (specifically looking at plans for UCL East and UGOT's Campus Nackrosen and their engagement with local communities in a postcolonial urban context); the city as mnemonic device: forgetting and remembering through the city, including hidden sites of London; and critical heritage and queer space, engaging with built environment heritage of LGBTQ groups (led by Ben Campkin).

The c. £3.7m funding for the Centre has been awarded for six years from April 2016 by the University of Gothenburg Centers for Global Societal Challenges call for research centre funding. The funding was awarded to Kristian Kristiansen and Ola Wetterberg at the University of Gothenburg and Beverley Butler, Rodney Harrison and Mike Rowlands at UCL.

Other clusters as part of the centre will include: Making Global Heritage Futures; Embracing the Archive; Heritage and Wellbeing; and Science and Heritage/Critical Conservation Studies.

Further links:

Image: Project Campus Nackrosen, University of Gothenburg, Sweden: proposal by Jais Arkitekter for intervention at Götaplatsen, in the city's cultural centre, 2015