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International cooperation highlights cultural heritage

News: Nov 30, 2016

What is critical heritage studies? That was the focus when a new collaboration between the University of Gothenburg and the University College London was launched in London in November.

Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS) is since April 2016 a research centre at the University of Gothenburg (UGOT). The centre consists of researchers from four faculties at UGOT. Through the collaboration with UCL the centre consolidates its status as a collaborative, international an interdisciplinary research centres.

– We put the rhetoric of international cooperation in practice, said Michael Rowland, professor emeritus at the UCL and one of the coordinators of the cluster Heritage and Science at the centre’s launch.

Learn from each other

Critical heritage studies is a relatively new and growing interdisciplinary field that problematize what cultural heritage is and how cultural heritage and perceptions of heritage is perceived and used in different social arenas today. The aim of the research is to present alternative and critical interpretations of how we experience a globalized world. The challenge is therefore to examine how the past can be used in the present to create the future.

As part of this, a research initiative on critical heritage studies was initiated in Gothenburg in 2010. Three interdisciplinary research clusters with different orientations were formed, activities were organized and guest researchers were invited. One of them was Michael Rowlands.

– We found many similarities and common issues between UGOT and UCL, we had a lot in common, he says.

Some of the participants at the launchIn April the two universities started to cooperate within the framework of the centre. In this way, the universities can learn from each other and new research synergies can take place.

– It leads to a dynamic collaboration and open exchange of ideas and feedback. It is inspiring to see how UGOT is working to include the public in their research projects. We at UCL want a more active dialogue with the public. It is important when we talk about critical heritage studies in an era of post-truth, says Michal Rowlands.

– We have had six years to develop the cooperation and exchange within the venture. Now we can pick it up an extra notch and make use of UCL's work in international networks, says professor Kristian Kristiansen, director of the centre.

Bring perspectives together

The theme of the launch was "What is critical heritage studies?" Scientists from the centre’s research cluster talked about their work and the challenges that arise when researchers from different disciplines try to find common ground.

– It's not an easy fit within the cluster. One should approach the whole thing through a common question: how can cultural heritage fit into this? It is also the strength of interdisciplinary projects. My perspective is challenged so that I can see them from a new light, says Dean Sully, researcher at UCL and one of the cluster coordinators in the cluster Curating the City.

– Our goal is to develop common methodologies and bring our various perspectives together, says Anne Lanceley from the cluster Heritage and Wellbeing.

Read more:

Learn more about the CCHS: Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS)



Top: Michael Rowlands och Kristian Kristiansen

Left: Some of the participants at the launch. Back row from the left: Dean Sully, Rodney Harrison, Beverley Butler, Michael Rowlands
Middle row from the left: Felipe Criado-Boado, Anna Bohlin, Clare Melhuish, Alda Terracciano, Anne Gilliland, Niclas Hagen, Staffan Appelgren
Front row from the left: Kristian Kristiansen, Henric Benesch, Astrid von Rosen


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