Heritage Encounters.

Newcastle University. 

3rd – 4th July 2018


Tuesday 3rd July. (Ballroom, Culture Lab)


4pm: Registration

4.30pm: Welcome – Professor Rhiannon Mason (Newcastle University)

4.40pm: Opening Address – Professor Julie Sanders (Newcastle University) and Graham Bell (UK Co-ordinator for European Year of Cultural Heritage)

5.15pm: Keynote, chaired by Professor Rhiannon Mason (Newcastle University)


Professor Elizabeth Crooke (Ulster University)

Heritage Encounters: the object as critical lens


In September 1922 a group of men found themselves on the SS Argenta, a floating prison moored on the Belfast Lough. Each man was considered a threat to the new Northern Ireland state and was held, without trial, in abysmal conditions. One man had an autograph book and, sharing a pen, his fellow prisoners supplied a signature and a few words. This collection of names, surviving in the now fragile book, is a lens through when we can address the central themes of this UK Chapter event. Belonging is suggested in the original compilation and subsequent survival of the autograph book. There is potential for dialogue about historical events, representation in museums, as well as why and how we remember. The autograph book can trigger discussion about how futures are made, whether that is the active remembering at the point of compilation or by subsequent generations. These themes also bring critical reflection to the current ‘Decade of Centenaries’ in Ireland and encourage us to consider more deeply what shapes the nature and outcomes of heritage encounters.

Elizabeth Crooke is professor of Heritage and Museum Studies at Ulster University where she is Course Director of the campus-based and distance learning MA programmes in heritage and museum studies. Her research explores memory, identity, representation and heritage, themes found in her co-edited book Heritage After Conflict: Northern Ireland (with Tom Maguire, Routledge 2018). These themes also resonate in her work as CI with the AHRC funded First World War Engagement Centre, Living Legacies. Recently she has published in Memory Studies (2017) and Irish Political Studies (2016). She has articles forthcoming in Liminalities andJournal for the History of Collections. She has two monographs Museums and Community: Ideas, Issues and Challenges (Routledge 2007) and Politics, Archaeology and the Creation of a National Museum of Ireland (Irish Academic Press 2000). Elizabeth is current Chair of Northern Ireland Museums Council (2015-2018) and has a current project with the Irish Museums Association considering the impact of Brexit: see their first report here:

6.15pm: Drinks reception and dinner (Culture Lab)

Wednesday 4th July (Ballroom, Culture Lab).


9am: Registration

9.30am: WelcomeProfessor Chris Whitehead (Newcastle University)

9.40am: Keynote – chaired by Professor Chris Whitehead (Newcastle University)

 Professor Rodney Harrison (UCL)

Heritage Futures: Some thoughts on the value of comparative research to critical heritage studies

What does it mean to speak of different forms of heritage as distinctive future-making practices? This lecture will explore how taking a comparative approach to understanding natural and cultural heritage conservation practices, and bringing heritage, broadly defined, into conversation with the management of other material and virtual legacies such as nuclear waste, might help transform our understanding of the work heritage and other conservation practices do in society. In doing so, the lecture aims to show the value of critical, comparative approaches to heritage in engaging with some of the key social, political, and ecological issues of the present, and in understanding how past legacies shape future worlds.

Rodney Harrison is Professor of Heritage Studies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow. He is Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures Research Programme; Director of the Heritage Futures Laboratory at UCL; and leads the Work Package on “Theorizing heritage futures in Europe: heritage scenarios” as part of the EC funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie action [MSCA] Doctoral Training Network CHEurope: Critical Heritage Studies and the Future of Europe. He is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology and was a founding executive committee member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies. He is the (co)author or (co)editor of more than a dozen books and guest edited journal volumes and over 70 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. In addition to the AHRC his research has been funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, British Academy, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Australian Research Council, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the European Commission.

10.40-11.10am: Tea and Coffee Break

11.10am-12.40pm: “Dialogues” – chaired by Dr Areti Galani and Dr Gabi Arrigoni (Newcastle University).

With contributions from:

Dr Jacek Koltan (European Solidarity Centre)

Kathleen Boodhai (Northumbria University)

Tali Padan (Copenhagen Business School and Mellem Education)

Dr Stelios Lekakis (Newcastle University and MONUMENTA)


Dialogue/s through and about heritage

As museums increasingly embrace a social mission, with the mandate to encourage civic engagement and intercultural sensitivity, the idea of dialogue has gained currency in both institutional mission statements and exhibition designs. Furthermore, current European policy considers cultural heritage as a key factor ‘for the refocusing of our societies on the basis of dialogue between cultures’ and for ‘building a future of peace’. Within heritage work the dialogic museum concept has been approached through practices of consultation, co-curation and co-production, as a means for deconstructing institutional, monologic perspectives while developing models of shared and open authority. However, many questions surround our understandings of dialogue in this context: they relate both to the semantic breadth of the term, as well as the variety of ways in which it is put at work, mobilised and mis/appropriated. This panel aims to explore the relevance, aims and modalities of dialogue in heritage through a set of position statements and audience discussion. It brings together interdisciplinary and international perspectives from academia and the heritage sector in the UK and Europe.

12.40-1.45pm: Lunch

1.45-3.15pm: “Belongings” – chaired by Dr Katie Markham (Newcastle University)

With Contributions from:

Dr Ian McDonald and Dr Susannah Eckersley (Newcastle University)

Dr Francesca Lanz (Politecnico di Milano)

Dr Claske Vos (University of Amsterdam)

Dr Katherine Lloyd (University of Glasgow)

 The word heritage is often connected to ideas of ownership or attachment, to a sense of inherent or inherited rights and to issues of alienation – fundamental terms also to understanding belonging. Given current political developments and socio-cultural contests around belonging internationally – who may be permitted to belong, and when, where, to what, how or why – whether in relation to individuals, marginalised or dominant groups or indeed entire nations, this session aims to explore different critical research approaches to ‘Belongings’. It will explore how practices of belonging across a range of identities, communities and histories may be mediated, affirmed or denied within heritage forms including museums, commemoration, architecture and cultural governance, and highlight the challenges and opportunities of diverse critical research methods – research on practice, research as practice and practice as research.

Through short work-in-progress presentations from researchers and practitioners from differing cultural and heritage-related disciplines and panel discussions this session therefore aims to address how and why multiple heritages, memories, processes of attachment and belonging to and in cultural spaces and places, are being (re)negotiated during a time of European migration and identity ‘crises’.


3.15-3.45pm: Tea and Coffee Break

3.45-5.15pm: “Futures” – chaired by Dr Loes Veldpaus (Newcastle University) and Dr Sarah May (UCL).

With contributions from:

Dr Lorna Richardson (University of York)

Coralie Acheson (Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham)

Professor Rodney Harrison (UCL)

What do we have to say about the Future of the Discipline?

Sessions like this one, at the end of a conference programme, are often used to draw out hopes and fears about the state of the discipline. With a new AHRC strategy for Heritage it can also be used to discuss how strategies like this can lead the discipline. We can ask many questions about the future of the discipline and its short and long-term options and realities, what are our realistic reflections on what is happening, what are our idealistic ideas for the future, what are the strategic pathways. But also, how is the future of the discipline bound up in path dependency, strategy, and our own thinking about it as if it is a discipline? Are there different futures and uses of the past thinkable, foreseeable? Can we imagine a post-heritage world? The session will begin with a short discussion of the AHRC Heritage Strategy. Provocations will follow to spur audience discussion of other less predictable futures.

5.15pm: Conference close