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Reconnecting with the Centre for Heritage

8 December 2022

The event featured short presentations from a range of speakers, divided into three panels: Anti-Racist and Decolonial Approaches to Heritage, ECRs and the Centre for Heritage: Partnerships and Opportunities, and Future Opportunities with the Centre for Heritage.

In the first panel, Dr Carol Ann Dixon spoke of experiences of as a freelance researcher and her varied ongoing projects with partner institutions. Dr Dixon recently joined Newcastle University as a visiting researcher in the School of Arts and Cultures. Dr Sana Al-Naimi, School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape, presented her project “New Baghdad”: A Legacy of Spatial Tensions, which recently received financial support from the Centre for Heritage. Her work expands on her PhD, and explores the legacy of Gertrude Bell’s role in shaping Iraq through the use of newly discovered archival urban plans.

In the second panel, Linda Norris introduced the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, which has partnered with Newcastle University since 2021. The Coalition’s work is centred on harnessing memory in the pursuit of action on issues of social justice and human rights. Through our partnership, faculty and students at Newcastle are engaged in memory work at heritage institutions, including historic sites, place-based museums, and memorials. To showcase this collaboration, PhD students Samantha Vaughn and Jennifer Cooke spoke about their summer 2022 internships with two Coalition member sites. Lastly, Muhammd Topdaş offered a review of the recent HEI International Student Conference in Oslo (19-21 October), in which three students from Newcastle University took part.

The final panel featured a variety of speakers who presented their heritage-related work. These included Iain Watson, visiting professor at Newcastle University, who spoke about his upcoming project about business and heritage; Professor Chris Whitehead, Dean of Global, who presented the university’s partnerships with various British International Research Institutes; Rachael Lennon, Strategic Cultural Partnerships Manager, who introduced Newcastle University’s Memorandum of Understanding with the National Trust; and Roxana Montazerian, PhD candidate in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, who presented her intelligent and sustainable heritage management start-up ROXID; and, lastly, Catherine Gilbert, who promoted the upcoming Memory Studies Conference, which will be held at Newcastle University from 3-7 July 2023.

In addition to these presentations, the event offered several opportunities for attendees to network and make connections, alongside presenting feedback to the Centre for Heritage’s co-directors about what they would like to see the Centre do moving forward. The afternoon provided many fruitful discussions as well as opportunities for future collaboration.