This is a session I led for The University of Stirling’s Research week 2018. It was proposing interdisciplinary approaches to cultural heritage research that aims at the generation of social value. It features talks by myself, Peter Gould and Daniel Pett.

In this session, we ask: What do we mean by heritage? Not things but processes: the multiple and variable ways in which different individuals and groups in our contemporary societies experience the past, and use it to make sense of and live their present.

This is why heritage research should invest robustly in examining how, today, people perceive, understand, perform and enact materials, objects and practices from ancient to more recent periods, in order to help grasping the deep-rooted cultural reasons that lie at the basis of key contemporary phenomena, and to address local to global challenges.

Through case studies and examples, we will show how interdisciplinary approaches to heritage research that draw on history, archaeology, political science, economics, sociology, social anthropology, media studies and computer science can contribute to facing three main challenges: social justice, innovation and economic growth.

(Topic 1) How was the past mobilised in discussions that related to the UK’s membership in the European Union, and what has been the use and impact of heritage expertise in this context? (Topic 2) How can heritage contribute to the economic growth of local communities? (Topic 3) How can digital innovation lead to structural changes in knowledge production towards more participatory cultures and greater inclusivity.