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Doctoral Programme in Cultural Heritage

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All the Doctoral candidates will be invited to actively participate in seminars and activities of one of four Una Europa Transnational Research Teams in Cultural Heritage (TRTs), which gather professors, researchers and Doctoral candidates of Una Europa universities.

Forming the TRTs

In the early stages of our work on Una-Her-Doc, we realized that our aim is to move beyond a simple curriculum and to create a place of exchange and regular interaction – a transdisciplinary and transnational ecosystem in Cultural Heritage, consisting not only of professors from Una Europa universities, but also researchers and Una-Her-Doc Doctoral candidates. This ecosystem will also serve as a basis for all our future projects and collaborations in the focus area of Cultural Heritage.

With the objective to operationalize its development, we defined a limited number of initial interdisciplinary CH research themes to serve as a basis for the creation of transnational research teams. The themes and the related teams are conceived as dynamic and moving parts of the ecosystems. They intend to follow and reflect the evolution of the research themes of the professors and Doctoral candidates of Una Europa universities, as well as the evolutions in the Cultural Heritage field.

In a bottom-up approach – after conducting a thorough mapping of Cultural Heritage research and teaching priorities in our 8 universities, and having in mind the global trends in the field, namely, 2014 Strategic Research Agenda of the JPI and other EU priorities, we defined the 4 themes below. Furthermore, we launched a call for the expression of interest across our partner universities, and managed to form 4 groups, gathering today around 150 Una Europa researchers in Cultural Heritage. During 2021/22, these groups started structuring each theme, its research priorities and activities.

1. Heritage, global migration and mobility

This research theme aims to highlight the role that migrations and mobilities have played in the past and increasingly play today in the social production of contemporary heritage. It posits that mobilities of populations, ideas, models, and standpoints contribute significantly to the heritagization of artifacts and mentifacts and explores the multiple relationships between migration and heritage. It further advances the hypothesis of a new ‘heritage regime’, which suggests a departure from the dominant understanding of the heritage concept by introducing mobilities and migrations as a major player in contemporary heritagization processes.

For more information, visit TRT1 blog, Heritage on the Move.

2. Heritage and the digitization of society

Cultural heritage breathes a new life with digital technologies. The digital revolution is also transforming the ways in which people know, understand, use, and visit heritage sites, opening the way to a ‘new Renaissance’, but also bringing a world of challenges. Segments of communities can be left aside from this revolution, while dissonant narratives and controversial approaches to heritage can also be spread more broadly. One of the greatest challenges in the digitization of society regarding cultural heritage is therefore to bridge the gap in the access to, and ability to master, cultural narratives.

3. Social capital, mutuality and volunteering

Under this theme, we study Cultural Heritage not just as product but also as process. We are interested in how Cultural Heritage is produced and by whom, by co-producing heritage studies together with increasingly diverse communities. Cultural heritage, whether tangible or intangible, is also about process – that curates and creates its assets, transforms and transcends these from cultural to social capital, towards greater well-being, resilience, sustainability and social cohesion. Heritage-as-process produces tensions, too, as flows of power, contested meanings and temporalities in new and existing forms of practice intersect. We wish to harness this in-betweenness of cultural heritage, between being and doing, to work with existing heritages and their (dis-)associated communities towards creating new ones.

4. Safeguarding cultural heritage

Cultural Heritage, tangible and intangible, is a resource under threat from natural decay, deliberate destructions, or disinterest, from being undervalued or overexploited. These issues are exaggerated by climate change, social conflicts, migratory dynamics, and the scarce economic and financial support. In this frame, we study the material remains for their characterization, sustainable conservation, and valorisation - and the intangible or dynamic heritages to validate solutions for the protection of knowledge and practice. Thus, the safeguarding of cultural heritage is a research theme that involves many different technical, scientific, social, and economic competences and an interdisciplinary approach to address these holistically.

For more information, visit TRT4 web page.