Reflections on the first year of Centre for Critical Heritage Studies

In February 2017 the board of Centre for Critical Heritage Studies (CCHS) approved CCHS Report 2016 and the CCHS Plan for 2017.

The newly started Centre for Critical Heritage Studies represents a partnership between University of Gothenburg (UGOT) and University College London (UCL). It represents the formal culmination of several years of increasing collaboration during the preceding Critical Heritage Studies project at UGOT and related initiatives at UCL.

The formation of the new joint centre was celebrated by two launching events: one in Gothenburg in April, and one in London in November.

− Both events were part of a strategy to present our activities to the academic public, and both events drew a rather large audience, says Kristian Kristiansen, professor of Archaeology and Director of Centre for Critical Heritage Studies.

Kristian Kristiansen at CCHS launch in Gothenburg

Strategic activity
Conference participation is an important activity, and CCHS presented itself at the third annual meeting of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies in Montreal with a participation of more than 700.

− Our presentation drew much interest and we used the opportunity to contact authors for the new Cambridge Element Series, says Kristian Kristiansen.

The leadership group made an agreement with Cambridge University Press to produce a proposal for their new Element Series. The proposal was handed in by the end of the year and it included proposals for 50 booklets with a global coverage of critical heritage themes.

− We hope to sign a contract during 2017 and start production, which will take up quite some time during the coming 3-4 years until the series is completed. But it will situate CCHS globally as an important contributor to Critical Heritage Studies.

Communication is an important aspect of CCHS, and CCHS webpage has seen an average of about 5 000 page visitor each month during 2016. CCHS monthly newsletter have nearly 500 subscribers and the Facebook page have over 1 100 followers and manage to disseminate information quickly and broadly.

− Grant applications count as an important strategic activity that the centre supports. We are therefore delighted to report that 2016 saw several successful grant applications from both UGOT and UCL, totaling over 90 million SEK. Most importantly, however, from a general academic point of view, we succeeded in getting a Marie Curie research training network grant of 3.8 million € (35.6 Mkr) financing 15 PhD students covering thematically our four research clusters.

The positions were announced just before Christmas, and the plan is to have the candidates ready by April. They will benefit from the research environment of CCHS, just as CCHS shall benefit from the several new European partners during the coming years.

Added value
Kristian Kristiansen concludes the added value of the new organization and work is reflected in the success of the centres researchers to achieve own grants, as well as researchers in the clusters networks.

− Thanks to this new activities are adding up to the CCHS, often in the form of joint workshops and publications. Also the successful Marie Curie grant of 15 PhDs starting 2017, will become an added value for all parties, and has expanded our European network. We are thus looking forward to 2017 with confidence and enthusiasm, it will be demanding and rewarding.

For more information: The report for 2016 and plan for 2017 can be found on CCHS website. Read more about the launch in Gothenburg here, and about the launch in London here. Follow CCHS on Facebook via this link! Do you want to subscribe to CCHS newsletter? Please send an email to

CCHS illustration by Kristina Edgren