17th Century Gothenburg, as entered via Stora Bommen
17th Century Gothenburg, as entered via Stora Bommen (reproduced with permission from Göteborgs Stad)
Photo: Göteborgs Stadbyggnadskontoret 2017

CHEurope: Critical Heritage Studies and the Future of Europe – Heritage in the Digital Making

Research project
Active research
Project period
2017 - 2021
Project owner
Centre for Critical Heritage Studies

Short description

CHEurope is a PhD training program in cultural heritage supported by the European Union under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) – Innovative Training Networks (ITN). The project is the result of a collaboration between key European academic and non-academic organisations in Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy. With an overall duration of 4 years, the project supports the research and training of 15 Early Stage Researchers from Europe and other parts of the world.

CHEurope aims at developing a new integrated framework to enhance the academic and professional training and open future job opportunities in cultural heritage preservation, management and promotion.

Heritage in the Digital Making

The research analyzes the digital encounters with the historic environment. To identify the varying capacities for heritage transmission, the project commenced with an assessment of the role of development-led archaeological databases (or Historic Environment Records (HERs)). Commonplace internationally, these databases are often the primary source of information ahead of archaeological excavation. It is also often assumed, as they are largely free to access, that they play a role in heritage distribution. To challenge these assumptions, a sociological review of their performative aspects reinforces this thesis.

Moreover, to compare aspects of digitality, a case study focusing on the creation and display of a virtual reconstruction of the 17th century city of Gothenburg is underway. As the focal point of a secondment at Göteborgs Stadsmuseum, this is a reading of the concept of time travel; the embryonic capacity of digitality in the city’s heritage making process, and the potential for the re-presentation of public narratives.

And finally, beginning at the end of 2019, the final study in the project will trace the relationship between urban space and narrative representation of the city in modern and postmodern literature. Temporally, these periods coincide with the advance of post-industrial urbanity, as well as the rise of the moving image. As a means of encountering the urban landscape, these depictions will be read as analogues to the contemporary developments of 3D visualization and spatial representation. 


William Illsley

Mats Malm

Cecilia Lindhé

Jonathan Westin