York Heritage Research Seminars

Most YOHRS talks will be live-streamed and accessible to viewers from around the world. For more information on the seminars, please contact John Schofield. The live-streams will be available via YouTube or Google+. An archive of previous talks (from Autumn 2012 to Spring 2016) is available here.


October 3 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15.

Neil Redfern, Historic England (Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments in Yorkshire)

Archaeology What Next? How to Maximise Archaeology's Benefit to Society

'Despite much press coverage and discussion in the sector, it is arguable that the only crisis facing archaeology at present is a self-made, process-driven one. Simply put we seem to be saying: 'We don't have enough resources to make the current process work and therefore there is a crisis'. If we took a more dynamic look at the sector and our purpose and asked how we might change our approach to redefine our outputs, then we could vastly maximise our impact to society and instil a new purpose in our profession. What is perceived as a crisis can actually be seen as an opportunity.'

Location: Kings Manor room K/159


October 10 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15.

Tracy Ireland, University of Canberra

Quotidian utopia: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence and the heritage of love

Orhan Pamuk’s 2008 novel The Museum of Innocence narrates a love story exploring themes of unstable identities, affective objects and obsessive collecting, set against the background of social change in Turkey and its manifestation in the urban landscape of Istanbul. In his museum of the same name, which opened in 2012, and its catalogue The Innocence of Objects, Pamuk articulates a clear political agenda through his “Modest Manifesto for Museums”, which expresses suspicion of the relationship between the narratives of the past told through grand museums and the power of the state. Pamuk’s valuing of the everyday - the quotidian materiality of ordinary human lives – can be read as a critique of the concept of heritage significance and a re-imagining of the field of heritage and museums where the material traces of the past are not uprooted from their neighbourhoods, but cared for at home and curated with love. I suggest that Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence imagines a Utopian future for heritage and museums which is centred on the constitution of empathic, materially mediated experiences of the everyday—particularly of joy, love and happiness— emotions rarely encompassed or made visible through the frame of heritage. Pamuk’s concern with experience and emotion, rather than representation, and with the vibrant materiality of objects, rather than the representative collections, links to the scholarly shift in interest from what heritage might mean, to what it might it might do.

Location: Kings Manor room K/159 


October 17 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15

Tim Edensor, Manchester Metropolitan University / visiting scholar at Melbourne University

(Re)making the City: Stony Stories from Melbourne

Cities are continuously assembled and reassembled out of a diverse array of non-human materials. This paper explores the ongoing reconstitution of Melbourne with building stone, exploring issues of provenance, sensation and value..Firstly, I look at how stone provides material traces of  Melbourne's historical relations with multiple elsewheres, and continues to link the city to other places of supply. I also explore how stone is subject to dynamic processes of recycling or removal.. Secondly, in moving away from the symbolic interpretations of stone, I look at the affective and sensory qualities of stone and how this contributes to the embodied experience of the city. Thirdly, I investigate how these processes are invariably entangled with values that change according to passing desires and fashions.

Location: Kings Manor room K/159 


October 24 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15

Caitlin DeSilvey, University of Exeter

Curated Decay: Subtle Ambush or Slippery Slope?

In Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving Caitlin DeSilvey asks what new relationships with the past (and the future) might emerge from a heritage practice that works with—rather than against—transience and decay. Her seminar will discuss some of the questions that have arisen from the book’s reception in both academic and practitioner contexts, and use excerpted readings as prompts to critical reflection on the viability of the book’s argument in relation to issues of politics, policy and poetics.

Location: Kings Manor room K/159 


October 31 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15

Thomas Yarrow, Durham University

Conservation in Construction: how old buildings are made to matter

Drawing on ethnographic research with building professionals and owners of historic buildings, this paper focuses on ideas of historic conservation, examining how these are materially and conceptually constructed through practices of renovation. I seek to highlight a series of dynamics that have received limited attention, demonstrating how conservation is substantiated in a range of ways including materially, bodily, emotionally, ethically and conceptually.

Location: Kings Manor room K/159


November 7 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15

Greg Keeffe, Queens, Belfast

Compost cities: urban decay, music, revolution and rebellion

Culture is urban: cities are where we live, love and lie.  What form our culture takes, how it is made and who makes it are open to debate.  This particular tale is a story from the inside: one of death and reincarnation, both of a people and a city.  It’s also a story about music and kids and urban regeneration.  Looking at the evolution of the Madchester Music scene, the author hypothises that it was the failure of modernist town planning that inadvertently created the perfect physical environment for the development of youth culture.  This unintended mash-up of cultures brewed up in a void of dereliction eventually spawned music that changed the world (and the city) for ever.  The paper concludes with a new manifesto for the management of cities and culture: one that could only have come from the city that championed free exchange.

Location: Kings Manor room K/159


November 14 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15.

Steve Trow, Historic England

Why does heritage research need Historic England?  Why does Historic England need heritage research?

Historic England, formerly English Heritage, is the Government’s statutory advisor on the historic environment.  It is classified by Government as a Public Sector Research Establishment and is an Independent Research Organisation of the UK Research Councils. Steve will outline the role that Historic England plays in heritage research, some recent achievements and its direction of travel. 

Location: Kings Manor room K/159


November 21 2017 17:30: drinks will be served from 17.15.

Juan Hiriart, University of Salford

Designing and Using Digital Games as Historical Learning Contexts

In the last decades, digital games based on historical themes or settings have become an important form of historical engagement. In spite of the growing academic interest in using game technologies for historical purposes, still many questions regarding its representational appropriateness, educational effectiveness, and practical implementation in formal and informal educational settings remain unclear.

In this presentation, I would like to give an overview of a Ph.D. research project set to analyse games as historical learning contexts. This study adopts a practice-based approach, relying on the iterative development of historical game prototypes based on Anglo-Saxon England. Drawing from expert interviews and the contextual implementation of the prototypes in primary school classrooms, the research has contributed to gain a better understanding of the theoretical and practical issues involved in the design and implementation of historical game based learning contexts, making empirical connections between educational theory, historical learning, and games design.

Location: Kings Manor room K/159