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York welcomes new professor to found new Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre

Posted on 6 April 2022

We are delighted to announce that a leading scholar in the study of heritage will be joining us ahead of the new academic year.

Professor Emma Waterton has won a £2million Leverhulme International Professorship award to bring a team here and establish a new research centre.

The Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre will examine how the systems, structures and institutions of power currently shape heritage. It will also explore how communities around the world have adapted and responded to a range of crises, such as environmental change, social inequalities, water insecurity, global migration and the legacies of colonialism.

From the Hindu Kush in the Himalayas, to Australia’s urban centres, the Centre will investigate how disasters such as water scarcity, earthquakes and landslides have shaped cultures across centuries.

Leverhulme International Professorships were set up by the Leverhulme Trust to help universities attract globally leading scholars to take up professorial posts in the UK. The associated £2m in funding will allow Professor Waterton to co-direct the new centre with Dr Hayley Saul, and bring together a group of established academics and PhD students to work on international and transdisciplinary research.

The research team will use case studies in India, the UK, Fiji, Bermuda, Barbados, St Kitts and Nevis, Nepal, Australia, Bhutan, Norway, and South Africa - with the scope to include additional locations as the Centre grows. It will be built around six research themes:

‘Colonial Legacies’
‘Mobilities and Materialities’
‘Anthropocene Encounters’
‘Cultures of Disaster’
‘Society-Nature Relations'

This is a significant win for the department. We are delighted that Professor Waterton has been successful with this Leverhulme award, and we cannot wait to welcome the team to York. We are really looking forward to establishing this important Centre and exploring these critical heritage-related challenges.