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Gill Chitty
Reader, Conservation Studies



Dr Gill Chitty is co-Director of the Conservation Studies MA programmes and the Centre for Conservation Studies.

Before joining the Department of Archaeology at York, Gill was Head of Conservation at the Council for British Archaeology responsible for research and policy. She has over 30 years professional experience in the heritage sector working in conservation and public archaeology.

Following a first degree in Archaeology at the University of Wales (Cardiff), she took the Museums Association Graduate Diploma in Archaeology (1980) and the Building Conservation Diploma at the Architectural Association (1987). Her PhD at Lancaster University's Ruskin Research Centre (1997) examined the cultural context for Ruskin’s influence and legacy in conservation thinking. 


Gill began her career in Liverpool Museum’s Antiquities Department and then moved into local government archaeology, as county archaeologist in Merseyside and then Greater London. Moving to English Heritage, as an Inspector of Ancient Monuments, she worked in Greater London and then the Midlands including major conservation programmes at Stokesay Castle, Clun Castle and Wingfield Manor.

Following her PhD research, she worked at specialist adviser for archaeology at Lancashire County Council and for English Heritage’s Monuments Protection Programme.  For MPP's thematic assessment of historic industries, she developed an integrated approach to designation for the industrial heritage in England.

As a heritage consultant over the last 15 years, Gill has conducted strategic research projects for the Cathedrals Fabric Commission and Church Buildings Council, DCMS, English Heritage, ICOMOS UK, IfA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and the Welsh Assembly Government / Cadw.

Departmental roles

Subject Contact for MSC programmes at Weald & Downland Living Museum 2012- 2017

Director of Graduate Studies 2013 - 2015

Chair of Board of Studies 2015 - 2017

Deputy Head of Department 2015 - 2016

University roles

Associate Dean (Teaching, Learning & Students), Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Member of University Teaching Committee 2016 - current



Research interests are in the evolution of public policy for heritage protection and its interaction with environmental conservation and sustainability policies. My doctoral research at the Ruskin Research Centre explored the cultural context for John Ruskin’s early work – writing, teaching, and social commentary - on the historic environment, his influence on William Morris and the emergence of a distinctive British conservation philosophy in the 19th- and 20th-century conservation movement.

The political economy of heritage - in the Ruskinian sense of a cultural project for a “citizens’ economy” as developed further by Morris and others - remains a central research interest, together with the emergence of community engagement as a force for change and an instrument of public policy in an era of localism and sustainable development. This links with collaborations in conservation as an inherently sustainable approach to management of the built environment.



  • Resilient York - Sustaining an historic city through flooding and beyond (collaboration with York Civic Trust)
  • William Morris and the Kelmscott Manor ceramics: ‘daily life works of art’ (collaboration with Society of Antiquaries of London)
  • Brodsworth Hall ‘Conservation in Action’ programme: public engagement impact assessment (collaboration with English Heritage)
  • Heritage documentation in India: Walled cities project (collaboration with CEPT University, Ahmedabad)
  • Engaging Conservation - international conference and external engagement project


Council for British Archaeology

Churches Conservation Trust

City of York Council 

Diadrasis, Athens, Greece

Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey

Illinois School of Architecture, USA


CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India


  • Harald Fredheim (AHRC CDA studentship with Council for British Archaeology)
  • Joanne Harrison (WRoCAH stduentship)
  • David Jennings (AHRC CDA studentship with Council for British Archaeology)
  • Claire Smith (CDP studentship with Historic England)
  • Alessandra Sprega (WRoCAH studentship)
  • Krupa Rajangam National Institute of Advanced Studies (Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengalaru)



Third Year:  Assessed Seminar: Sustaining the historic environment


External activities


  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

  • Member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation

  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London

  • Chair of Historic England Industrial Archaeology Panel
  • ICOMOS-UK Education & Training Committee

  • Historic Environment Forum: Heritage Skills Task Group

  • Council for British Archaeology Casework Panel

  • Trustee, York Foundation for Conservation & Craftsmanship

Editorial duties

  • Historic Environment: Policy & Practice Editorial Board

Contact details

Dr Gill Chitty
Director of Studies, Conservation
Department of Archaeology
University of York
The King's Manor

Tel: (44) 1904 323925