Research project title: Decision-Making in Historic Buildings Recording and Survey
Supervisor/s: Dr. Kate Giles, Dr. Dav Smith
Digital technologies such as Structure from Motion photogrammetry and laser scanning offer new opportunities and challenges for the recording of historic buildings. Current UK guidance standardises recording and data management methodologies but the complexities of the decision-making process for recording and its effect the final record remain unexplored. Understanding the existing practices, assumptions, and realities at play when recording a historic building, particularly when employing new digital techniques, is critical to ensuring that records produced now are fit for purpose and future-proofed.
This PhD research project will analyse the decision-making process in the recording of historic buildings with a particular focus on the role played by digital technologies. Through a retrospective examination of case studies and a combination of questionnaires and interviews with current historic buildings professionals, this project will look at the ways in which decision-making processes and protocols impact how these records are produced, presented, stored, accessed, and utilised. The data gathered will be used to identify gaps within current guidance and practice and will contribute to the development of a new informed decision-making framework for recording historic buildings.
I completed my BA in History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College in Vermont (USA). After several years in university fundraising and alumni affairs, I moved to London and received an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies with distinction from University College London (2012-2013). My dissertation explored the intangible heritage dynamics of Irish language protection and promotion on the Dingle peninsula in western Ireland.
I became interested in digital recording methods for heritage through a series of international conservation training courses and historic preservation projects and returned to the UK for an MA in Archaeology of Buildings at the University of York (2018-2019). For my dissertation I undertook a methodological study of laser scanning as a technique for recording complex architecture for which I scanned the medieval timber roof structure of York Minster’s Chapter House. This project led me to consider the need to review existing principles of buildings survey in light of new technologies and I began my PhD in January 2020.
My primary research interests relate to the impact of digital methods on our approaches to historic buildings recording and interpretation. More widely, I am interested in the creation of heritage, traditional building and conservation methods, the relationship between tangible and intangible heritage, and the dynamics of building recording in the face of conflict or development.