University signs Norwegian partnership

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University of Stirling Campus

The University of Stirling is expanding its international partnerships after signing a new agreement with the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU).

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two institutions with an emphasis on strengthening the development of research in the area of heritage and society, through collaborative projects.

NIKU is an independent institute for applied research and development with a focus on cultural heritage and works internationally in a variety of fields including: archaeological investigations, conservation, heritage management, and cultural heritage and urban development.

The official agreement follows a successful partnership facilitated by Stirling’s Professor Siân Jones, of the Division of History, Heritage and Politics, who is currently participating in a two-year Visiting Fellowship with NIKU, funded by a Norwegian Research Council Award. As part of this award, the NIKU Heritage and Society team, led by Dr Torgrim Guttormson, visited Stirling in 2019 to participate in a workshop and visit some of the University’s research project sites.

Professor Neville Wylie, Deputy Principal for Internationalisation at Stirling, welcomed the MoU. He said: “I am absolutely delighted to see this agreement in place. It provides a spring board for developing our relations with NIKU and strengthening one of the university’s key research priority areas.”

Siân Jones, Professor of Heritage at University of Stirling, said: “Scotland and Norway are often seen as natural partners with common values and interests in the face of global challenges. This applies to heritage and society, as in other areas. There is much work to be done around issues of diversity, inclusion, social justice and representation in the face of pressing demands for the democratisation of heritage and the growth of community-based heritage policies.

“Working with NIKU’s Heritage and Society Department we can advance international understanding and dialogue in a wide range of areas, including heritage, identity and place-making, as well as the values and benefits of heritage.

“I am particularly excited about the commitment to develop an international early career research culture across the two organisations, which offers our PhD students an excellent opportunity to engage in international dialogue and exchange.”

Kristin Bakken, General Director of NIKU, said: “For NIKU, this agreement is an expression of our ambition to establish more research projects on the international arena. We would like to be an active agent in developing Norwegian heritage research in a direction that places it in an international context and within current theoretical frameworks.”

“We hope that international research results will have the potential to revitalise and develop cultural heritage understanding and management in Norway. We are confident that our cooperation with Stirling University will help us reach this strategic ambition.”

Dr Torgrim Sneve Guttormsen, Head of Department, Heritage and Society at NIKU, added: “By strengthening our partnership with Stirling University, we want to create a stimulating forum for collaboration and network building for both junior and senior researchers across our institutions.

“We think there are so many interesting commonalities between our institutions in Norway and Scotland, as for the two countries in general, that will generate new and interesting research perspectives for mutual benefit. We are very excited about the upcoming collaboration with Stirling University.”