University of Stirling welcomes Norwegian heritage experts

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The University of Stirling is to host some of the world’s leading experts on heritage as it strengthens its international ties to the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU).

The University, which is home to the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, formed an official partnership with NIKU in 2020, with the aim of launching collaborative projects to further strengthen research in the areas of heritage and society.

This week (Monday, 2 May), a delegation from NIKU is to visit the University to participate in various knowledge exchange and networking events.

Organised by the University’s Cultural Heritage Research Programme, in association with the Institute for Advanced Studies and the International Office, the visit will include a one-day workshop for early career researchers, PhD students and academics. The objective of the workshop is to explore issues and challenges facing heritage and society in Scotland and Norway.

Parallel with the academic workshop, professional services staff from both institutions will have a series of meetings focusing on research development and communication. The Norwegian guests will also be given a guided tour of the University Campus and Old Logie Kirk, focusing on their rich heritage.

Professor Siân Jones, Director of the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy at the University of Stirling, said: “Relationships between heritage and society in both Scotland and Norway are currently at an important juncture, facing several overlapping issues and challenges, including societal inequalities, a heightened awareness of the politics of heritage, and changing relationships between experts and publics.

“Public funding is also increasingly linked to societal benefits, sustainability and inclusive growth and, with the COVID-19 crisis having further highlighted many of these issues, there is an urgent need to create new futures for heritage and society.

“This visit is an important opportunity to discuss these core issues and challenges with our Norwegian colleagues, and to identify priority areas for future research development and collaboration.”

Neville Wylie, Deputy Principal (Internationalisation) and Interim Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling said: “We are delighted to welcome our partners from NIKU to Stirling for this workshop and to take forward discussions, and test ideas and approaches to some of the key challenges facing the heritage sector in our respective countries.”

Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage and Society at NIKU, Torgrim Sneve Guttormsen, who is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Stirling, said: “We are grateful for having this opportunity to visit the University of Stirling and our outstanding colleagues at the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy.

“Norway and Scotland have much in common and many intersections in research on heritage that will be particularly interesting to jointly explore across our institutions. We hope this workshop will create a long-lasting collaboration across our borders in the future. In fact, we are picking up the thread already in June, where Professor Siân Jones will visit NIKU together with four colleagues from Stirling to continue the transnational collaboration to create outstanding research for the benefit of society in and between our countries.”

The visit will take place from 2 – 4 May.

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. Stirling and NIKU already have several collaborative ventures, including visiting researcher exchanges, joint events and projects, such as the Deep Cities (Curbatheri) project, which is an ongoing European research project on urban transformation and cultural heritage.