10 April Seminar: Cultural Heritage, participation and coproduction

This year we are introducing a new format for our ICCHS work-in-progress events. As our research has developed over recent years a number of common themes and clusters have started to emerge, particularly around questions of: a) cultural heritage, health and wellbeing and b) cultural heritage, participation and coproduction. This reflects wider trends in the field, both towards larger-scale, collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects generally and also specifically around these topics.

In recognition of this we have organised panel discussions along these themes where researchers (both staff and doctoral) working on these themes will each speak for around 10 minutes in the aim of generating wider cross-project insights and exchanges. As the name suggests these sessions present research work as it is happening and developing so audience feedback is welcome. These events are open to all and suggestions for future themed panels are also welcome as are individual work-in-progress presentations.

Join us on 10 April from 1 – 2pm for our ‘work-in-progress’ seminar on the theme of ‘cultural heritage, participation and coproduction’. Speakers include: Myra Giesen, Rhiannon Mason, Aron Mazel and Andrew Newman from ICCHS.

All are welcome and there’s no need to book. We’ll be in Room 1.06- more information on location can be found in the column on the right.


ICCHS PhD researcher working on a project with Tate Britain


Over the next few months ICCHS PhD researcher Rebecca Farley will be working with Tate Research on a live project to develop a social media engagement strategy for the forthcoming exhibition ‘Basic Design’ at Tate Britain.

This project is part of the ‘Hidden Collections – From Archive to Asset’ programme, funded through the AHRC’s Digital Transformations theme. Launched in October last year, the Hidden Collections programme has developed through a series of six interdisciplinary workshops investigating issues within archival digitisation and exploring the potential of digital platforms as routes for public engagement with these ‘hidden collections’.

“Looking at digital opportunity in the specific context of archaeological artifacts, theatre performance and visual images, the workshops I’ve attended have been a great opportunity to meet with and hear from arts and humanities scholars from a wide range of disciplines and specialisms. Together we’ve considered the philosophy of the archive, and looked at and discussed a whole range of digital approaches and tools, from 3D scanning, to interactive touchscreens, online databases, crowdsourcing projects and social media.”

Rebecca is part of a small collaborative team of Doctoral researchers from Leicester, Birmingham and Cambridge universities who will be working with the Tate on this project.

“Interestingly, in relation to my own research on public art in NewcastleGateshead, the ‘Basic Design’ exhibition that we will be focusing on has a specific link to Newcastle University, through the influence of Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton’s teaching in the Fine Art department here.”

The Image group will be visiting Tate Britain in April to visit the exhibition and to finalise their project plan with the Tate team.

For updates on the development of the Hidden Collections Tate project visit Rebecca’s research blog at rebeccafarley.wordpress.com

Hot off the press… Edited by Myra Giesen from ICCHS


Curating Human Remains – Caring for the Dead in the United Kingdom, edited by Myra Giesen, has just been released. Myra is a Lecturer here at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies here at Newcastle University. Click on the image to visit Boydell & Brewer’s webpage for more information and to buy a copy.

Slides from yesterday’s seminar with Dagny Stuedahl

Thank you to all who attended yesterday’s seminar with Dagny. Scroll down for the slides from her presentation. Any further questions or comments, please get in touch.

Dagny speaking at ICCHS 20.3.13

Dagny speaking at ICCHS 20.3.13

Dagny speaking at ICCHS 20.3.13

Dagny speaking at ICCHS 20.3.13


ICCHS research on rock art featured on BBC and in the FT

Click here to visit bbc.co.uk

Click here to visit bbc.co.uk

Researchers from ICCHS and the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) have recently had their research featured on the BBC and in the Financial Times. Here is the press release, issued by Newcastle University on 14 March 2013:

Some of the world’s ancient art is at risk of disappearing, Newcastle University experts have warned.

Researchers from the  International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS)  and School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) studied the physical underpinnings and condition of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock art panels in Northumberland. They conclude climate change could cause the art to vanish because new evidence suggests stones may deteriorate more rapidly in the future.

Writing in the Journal of Cultural and Heritage Studies, they say urgent action is needed so the art can be preserved for future generations, but they also urge that a deeper understanding is needed of what causes rock art to deteriorate.

David Graham, Professor of Ecosystems Engineering (CEG) said: “We wanted to understand the scientific reasons why these stones may deteriorate. Our findings show that predicted changes to our broader environment  – such as more wind and warmer, wetter weather –  could have a devastating effect on these artworks. If we want to keep them, we need to start looking at how we can preserve them now.”

Dr Aron Mazel , Director of ICCHS at Newcastle University, said: “People think rocks are permanent and that because rock art seems to have been there for a very long time , it will last forever.  Sadly, this is not the case and some of the world’s most interesting art could be at risk. We need to act now if we want this art, which was created by humans thousands and thousands of years ago, to be there in the future.”

Click here to visit FT.com

Click here to visit FT.com

Rock art is one of the earliest forms of artistic expression and emerged in different parts of the world over 50,000 years ago. In Northumberland in Northern England, the rock art, which is between 6000 and 4000 years old, is mostly found on sandstone and the decoration is usually defined by cup-like features or complex patterns of cups, rings and grooves.

The team, working with Dr Patricia Warke at Queen’s University, Belfast, studied 18 panels at locations across Northumberland. They first assessed the actual condition of the rock art panels and then compared it with 27 geochemical and physical factors such as soil moisture, salinity, pH levels and height.

They found two factors were closely related to greater stone deterioration, the height of a panel and the level of exchangeable cations (ions) in the local soils.
The team is now developing a toolkit for landowners and managers to provide guidance on identifying and protecting rock art which is most at risk.

Lead author Dr Myra Giesen from the ICCHS said: “Urgent attention is needed to identify those most at risk so the rock art can be saved and preventative steps can be taken, such as improving drainage around the panels. We are developing a toolkit so landowners can do this themselves. This is really important as they are the first line of defence.”

Giesen also indicated: “We are also carrying out further research in other locations in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to understand how rock art created on other stones may be affected.”

Notes to editors

• The  paper: Condition assessment and preservation of open-air rock art panels during climate change can be found here.

published on: 14th March 2013

Professor Peter Stone marks the invasion of Iraq

Peter Stone, Head of the School of Arts and Cultures, is speaking about the importance of preserving cultural Prof Peter Stoneheritage in conflict zones to mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

The University is linking up with the Collections Trust to host an evening reception and lecture on Monday 18 March 2013 at the Society of Antiquaries in London, which will be followed by a day school the following weekend to discuss the issues raised.

Cultural Property Protection – ten years after the invasion of Iraq 

By Professor Peter Stone OBE FSA MIFA

The world reacted in horror at the looting of the National Museum that followed the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the Coalition led by the USA and UK. In the months leading up to the invasion archaeologists from around the world had done all in their power to encourage the Coalition to take every effort to protect Iraq’s archaeological sites and museums. Sadly these pleas were unsuccessful and museums, archaeological sites, libraries, archives, and art galleries were all looted with thousands of objects being lost to the trade in illicit antiquities. While the military and their political masters could, and should, have done more, part of the blame for this looting and destruction must lie with the cultural sector that had allowed a close and successful relationship with the military, forged during the Second World War, to wither on the vine.
This lecture will focus on activity since 2003 and will chart the efforts of cultural heritage experts who have been working with the military and other agencies to put in place better protection for cultural property during conflict. It will touch on work carried out with respect to recent events in Libya, Mali and Syria and on a growing acceptance by the military that cultural property protection is a valuable and important aspect of their work. There is, however, much still to be done.

More information about the day school:

The UK National Commission for UNESCO,
Newcastle University and the Collections Trust are pleased to invite you to a Day School on
Cultural Property Protection – ten years after the invasion of Iraq 

Saturday 23 March 2013, 10.00-16.00 (Registration from 9.30)

To be held at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 


Chair Peter Stone, Newcastle University & UK National Committee of the Blue Shield

[1] “Cradle of Civilisation”: Why Iraqi cultural heritage matters (Augusta McMahon, University of Cambridge)
[2] The Iraq National Museum and cultural property protection in 2013 (Dr Lamia al-Gailani Werr)
[3] The British Museum’s involvement in Iraq 2003 – 2013 (John Curtis, British Museum)
[4] The trade in illicit antiquities – Iraq a case study (Dr Neil Brodie, University of Glasgow)


Chair Sue Davies, UK National Commission for UNESCO

[5] The Monuments Men. Lessons learned in the Second World War (but then forgotten) (Dr Nigel Pollard, Swansea University)
[6] Cultural Protection Awareness on the UK Defence Training Estate (Richard Osgood, Defence Infrastructure Organisation)
[7] Iraq is not alone…the situation in Syria in 2013 (Emma Cunliffe,   Durham University)
[8] Cultural Property Protection – ten years after the invasion of Iraq (Peter Stone, Newcastle University)

Registration in advance is essential.

Tickets (including tea and coffee on arrival and lunch) are £10.00 each. Tickets can be purchased on the day or online. Please register at


For further information please contact: peter.stone@ncl.ac.uk

Professor Peter Stone given two top awards

Professor Peter Stone has just been given two top awards by the World Archaeological Congress (WAC). He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement and the Peter Ucko Memorial Awards by HRH Prince Al Hassan Bin Tal of Jordan.

The Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Archaeological Congress[1] (WAC) recognised his contribution to the WAC and his exceptional work with respect to the educational use of archaeology through his published research and training initiatives. The Committee recognised, in particular, Peter’s unique contribution to WAC and world archaeology through his work since 1984, when he was part of the organising team for WAC-1 in Southampton UK, until he formally stepped down as honorary Chief Executive Officer in 2008. During this period Peter helped steer WAC through its difficult formative period to become a major international organisation. The award also acknowledged his exceptional work with respect to the educational use of archaeology through his published research and training initiatives.

The Peter Ucko Memorial Award is presented to an individual, at whatever stage of their career, and whether or not they have followed a traditional academic path, who has made a significant contribution to archaeology as envisaged by the World Archaeological Congress. The Award Committee[2] noted that the award was made to Peter Stone “…in recognition of his continuing commitment to WAC, in terms of its ideals, direction and management, since its conception in 1984 and to his commitment to a world archaeology, based on inclusion and respect, that is relevant and meaningful to contemporary and future society”.

Peter Stone receives award

The presentation was made at the 7th World Archaeological Congress, which was held in Dead Sea, Jordan, earlier this year.

Both awards were presented by HRH Prince Al Hassan Bin Tal of Jordan during the 7th World Archaeological Congress held at the Dead Sea, Jordan in January 2013.

[1] The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only representative world-wide body of practising archaeologists. WAC seeks to promote interest in the past in all countries, to encourage the development of regionally-based histories and to foster international academic interaction. Its aims are based on the need to recognise the historical and social roles as well as the political context of archaeology, and the need to make archaeological studies relevant to the wider community.

WAC is an international forum for discussion for anyone who is concerned with the study of the past. WAC holds an international Congress every four years to promote: the exchange of results from archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and support of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.  http://www.worldarchaeologicalcongress.org/

[2] The members of the Memorial Committee are George Abungu (Kenya), Cressida Fforde (Australia), Bayo Folorunso (Nigeria), Jane Hubert (UK), Robert Layton (UK), Arek Marciniack (Poland), Lyndon Ormond-Parker (Indigenous Representative), Gustavo Politis (Argentina), Claire Smith (Australia) and Larry Zimmerman (USA).

For more information about Peter, please visit http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sacs/staff/profile/peter.stone