Festive Felicitations

  • Post last modified:December 21, 2023
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Collage by Fran Mahon, inspired by the 1970s/80s Kings Manor discos by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality 

Wishing you a joyful Christmas/Hannukah/Winter Solstice for 2023! This calendar year has been a formative one at Heritage for Global Challenges. We have expanded our staffing and our areas of research, and we are moving into areas of practice and investigation that challenge the boundaries of heritage in novel and exciting ways.

The centre had a new intake of fantastic PhD students, including: Ben Davenport, whose research is concerned with the ‘work’ food does in society and the ways European migrants to the UK use food in the maintenance and negotiation of multiple identities and senses of belonging; Niamh Malone, who will work with objects within the Thackeray Museum of Medicine in Leeds collection to understand the potential they hold for exploring and teaching disabled stories; Owen Hurcum, whose research investigates how archaeology is being (ab)used in discussions around rights and equalities for transgender individuals as well as investigating identities in the past that do not fall within the modern West’s notion of cisgender men and women (You can read more about the type of Transgender Archaeology that Owen doesn’t do in their blog post ‘Acceptance Wasn’t Built in a Day’); Fran Mahon, who made the collage at the top of this blog post, and whose PhD is concerned with York’s colonial maritime past as marked and told by its rivers Foss and Ouse; and Jianing Wang, who will be researching the ways maritime heritage is embedded in contemporary social processes across China’s coastal regions by working work with port communities along the Chinese coast.

They join existing HGC PhD researchers: Anoj Khamal, whose work revolves around heritage-science debates for ensuring water justice for indigenous “Newa” community in Kathmandu Valley; Sree Subramanian, a former design architect who is placing British colonial heritage at the centre of contemporary debates by asking how that history is understood, interpreted, repurposed, and resisted in the context two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Mountain Railways of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (India); and Melissa Thomas, whose research explores how experiences of exclusion, inclusion and precarity impact relationships with heritage through the lens of current and former fishing communities in the Shetland Islands.

We also had two new postdoctoral researchers join us, Mariana Pinto Leitão Pereira and Kaajal Modi. Mariana is from the Portuguese-descendant community of Macau (SAR of China), and is a heritage researcher interested in the processes, uses and temporalities of heritage in migration and diaspora settings. Kaajal is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher working through creative practices to explore how making in collaboration with diverse communities (human, microbial and otherwise) can be a way to recover climate heritages in ways that open up new speculations on how we might live in the future. Kaajal and Mariana are both interested in how climate, migration and heritage intersect, and will be working on some solo and collaborative projects that explore these ideas. They are particularly interested in how we inherit, care for and take forward ecological landscapes, and who is responsible for and complicit within present-day heritage infrastructures. You can read their collaborative blog post on Climate Justice and heritage here.

Former Centre Administrator Scarlet Wood moved on to a full-time post at York St John, where we wish her well, and we were joined by the brilliant Lisa Quinn who has stepped into the role with aplomb. Lisa previously worked as an administrator for the SPACES project at the University of York, and brings many years of experience in primary care management and project work with her. 

2024 is shaping up to be an equally busy one: alongside the research areas we are building, we will be hosting the Heritage for Global Challenges Workshop in the Summer. We will also continue to build our network of researchers and practitioners in heritage (broadly defined) who are addressing present day global challenges. Please do get in touch if you would like to connect on any of these areas. 

See you in the New Year! 

Warm wishes, 
Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre

December 2023

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