Preserving Our Past

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					                             Preserving Our Past

                            A Call for Participants
 A facilitated event to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst the
                   historic environment research community.

                      Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, NEC,
                             Birmingham, 29 March 2006

    Deadline for Expressions of Interest: 15 February 2006

The UK‟s historic environment is a great national resource. We have a rich legacy of
medieval churches, prehistoric monuments and country houses. And we mustn‟t forget
that the historic environment is more than just bricks and mortar; it encompasses
landscapes and any other physical survivals of our past.

The historic environment is a major contributor to the UK economy, attracting millions of
tourists to our shores each year. It underpins a huge number of jobs, in rural and
deprived communities as well as in traditional economic centres. We therefore need to
ensure that our historic environment is properly preserved, creating places where people
want to live and work. Our rich past needs to be made a vital and living part of our

The complex interplay of cultural, economic and physical forces that make up the historic
environment, together with the diversity and fragmentation of the relevant research
disciplines, means that successfully addressing a range of issues, for example, the
impact of climate change, sustainable communities, engaging and developing diverse
audiences requires cross-disciplinary effort.

This is a call for Expressions of Interest from anyone who would like to attend a
facilitated workshop on 29 March 2006. The aim of the workshop will be to encourage
cross-discipline collaboration among the historic environment research community. The
event will lead to the formation of up to 5 research clusters in cross-cutting themes to be
agreed during the event. Each cluster will be funded for one year to build
interdisciplinary research communities. Only those people attending the workshop
will be eligible to apply for research cluster funding as the principal
investigator. The remit of the workshop will include the arts, humanities, engineering,
physical sciences, economics, social sciences and natural environment research.

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research
Council (ESRC), Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), and Natural
Environment Research Council (NERC), working with English Heritage, have identified a
need to build effective working relationships across discipline barriers in the historic
environment research community. In addition, new relationships between academic
researchers and those working in the creative, cultural and heritage sectors need to be
developed to meet the needs of the historic environment. This will improve the health of
the research base, and lead to better exploitation of results.

There have been initiatives in the past, such as the EPSRC, in collaboration with the UK
Climate Impacts Programme, funding on Building Knowledge for a Changing Climate and
NERC‟s Environmental Factors in the Chronology of Human Evolution and Dispersal
(EFCHED) programme. The opportunity has now arisen for a more concerted and
coordinated approach to these issues.

October 2005 saw the launch of the English Heritage Research Strategy, “Discovering
the Past, Shaping the Future”. Plus, a UK-wide framework for policy research has been
published by the UK Historic Environment Research Group (UKHERG) which brings
together organisations from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales involved in
commissioning socio-economic policy research on the historic environment.

In order to encourage and facilitate such interactions AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, and NERC in
partnership with English Heritage are holding a workshop to bring together
representatives from the breadth of academic disciplines covered by these research
councils and industrial/practitioner communities. At the event issue-focussed themes
will be identified, discussed and refined until 5 broad themes that historic environment
research should address are agreed upon.

Who should attend this event?
This is an opportunity to share ideas and meet future collaborators. Academics can
expect to meet others involved in research in the historic environment from a diverse
range of fields. They will learn the issues of critical importance for practitioners and
through the research clusters can work up research ideas based on this information.
Practitioners will have the opportunity to influence the direction of future academic
research and to make contact with top UK academic expertise in historic environment

Attendees at the event are expected to be a mix of academics from the following fields;
arts, humanities, engineering, physical sciences, economics, social science and natural
environment research, as well as practitioners and representatives from organisations
such as English Heritage.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate their experience of historic environment
research, as well as their enthusiasm for enhancing collaboration across disciplinary

Workshop Event
The workshop is designed to encourage discussion between participants who have not
worked together before. The discussion will highlight areas of common interest between
participants. Together you will identify research themes where collaboration would be
most beneficial for the historic environment. Participants will be able to sign up for
areas they want to explore further and research cluster collaborators will be identified.

The workshop will run from 10am – 5pm on 29 March 2006. Through the facilitated
sessions you will have the opportunity to contribute to the identification of issue-based
themes and interact with a large number of participants, learning and sharing ideas. The
whole event will be designed to maximise your networking opportunities.

AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, NERC and English Heritage envisage that up to 5 research clusters,
each of one year duration, will be funded as a result of this workshop. Research
clusters must be multi/interdisciplinary, involving collaboration across traditional
Research Council boundaries. The cluster proposals will be subject to peer review
assessment. Additional guidance on the preparation of proposals will be provided
following the workshop. The deadline for submission of research cluster proposals will
be 31st May 2006. Only those people attending the workshop will be eligible to
apply for research cluster funding as principal investigator. Participation in the
resulting research cluster activities will be open to all.

If any research ideas are generated during the workshop, participants are free to apply
for funding to the relevant research council(s) in the normal way.

How to Apply
Applications for this event are invited from individuals who wish to be involved in the
subsequent research clusters. Approximately 80 participants will be identified to take
part in the workshop from the Expressions of Interest received by Wednesday 15
February. A broad spread of academics from the following fields; arts, humanities,
engineering, physical sciences, economics, social science and natural environment
research, as well as practitioners are needed to ensure the event is a success. This will
be taken account of in the selection process and may result in only one representative
from each organisation/department/research group being invited.

Applicants should complete the two page Expression of Interest Form (see appendix).
The deadline for applications is Wednesday 15 February 2006. Applications should be
submitted by e-mail to Please include „Preserving Our
Past‟ in the subject field. You will be informed of your place at the event by the end of

Contact Information
Any enquiries regarding this call should be addressed to:

Katie Daniel, Associate Programme Manager, EPSRC;
Tel: 01793 444115

Deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest            15 February 2006
Notification of place at event                                End of February
Date of Workshop                                              29 March 2006

                      Appendix: Preserving Our Past
A facilitated event to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration amongst the
historic environment research community.

                               Expression of Interest Form1

I would like to attend the “Preserving Our Past” workshop on 29 March 2006.

Name                                                       Tel:

Department,                                                Fax:
Division or
University/                                                Email:


Town / City                                                Post
I consider myself to be an: (please
specify area of research e.g.
physicist or historian)

Please take the time to answer the following questions. Your answers will help selection
of a range of participants and will allow AHRC, ESRC, EPSRC, NERC and English Heritage
to design the most suitable event.

Please describe your current/past
research into the historic

 In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, the personal data provided on this form will be
processed by EPSRC, and may be held on computerised databases and/or manual files until after the
What would you gain by
involvement in a cross-disciplinary
research cluster on the historic

What do you believe are the key
issues that research into the
historic environment should

Please do not exceed the 2 page limit for this form, minimum 10 point font size and send
completed form by email to by 15 February 2006.