Social Sciences Engagement Fellowship supports collaboration between Oxford researchers and English Heritage for sustainable conservation

Researchers from Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment embark on a new, collaborative partnership with English Heritage

Over the next four months, Dr Martin Michette of the Oxford Resilient Buildings and Landscapes Laboratory (OxRBL) will work closely with English Heritage to co-develop and pilot a framework of collaborative research and knowledge exchange activities to support a shared vision for sustainable conservation, thanks to support from the Social Sciences Engagement Fellowships scheme.

Responsible for the care and conservation of more than 400 of England’s most significant historic buildings, monuments and sites, English Heritage devised a new approach to conservation through its ‘Sustainable Conservation and Asset Management Plan’ (SCAMP) in 2019. The strategy constitutes an evidence-based approach to support and inform priorities for major financial investment in conservation, focusing on the work necessary for English Heritage to maintain their properties in sustainable condition.

The Oxford Resilient Buildings and Landscapes Laboratory (OxRBL), led by Professor Heather Viles in Oxford's School of Geography and the Environment, has extensive research experience in heritage conservation, with a particular focus on enhancing the resilience of cultural heritage sites through finding ways to work more effectively with people and nature.

Aiming to identify synergies between OxRBL research expertise and the research needs of English Heritage, and to develop a shared understanding of priority areas for Sustainable Conservation research, the Fellowship will bring together researchers and English Heritage partners to co-design a research agenda that will underpin and support SCAMP. The partnership will also develop a co-designed roadmap for future research collaboration on sustainable conservation to ensure mutual benefit, building staff capacity within both English Heritage and at Oxford.

Dr Martin Michette is pictured with a river and green field in the background

'I'm very excited by this opportunity to build on the vital collaboration between OxRBL and English Heritage,' says Dr Michette. 'Important heritage sites across the country are increasingly vulnerable to rapid environmental change. We need to develop sustainable conservation strategies which can respond to these changes. This requires strong partnership between independent research groups and the institutions caring for heritage sites, to build both the scientific and the practical frameworks necessary for these strategies. During this engagement fellowship, we will establish the fundamentals for an ongoing collaborative framework, such as common language and key focus areas.'


About Social Sciences Engagement Fellowships

The Social Sciences Engagement Fellowships scheme enables social sciences researchers to spend funded time embedded with or visiting non-academic partners, or for practitioners from those organisations to spend time embedded with a team/department at Oxford. Funding is available to support staff time to enable the exchange of learning, ideas, and experiences with partners to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes, impacts and ongoing partnerships.

Find out more and apply for a Social Sciences Engagement Fellowship