What We Do

The AHRC Heritage Priority Area team – led by Heritage Leadership Fellow Professor Rodney Harrison, and based at the UCL Institute of Archaeology – works with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC),  the heritage research community, and heritage partner organisations, to draw together and stimulate the development of a wide range of research across the arts and humanities that makes an important contribution to understanding heritage. We also aim to support the interconnections between research, policy and practice, both in the UK and internationally.

We take on an expansive view of heritage, and aim to encourage and stimulate work that highlights intersections between natural and cultural heritage, and key global challenges.

​We are currently working with AHRC to develop a programme of events and activities which will help us to address these aims. We have our own specific set of research themes which we aim to engage as part of our research and leadership activities.

Further information about the AHRC’s investments in heritage research, and its Heritage Priority Area Future Research Strategy, is available on the AHRC’s website.

AHRC Heritage Priority Area

In the Human World, the AHRC Strategy (2013-2018), the AHRC committed to further ‘increase its work with organisations such as the UK-wide arts funding bodies, broadcasters and the museums, galleries and libraries sector to promote public understanding and appreciation of the arts, culture and heritage’ (p 24). The AHRC’s Heritage Strategic Area: Future Strategy builds on earlier investments in heritage through establishing Heritage as a Priority Area (alongside Design and Modern Languages) and through its appointment of a Leadership Fellow for Heritage Research.

Our vision of heritage is not so much about the past, but rather one which considers heritage to be about assembling and building futures out of those pasts in the present. We aim to bring different disciplines together to consider how heritage might contribute to key global challenges and use our three years of funding to explore how to better connect academics, practitioners and publics in new, exciting and innovative ways.

The Team


Rodney Harrison

Professor of Heritage Studies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology


Rodney Harrison is Professor of Heritage Studies at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow. He is Principal Investigator of the AHRC-funded Heritage Futures Research Programme; Director of the Heritage Futures Laboratory at UCL; and leads the Work Package on “Theorizing heritage futures in Europe: heritage scenarios” as part of the EC funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie action [MSCA] Doctoral Training Network CHEurope: Critical Heritage Studies and the Future of Europe. He is the founding editor and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, and was a founding executive committee member of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies. He is the (co)author or (co)editor of more than a dozen books and guest edited journal volumes and over 70 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters. In addition to the AHRC his research has been funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund, British Academy, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Australian Research Council, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the European Commission.


Hana Morel

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


Hana Morel is a Post-doctoral Research Associate for the AHRC Heritage Priority Area. She was awarded her PhD from University College London in 2016, in which she explored the development of planning policy and archaeology in global cities and the impact this has on those involved with archaeology and heritage. Her previous roles include: working with policy in higher education as Global BU Researcher (Executive Office) for Bournemouth University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement); archaeologist, researcher and lead for community engagement at Izmit’s Nicomedia Project, Turkey; project manager of the NYC Heritage project at Landmark Preservation Commission, New York; researcher at the American Institute of Archaeology;  co-director at independent publisher Morel Books; and editor-in-chief of the journal Papers from the Institute of Archaeology.

Her research involves exploring the role of heritage critically in international development and its contribution towards addressing global challenges. She is also sits on various heritage and archaeology groups such as APPAG, TAF, RESCUE and RHAG.


Colin Sterling

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


Colin Sterling is a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Working closely with Professor Rodney Harrison, he is currently investigating the implications of posthumanist thinking for the heritage field. Colin’s PhD explored the interrelationship of heritage and photography over the past two centuries, with a focus on two major sites of heritage: Angkor in Cambodia and the town of Famagusta, Cyprus.


Hannah Williams

Executive Assistant


Hannah Williams is Executive Assistant to the AHRC Heritage Priority Area Leadership Fellow. She completed her PhD in medieval history at the University of Manchester, and has worked as Editorial Assistant to the Ecclesiastical History Society and as co-editor on research and publication projects in history based at the University of Oxford. Her recent roles include administration and events organization for the AHRC Heritage Futures Research Programme and for the UCL Centre for Critical Heritage Studies.