Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) is a focal point for cross-disciplinary research, postgraduate teaching and policy engagement based at the University of Birmingham with offices at Ironbridge Gorge; a World Heritage Site in Shropshire, UK.
The IIICH is a unique partnership formed over thirty years ago between the University of Birmingham and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) which manages the World Heritage Site. The IIICH and IGMT both share a commitment to quality research, innovative education, creativity and engagement with the international heritage sector and the wider public.
Through our partnership with Trust the IIICH is able to offer:
A living landscape for research, postgraduate education and knowledge exchange with opportunities to study and engage with, one the UK’s first designated World Heritage Sites
Access to collections, archives and exhibitions of national and international significance and to the collective expertise of museum and heritage professionals
A gateway to an outstanding global network of researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the field of cultural heritage and related sectors.
Our partnership goes well beyond concern for the industrial heritage which Ironbridge has long been noted for. We are concerned with a research and postgraduate education agenda relating to cultural heritage which is international in scale, comparative in scope, integrative between theory and practice, and creative in terms of generating new thinking and application.
Heritage, as a way by which cultures and societies value, represent and understand the past, is widely recognised not only as an increasingly important resource, which is produced, exhibited and consumed, but also as an essential element in shaping, projecting and challenging identities from the level of the individual to that of the nation state. The IIICH is committed to advancing understandings of cultural heritage and the multiple and dynamic relationships it shares with societies and communities, economies and spaces.
We understand cultural heritage not only as material culture, tangibly present in formalised and structured environments such as museums, galleries and landscapes, but also in intangible ways as in rituals, performances, stories and memories. We seek to better understand the various and complex processes by which heritage is produced and consumed, how it is managed and interpreted and how it is mediated and received, from the local to the level of ‘world’ heritage. Tourism, as a major form of leisure activity is tied closely to the development, interpretation and sustainability of cultural heritage providing a critical lens through which we can understand the contemporary importance of the past.