About Us

Ironbridge Centre for Heritage (ICH) is a focal point for cross-disciplinary research, postgraduate teaching and policy engagement.

Photo of the Ironbridge World Heritage Site

Our aims are:

  • To provide a welcoming intellectual home and a creative environment for the critical study of heritage which offers new, challenging and trans-national perspectives on the ways in which heritage is understood, represented, managed and mobilised in different cultures and societies
  • To pursue research excellence, policy relevance and to engage with academic and policy communities and the heritage-related sectors
  • To deliver research informed, high quality, postgraduate education that links theoretical understanding with practice and relevance

A unique partnership

In more than 30 years ICH has been working closely with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) which manages the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and ten museums in Shropshire, UK. Both organisations share a commitment to quality research, innovative education, creativity and engagement with the international heritage sector and the wider public. This engagement with one of the UK’s first designated World Heritage sites provides access to experiencing a wide range of heritage management and interpretation practices, which our MA students engage with on annual study visits that also take in a range of other UK-based heritage sites. It has also resulted in several exciting PhD projects.

ICH has an extensive network amongst scholars, policy makers and heritage practitioners both nationally and internationally, which we draw on in our work. For instance, talks at our research seminars and guest lectures on our MA programmes are frequently delivered by experts working for UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, individual World Heritage sites, UNESCO advisory bodies such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Regional Development and Tourism Division of OECD, and the National Trust in the UK, amongst others.

Through our networks ICH is able to offer:

  • A living landscape for research, postgraduate education and knowledge exchange with opportunities to study and engage with, a wide network of experts from the heritage sector
  • 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”

The heritage agenda

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 and indeed international contexts.

ICH is committed to advancing understandings of heritage and the multiple and dynamic relationships it shares with societies and communities, economies and spaces. 

We understand 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 personal and the local, to the level of ‘world’ heritage.