A detail of plaster decoration in vibrant yellow and white, including a row of three mythical figures in an art deco style.
Detail of decoration at Northwick Cinema, Worcester. © Historic England Archive. Image reference DP005930.
Detail of decoration at Northwick Cinema, Worcester. © Historic England Archive. Image reference DP005930.

Introduction to Issue 24

John Cattell, our National Head of Research, introduces Issue 24 of Historic England research magazine focusing on Historic England’s growing number of externally-funded research partnerships. 

This issue provides a snapshot of the range of collaborative heritage projects that support our corporate priorities and those of the heritage sector. Much of this research has become possible since we were awarded Independent Research Organisation status in 2017.

Here we explain what having that status means for the development of our research activities and the kinds of partnerships, programmes and projects that have resulted. These extend from multi-million pound projects such as 'Unpath’d Waters' to projects like 'The Matrix' that looks at archaeological practice to provide guidance for the sector through to technical conservation projects like the one on fibrous plaster we have undertaken with the University of Bath.

We also look at the support we provide to PhD researchers hosted with partner universities through our collaborative doctoral partnerships scheme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. These partnerships allow us to help shape research that underpins our work whilst introducing researchers to our ways of working as part of their career development. We hear from the students about their research that extends from technical conservation and heritage science through to data on our historic high streets as well as the fruits of research into the collections of the Historic England Archive.

Apprenticeships offer another route into a career in heritage as our research co-ordinator apprentice explains.

Our research is not just limited to England as shown by the 'Outreach to Ownership Project', which is partnership with Historic Environment Scotland. Some of the projects we are involved in have a European dimension: such as a project on phytoliths funded by the science hub for the European Science Cloud.

There are many other emerging opportunities for fruitful external research collaborations and we have proposals in development with a wide range of partners and research funders.

Download issue 24 as a PDF magazine