Founded over 30 years ago, the 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, the Institute is a partnership between one of Britain’s leading universities and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which administers the largest independent museum in Europe and the World Heritage Site of the Ironbridge Gorge. Both organisations share a commitment to quality research, innovative education, creativity and engagement with the international heritage sector and the wider public.
Heritage, as a way in 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. IIICH is committed to advancing our 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 changes, 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.
Our aims are:
- To provide a welcoming intellectual home and a creative environment for the critical, trans-disciplinary study of cultural heritage which offers new, challenging and trans-national perspectives on the ways in which tangible and intangible heritage is understood, represented, managed and mobilised in different cultures and societies;
- To undertake quality research that is policy relevant and theoretically challenging and to actively engage with the international academic and policy communities and the heritage / heritage-related sectors;
- To deliver research informed, high quality, postgraduate education that links theoretical understanding with practice and relevance;
- To facilitate opportunities for cross-disciplinary and trans-international exchange on all aspects of heritage via conferences, workshops and seminars.
Our recent international conferences: