Heritage & Creativity

Our Heritage & Creativity research shines a spotlight on the past and reflects on the value of arts and humanities research to the people of today. Focusing on contemporary global challenges, we promote public debate on issues such as migration and diaspora, health and (dis)ability, and the role of heritage and the creative industries in promoting inclusion and diversity. We engage with Reading’s world-class museums, archives and collections and foster innovative collaborations and partnerships with the public, industry, government, NGOs and other researchers to contribute to social diversity and wellbeing, economic growth and creative enterprise.

Volunteers shed light on modernist publishing

The public have joined forces with academics and archivists to transcribe letters written between twentieth century book publishers and authors from The Hogarth Press publishing house, created by Virginia and...Read More >

A million explore the world of Stonehenge

The British Museum’s World of Stonehenge exhibition, co-curated by a Reading archaeologist, has given a million people a window into the lives of prehistoric people, through artefacts, soundscapes and events....Read More >

Changing perceptions of disability through film

A project designed to bring the work of experimental filmmaker Stephen Dwoskin to new audiences online is changing attitudes towards disability, accessibility, and art. With cinemas and galleries across the...Read More >

We Make Film: filmmaking, creativity and disability in urban India

An 80-minute feature documentary produced by Reading’s Dr Shweta Ghosh as part of her practice-led research is being used to highlight the urgent need for more inclusive and accessible filmmaking...Read More >

Using cultural heritage to empower women and alleviate poverty in Jordan

An archaeologist from Reading is working with Jordanian partners to develop a new business in Faynan, southern Jordan, that is owned and managed by local Bedouin women to generate income...Read More >

Destigmatising self-injury through art

Through a series of participant-led art workshops, Reading researchers are raising important questions about how we understand and talk about self-injury. Seventeenth-century representations of self-injury in literature and art suggest...Read More >

Designing fonts for a global audience

By transforming the approach to digital font design for ‘non-Latin’ scripts, researchers at the University of Reading are improving the reading experience of millions of people and promoting understanding of…Read More >

Exploring Brazil’s artistic and political history through cinema

In the early 1990s, Brazilian film production had effectively shut down. Just a few years later it had recovered to become the burgeoning industry it is today. Professor Lúcia Nagib’s...Read More >

Protecting and exhibiting Iraq’s cultural heritage

Iraq’s invaluable heritage assets have been subject to a range of negative impacts including looting and theft. Following the US/UK-led invasion in April 2003, thousands of valuable artefacts were looted…Read More >

Revealing Glastonbury Abbey’s sacred heritage

Researchers at the University of Reading are transforming our understanding of one of the most culturally significant sacred heritage sites in England, by analysing and interpreting a previously unpublished archive...Read More >

Exploring Spain’s hidden cultural heritage

Research at the University of Reading into Valladolid’s unsung cultural history is changing the way the city is perceived by its inhabitants and visitors alike. For years, the Spanish city…Read More >

Inspiring students through hands-on Roman school experience

The Reading Ancient Schoolroom brings to life research findings about ancient society and their approach to learning, enabling modern students to find out first-hand what an ancient school was like….Read More >

Bringing ancient Rome to life

A 3D computer model developed at the University of Reading is being used across the education, heritage and entertainment sectors to help audiences understand, explore and enjoy the architecture and...Read More >

Nancy Astor MP: from commemoration to activism

By encouraging recognition and discussion of the UK’s first female MP to sit in the House of Commons, researchers at the University of Reading are challenging outdated narratives about the…Read More >

Using design to spread the word about superbugs

A Reading Typography professor has brought together architects, designers and pharmacists to harness the power of design in tackling the global problem of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics have saved millions of…Read More >

Changing the conversation: tackling hate speech in Italy

A combination of research, consultancy and public engagement by the University of Reading is revolutionising attitudes towards hate speech in Italy and beyond. The prevalence of hate speech towards minority...Read More >

Never mind the barriers: co-curating Punk histories

Researchers at the University of Reading are pioneering a participatory approach to social history to break down the barriers between regional punk communities and the ‘establishment’ of academia. Mainstream celebrations...Read More >

Inspiring engagement with the arts in Reading

A project led by researchers at the University of Reading is taking art ‘off the wall’ and into the community, inspiring the citizens of Reading to discover, explore and engage...Read More >

Language for resilience: helping refugees process trauma

Research from the University of Reading on how the use of ‘home languages’ can help refugees process and recover from trauma is influencing language teaching in classrooms across the world....Read More >

Safeguarding the legacy of literature

Pioneering work from the University of Reading on literary archive management is helping to protect and promote cultural heritage around the world. Despite their richness and diversity, literary archives have…Read More >

Ways of being Cuban: Promoting rural identity

A unique project developed by researchers at the University of Reading is celebrating and promoting the cultural and social identities of rural communities in Cuba. Rural development in Cuba has...Read More >

Uncovering museums’ hidden stories

Researchers from the University of Reading are exploring creative approaches to public engagement with previously hard-to-reach archival and museum collections. Some historical materials are easier to curate and display than...Read More >

Inspired by Beckett: New creativity from the archive

A new fellowship programme at the University of Reading highlights the continued relevance of the work of Samuel Beckett and the insights that can be gained from the engagement by...Read More >

Widening access to cultural collections

A project based on research at the University of Reading is helping to make museum and heritage collections more inclusive and accessible, while facilitating valuable work experience and employment opportunities...Read More >

Shaping law and policy on medical conscience

A Reading philosophy professor has shaped international law and policy for healthcare workers who are put under pressure to act against their ethical or religious principles. Wartime conscientious objectors, the…Read More >

Fresh thinking on ethical business behaviour

Philosophy professors at the University of Reading are providing thought leadership on what businesses owe the societies they serve, shaping ethical business practice and regulation at local and national levels....Read More >

Picturing science for children

Marie Neurath was a designer whose appealing and accessible graphic style helped explain complex science subjects to children in the mid-twentieth century. Through an exhibition and teaching resources, Sue Walker…Read More >

Art that activates

Reading International forged links between artists, communities and venues to create contemporary artworks that spark debate on local and global issues. Reaching over 45,000 people in three years, it is…Read More >

Astor100: Challenging the male narrative in Parliament

Astor100, curated by Dr Jacqui Turner, commemorates a hundred years of women in Parliament and is influencing contemporary debate on attitudes to women in politics today. Through public lectures, exhibitions…Read More >

Using design against drug-resistant infection

Design thinking, a world-leading archive, and cross-disciplinary collaboration are inspiring public health communication in the UK and Africa. Professor Sue Walker has led a team of design, architecture, and pharmacy...Read More >

Supporting refugees through language learning (2019)

Increasing numbers of people are seeking refuge from conflict and poverty. But many go on to build happy, resilient lives in new communities. Dr Tony Capstick, a linguist who’s worked…Read More >

Confronting hate speech (2019)

Tackling hate speech online and elsewhere is a priority for educators and policymakers alike. Dr Federico Faloppa, Associate Professor of Italian Studies and Linguistics, is determined to challenge prejudice and...Read More >

Tropicalia and beyond: Dialogues in Brazilian film history

The Brazilian Tropicália movement of the 1960s is traditionally associated with music and the visual arts, but Dr Stefan Solomon’s research has highlighted the significance of cinema in the mix….Read More >

Monsters and the monstrous

What is a monster? For centuries science has sought to understand the concept, art has sought to portray it, and popular entertainment has sought to exploit it. Inspired by the…Read More >

Vote 100

In 2018 the UK commemorated the centenary of women over 30 getting the vote. With exhibitions, performances, presentations and tea-parties, the celebrations extended well beyond Parliament, and Dr Jacqui Turner,…Read More >

Our country lives: Health, nutrition and rural England

The Museum of English Rural Life has been an on-campus fixture at Reading since the 1950s. In latter years, however, it had become just that – a fixture. In order…Read More >

Punk in the East (2017)

Punk in the East is a history project with a difference. Not only does it document the history of punk in Norwich from 1976 to 1984, it does so ‘from...Read More >

Dig deep

The Reading Young Archaeologists’ Club (Reading YAC) launched in January 2016 – and in just 18 months has already had a tangible impact on participants and researchers alike. Set up…Read More >

A feel for heritage (2017)

Sensory Objects started in 2012 as a three-year AHRC-funded project to make museums more inclusive by listening to, and acting on, research by people with learning disabilities. Led by associate…Read More >

Helping Iraq’s heritage

Thanks to the work of Professor Roger Matthews, the rich cultural heritage of Iraq – the world’s cradle of civilisation – is being helped with the protection it needs to…Read More >

Virtual Rome (2017)

Ancient Rome has come alive thanks to the work of Dr Matthew Nicholls and his creation of the world’s most detailed digital model of the ‘Eternal City’. Virtual Rome, a…Read More >

War Child: Meditating on an archive

War Child, conceived by Dr Teresa Murjas of the department of Film, Theatre and Television, is a digital project about the Evacuee Archive held by the Museum of English Rural…Read More >

Social diversity in Roman Britain

A project by Dr Hella Eckardt and colleagues in Archaeology has found that Romano-British populations were much more diverse than previously thought. Using a combination of archaeological techniques, such as isotope analysis...Read More >

Glastonbury Abbey Revealed (2018)

A research partnership has harnessed archaeological archives to understand and conserve Glastonbury Abbey.

Astor 100

Dr Jacqui Turner’s Astor100 Project provides a focus for Nancy Astor’s achievements as the first female MP to take her seat in UK Parliament.

Virtual Rome (2018)

Virtual Rome: Bringing the Eternal City to life Dr Matthew Nicholls’ fascination with the Roman Empire began when he was just eight years old. Little did he know that his…Read More >

Saving cultural heritage

Professor Roger Matthews and Dr Wendy Matthews are working to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Iraq – often called the cradle of civilisation.

Archiving Anarchy (2018)

Punk in the East documents the history of punk in Norwich from 1976 to 1984 – yet does so ‘from below’ by enabling punks from Norwich to collate, archive and produce their own social and cultural history.

Diverse Roman Britain (2018)

A project exploring the archaeology of Roman Britain has discovered that it was a place of ethnic diversity.