Materiality, authenticity and value in the historic environment: a study of the effects of material transformation and scientific intervention

John Hughes, Sian Jones, Thomas Yarrow

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

It is widely recognized that the historic environment provides a source of cultural enrichment, and enhances people's quality of life and well-being. However, it also undergoes cycles of material transformation, of decay and renewal, which inform the meanings and values associated with it. Indeed, these changes contribute to the experience of authenticity. In this interdisciplinary project we have used methods from the arts and humanities, including interviews and forms of participant observation, to examine the kinds of value attached to deterioration and decay in historic buildings. In a field where preservation is foregrounded, questions that explore the apparently oppositional values of deterioration and decay aim to enrich and inform conservation discourse. Specifically, we ask how processes of deterioration and decay inform the cultural values attached to historic buildings, when and why we use science-based interventions to retard or arrest these processes and explore how these interventions impact on perceptions of authenticity and value. The impact of this project is built into its design and conduct, and puts conversations with practitioners at the heart of the field of enquiry. It is oriented toward providing knowledge and understanding that will inform the application of heritage science to problems of material degradation and decay.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustaining the Impact of UK Science and Heritage Research - AHRC/EPSRC Science & Heritage Programme
Subtitle of host publicationContributions to the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme Conference 29-30 October 2013
EditorsMay Cassar, Debbie Williams
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherUniversity College London
Pages27-28
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2014
EventSustaining the Impact of UK Science and Heritage Research. AHRC/EPSRC Scince and Heritgae Programme - Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London , United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Oct 201430 Oct 2014

Conference

ConferenceSustaining the Impact of UK Science and Heritage Research. AHRC/EPSRC Scince and Heritgae Programme
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period29/10/1430/10/14

Keywords

  • Heritage
  • Heritage Science
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Authenticity
  • Materiality
  • Value
  • Built heritage
  • Built cultural heritage

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