Since the 1960s, collaboration with local societies and heritage organisations has underpinned archaeological research and fieldwork at Durham. Today we engage with a wide variety of international users from commercial organizations, print and broadcast media, national, international and statutory heritage bodies and museums, to law enforcement agencies, the health sector, National Parks, tourism and community groups. With collaborations underway with over 27 external agencies across four continents, our approach to impact is now more far reaching than ever before. The geographical range and diversity of our projects continues to grow internationally and we are currently engaged in working relationships with the Kuwait government, the Global Heritage Fund, the Department of Antiquities in Libya, Historic Scotland and the National Trust.
Co-production involves staff directly developing research with organisations. This has led to improved knowledge and management of the historic environment. Collaborative research studentships with English Heritage and the British Museum, the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford) and the Portable Antiquities Scheme, for example, have embedded impact activity with non-HEI partners across our postgraduate community.
Our research also reaches beyond traditional users and impacts on the professional and commercial sectors. In Nepal, for example, research by Robin Coningham has led to the protection and improved management of the World Heritage Site of Lumbini and neighbouring places of cultural importance. In a very different field, Charlotte Roberts has been influential in shaping professional and commercial guidelines and policies with regard to the curation and handling of human remains, both in the UK and overseas. Rebecca Gowland’s work on human identity and identification, meanwhile, is informing police training in corpse recovery and identification through an accredited continuing professional development course while Anna Leone is delivering key skills training to Libyan archaeologists, helping them reframe their approach to post-Roman archaeology in the hinterlands of major Roman urban settlements.
As a next step, our aim is to extend and enhance the range, breadth and depth of our current impact by engaging new sectors. We will be giving priority to research that expands knowledge and improves the protection and management of World Heritage and heritage under threat and we are committed to developing an agenda for Museum engagement, in the region and beyond, using our research to enhance and support exhibitions and public activities with a wide reach. Building on our experience locally, we will create skills training opportunities on our overseas projects in Libya and Egypt, enabling local heritage workers to develop knowledge of archaeology and more effectively manage and protect the monuments in their care. Close engagement with the education sector is also planned, with new opportunities on stream for working with local schools and with exam boards to help define the content of GCSE and A-Level syllabuses.