Heritage Strategy Group

Professor Henry French
Professor of Social History


Professor French is the Chair of the Heritage Strategy Group. His academic interests cover economic, social, and cultural and gender history in Britain, 1600-1900. His expertise includes extensive experience of researching in local and regional archives, and collaborating with partner organisations, particularly in the South West. Collaborations include: the Poltimore Estate Research Group; Dorset Heritage Centre; Powderham Castle; Southwest Heritage Trust; Devon History Society; Southwest Regional Library Service; Exmoor National Park.

Dr Bryony Onciul
Senior Lecturer in Public History


Dr Onciul's research embodies public history, indigenising and decolonising museology, post-colonial narratives, difficult histories, identity and performance, understanding place and environment, the effects of climate change on heritage management, repatriation, apologies, truth, reconciliation and the power and politics of representation. Dr Onciul is Chair and Founder of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies for the UK, and a member of the AHRC. Collaborations include: Aberystwyth University; University of Birmingham; Monash University; The National Library of Wales; National Welsh College; Cornish Audio Visual Archives; National Trust; Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS).

Professor James Clark
Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer, Professor of History


Professor Clark's research explores the period between the Black Death and the Break with Rome, including themes of religion, intellectual and cultural life. His approach to research is informed by historical sources and methods, as well as archival, literary, artistic and material culture. As part of this exploration, he has worked closely with TV and radio on heritage features. Collaborations include: BBC; Channel 4; ITV; Powderham Castle; University of Illinois; Royal Historical Society.

Dr John P. Cooper
Senior Lecturer in Arabic Studies and Islamic Material Culture


Dr Cooper’s research interests address the maritime cultures of the Arab-Islamic world from archaeological, textual and ethnographic perspectives, extending from late Antiquity to the present day. Collaborations include: National Museum of Qatar; Golden Web Foundation; University of Southampton; Nautical Archaeology Society.

Dr Nicola Thomas
Associate Professor in Cultural Historical Geography


Dr Thomas’s research has developed along several strands, united by her interests in biographical approaches, including: cultural and humanities perspectives on the creative economy; post-colonial geographies of gender, race and empire; histories of geography and science; gendered labour practices and career progression in higher education, and equality in the workplace. Collaborations include: the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site; Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen; Devon Guild of Craftsmen; Crafts Council; Leach Pottery; Porthcurno Telegraph Museum; Arts for Health Cornwall; Imperial War Museum; Craftspace.

Professor Andi Smart 
Professor of Operations & Process Management, Director of Centre for Innovation and Service Research


Professor Smart’s research explores design and improvement of operational systems, business models in the mobile payments ecosystem, the optimisation of maintenance activities for offshore wind farms, and the improvement of patient experience in healthcare systems. Collaborations include: European Operations Management Association; Virgin Media; Helsinki University of Technology (HUT); GKN Westland Aerospace; Nokia; Rural Payments Agency; DEFRA; PWC; Deloitte; Gartner Consulting.

Caitlin DeSilvey
Associate Professor of Cultural Geography


Dr DeSilvey’s research explores the cultural significance of material change, using visual imagery and storytelling to engage people in imagining changing environments and places. She is also interested in how things age over time, and in the value of repair and mending skills to extend the lives of worn objects and encourage more sustainable use of resources. Collaborations include: Centre for Advanced Study, Oslo; Arvor Project; Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities.

Other academics working in heritage