Research projects in Culture, Heritage and Society


Below is a selection of projects taking place under the theme of Culture, Heritage and Society.

Lead by researchers primarily from the School of Digital, Technologies and Arts, these projects will give you an insight into the wide range of research that takes place, and the impact it has both in our local community and across the globe. 

Adaptive functions in an agent-based model of an economic system

Agent based models, despite a history reaching back to the 1940s, have been recently cited as useful technique for planning economic development, recovering from the COVID pandemic, and simulating the effect of economic crashes. These models offer an insightful alternative to the traditional techniques of mathematical modelling.

Augmented Reality for Holocaust Education: Augmenting the journey of Kindertransport

The purpose of this project is to develop an Augmented Reality Learning Experience for the National Holocaust Centre & Museum that will educate new audiences on the Kindertransport (an operation by the United Kingdom to evacuate Jewish children from German controlled territories just prior to the declaration of war). This project seeks to research how impactful Augmented Reality is at creating long-term memories when compared to traditional learning methods.

You can view the journey being augmented on the website.

Co-collaboration methods in film and archaeology content creation for Holocaust sites

The aim of this project was to apply the Production House film model to a co-created World War Two narrative for mass public dissemination.

Associate Professor Fiona Graham secured Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) funding for the filmed research project to work in collaboration to create visual content, testimonials and produce drone footage with secured access and permits at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

Contracts – on Science, Politics and Nature

The research examines the proposal in the work of Michel Serres that society has been based on the exclusion of nature and that it needs to be re-established on the basis of a new ‘contract’ that includes the natural world. 

Externalising the Archive

Externalising the Archive is a multimedia installation which re-evaluates ‘heritage at risk’ retained at the former Spode Works, Stoke-on-Trent.

Finding Treblinka Project

This ongoing research project aims to use innovative forensic archaeological techniques to investigate the former Nazi extermination and labour camps at Treblinka. Over the last twelve years, the team have devised new methodologies that account for the ethical and religious sensitivities, successfully located mass graves, gas chambers and other buildings, curated new exhibitions, and identified new archival evidence and witness testimonies.

From Troutbeck to Treblinka: Lake District Holocaust Project

The Centre of Archaeology was part of an important new project exploring a unique historical Second World War location with a dramatic link to the Holocaust. Cumbrian based charity Another Space, which produces and manages the Lake District Holocaust Project, received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project involved an archaeological survey and dig at the site of Calgarth Estate, home to three hundred Jewish child Holocaust Survivors on their arrival in the Lake District in 1945.

Heatwork - Audio-Visual Performance and the Potteries

Heatwork is an Arts Council UK funded project bringing together experimental music and video composers alongside local and international musicians. The project aims to widen participation in experimental music and audio-visual artforms, engage with the local community, musicians and industrial partners and foster collaboration, and celebrate and disseminate the cultural heritage of the potteries industry.

How can new narratives involving communities create non-political contexts for World War One?

The aim was to help new generations understand the Battle of Cambrai from a community perspective with exclusive access to the founder of the World War One Mark IV tank D51 and communities in France and worldwide. The objective was to create new narratives using interview and documentary methods to create a film explaining the aftermath of war from the community perspective rather than a political narrative position.

IH-AT UNESCO Church Project (Cyprus)

The aim of the Invisible Heritage - Analysis and Technology (IH-AT) project is to develop a portal for the visualisation, documentation and non-invasive archaeological analysis of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites collectively known as the ‘Painted Churches in the Troodos Region’ in Cyprus – a group of Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches decorated with painted frescoes, considered among the best-preserved examples of religious art of this era.

Living Legacies 1914-18 Digital Centenaries Festival

To mark the centenary of World War One the project was invited by Queen’s University Belfast with funding from AHRC to exhibit filmed research of World War One content. The work was exhibited at the event and the film is now archived as part of the centenary in the Public Records Offices of Northern Ireland.


Local knowledge and media production – from isolation to collaboration

The aim of this project is to initiate and facilitate media production practice among the selected South-Pacific Island community. The project focuses on the importance of local knowledge and its application, with potentially more far-reaching consequences. It also aims to facilitate communication between islands, and, if relevant, support the development of media production curriculums at local educational establishments.

Material Play during COVID19

An examination of the ways in which the material turn in games has been affected by the COVID pandemic, with a focus on boardgaming cultures and Animal Crossing.

Modelling Irrational Agent Beliefs

This project is developing a framework to detect, classify and stop false information diffusion within online social networks. A network model has been created which classifies agents into four types with set characteristics. An information diffusion model has been used to verify the model on both an Artificial network and a Real network.

Packaging House of Cards and The Knick: How talent intermediaries manage the indie-auteur brand to sell premium television.

This project explores the hidden and often overlooked roles of talent managers in selling premium television and the cultural connotations their practices reinforce. It has analysed the roles of production companies Media Rights Capital and Anonymous Content in packaging premium television using David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh’s brands.

Play as a Paratext - the well played convention

This project examines a number of science fiction conventions, and the 'pivot' to online spaces in 2020. It discusses how philosophies of play affect communities with inbuilt behavioural pattern of change and crisis management.

Raising Voices

The Raising Voices project is a project commissioned by VOICES on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission. The project involves Staffordshire University, Expert Citizens CIC, All The Small Things CIC, and, most importantly, the people of Stoke-on-Trent. It aims to make a real difference for people experiencing poverty, by bringing people together, sharing our stories of hardship and working collectively to influence change.

Spike Jonze, Propaganda/Satellite Films and Music Video Work: Becoming an Indie-Auteur

The project explores the hidden and often overlooked roles of talent managers media production and how they contributed to developing Spike Jonze’s reputation as an indie-auteur in music video production. It analysed the role of Propaganda Films, an integrated talent management and media production company, in building Spike Jonze’s brand in music video production.

Taming Your Inner Artist - Recontextualising Practice-based Research

This extensive multi-layered project aims to re-evaluate the current state of creative practice-based research. It examines the status quo of this interdisciplinary, creative way to approach research, thirty-five years on. The ultimate goal of the project is to design a practical toolkit which can provide guidance for current and future practice-based researchers working within creative disciplines. It also aims to strengthen the university’s doctoral training provision by creating a robust hub for practice-based projects supervision.

The Hawthorn Crater Redoubt - New technology and new interpretation

The interdisciplinary academic approach applied the techniques of Graham’s film and history research with Production House in France with Deborah the Tank and the Battle of Cambrai to work with communities at Beaumont Hamel at Hawthorn Crater to create new narratives in the history of the Battle of the Somme in World War One.

The Health, Development and Social Identity of Children Afforded Mummification in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily

Mummification has been practiced in Sicily since the Middle Ages and has attracted much attention from researchers. However, previous studies have principally focused on adult mummies, whilst mummies belonging to children have largely been overlooked. This is problematic as juveniles have much to tell us about societal values, identity, and roles and responsibilities within society. This research will start to rectify this imbalance by examining forty-one children afforded mummification in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo (Sicily). The aim of this research is to better understand the health, development, and social identity of children afforded this mortuary rite in late modern (A.D. 1787-1880) Palermo. A portable digital direct x-ray machine will be used to facilitate age and/or sex estimation of the children, and to identify pathological lesions, stress indicators, and developmental defects, which is not possible without non-invasive imaging. The results obtained from radiological analyses will be compared with the children’s outfits, associated funerary artefacts, mummification type, and surviving documentation. It is hoped this unique research project will shed new light on the children that inhabited late modern Palermo, and the way in which they were perceived and treated by adults in life and death.

Using film narratives to understand the topography of The Battle of The Somme July 1st 1916

Supported by HEIF funding and Erasmus, the aim is to bring history alive and to the classroom and museums to educate using film narratives and image to support traditional history texts and narrative forms.

Virtual Reality with Implemented Haptic Technologies to Aid Context Interpretation in Museums and Exhibitions

Museums and Exhibitions have shown a decrease in engagement with ceramic artefacts, with limitations in how we can communicate a ceramics history, usually shown through text and auditory sources. 

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021