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Centre for Sustainable Heritage (CSH)

Guest lectures

CSH organises a popular annual programme of Guest Lectures at UCL. The programme runs between October and March.

Scroll down the page to view recent lectures, and listen to their recordings. View our guest lecture archive to see the programme of speakers from previous years.

The 2012-13 season of guest lectures is now concluded. Next year's programme will be announced in the summer. Please email c.heslop@ucl.ac.uk if you would like to be added to our mailing list.

Recent guest lectures

Ewan Hyslop headshot

Dr Ewan Hyslop

Head of Sustainability, Research and Technical Education,
Historic Scotland

Thursday 21 March 2013, 6.15pm

AV Hill LT, Medical Sciences Building, UCL

Climate change and cultural heritage: the challenge facing Historic Scotland

The impacts of climate change are already being felt through changing weather patterns and extreme weather events. In Scotland average precipitation has increased by over 20% since the 1960s, and in some areas winter precipitation has risen by over 70%. Sea levels are rising by 3-4 mm each year, which combined with winter storm events, is resulting in alarming incidents of flooding and damage to coastal communities and heritage sites. Reports of water penetration to traditional buildings, failures of rainwater protection and drainage systems, and biological growth to masonry are all increasing. As the government agency with wide-ranging responsibilities for the historic environment, Historic Scotland has an important role to play in supporting national emissions targets through energy efficiency improvements in traditional buildings and developing ways to increase the resilience of historic buildings and sites to resist damaging climate change impacts.

Listen to the lecture

Deborah Lazarus

Deborah Lazarus

Heritage Specialist, Existing Buildings Team, Arup London

Thursday 21 February 2013, 6.15pm

AV Hill LT, Medical Sciences Building, UCL

A future for the past – enabling the use of built heritage assets

The continuing use of heritage buildings, particularly where a significant change of use is contemplated, presents social, economic and environmental as well as physical challenges. These include the extent to which alterations to the fabric are acceptable in finding a viable use for a building, the primacy of form over function, or vice versa, in determining the future  of a heritage structure, and how the heritage significance may be enhanced as part of the process.

This presentation examines these issues through examples where a new life has been devised for a heritage asset, recognising that for many there are both changes  of use and alterations to layout and fabric over time which in turn become part of its history and values.

Listen to the lecture and download the slides

Christopher Smith headshot

Professor Christopher Smith

Director, British School at Rome

Thursday 17 January 2013, 6.15pm

AV Hill LT, Medical Sciences Building, UCL

Saving the City: The Preservation and Conservation of Rome from Antiquity to the Present Day

Recent arguments have suggested that the concepts of cultural heritage and conservation have a longer history than is sometimes recognised, with M. Miles arguing that the Romans had ethical conceptions of the treatment of cultural property and D. Karmon claiming that already by the medieval period there was a conception of heritage management and conservation at Rome.  This paper will look critically at these and similar positions, whilst arguing that throughout its history Rome has offered a peculiarly complex set of challenges to the notion of sustainable heritage, right up until the present day.

Listen to the lecture

Andrew Watkinson headshot

Professor Andrew Watkinson

Executive Director, Living with Environmental Change (LWEC)

Thursday 13 December, 6.15pm

AV Hill LT, Medical Sciences Building, UCL

A changing sense of place: heritage and environmental change

Climate change challenges us to consider how we interact with our environment and our place in it. In so doing it poses questions about our values and responsibilities to the past and the future. In this talk it is hoped to convey some of the challenge of climate change science, but also to reflect on what it means in terms of our changing heritage and how we interpret and interact with the environment.

Listen to the lecture and download the slides

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Director of Heritage, Atkins

Wednesday 14 November 2012, 6.15pm

AV Hill LT, Medical Sciences Building, UCL

Nostalgia, heritage practice and the post-industrial legacy

Does Nostalgia have a place in modern heritage practice? We respect multiple histories and the views of communities. But when our expert toolkit now includes  ‘memories’ as data, are we setting up a mawkish sentimentality behind which to hide our loss of confidence in the contribution of our professional perspectives and methods? And what happens when a heritage professional then becomes part of community heritage action? This talk will explore these issues, through an examination of  how the heritage legacy of a famous but redundant pottery factory is being created and defined.

Roger Bowdler

Roger Bowdler

Designation Director, English Heritage

Thursday 18 October 2012, 6.15pm

AV Hill LT, Medical Sciences Building, UCL

In Pursuit of Special Interest: Heritage Designation in the 21st Century

Regard for private property has long been an attribute of English society. What role does the state have in protecting heritage? Designation steers a careful course between the celebration of special interest in the historic environment, and the triggering of regulation and control.

Next year sees the centenary of the 1913 Ancient Monuments Amendment Act: a landmark piece of legislation which introduced the processes of designating and protecting which are now exercised by English Heritage. This talk looks and the development of designation, and the challenges it now faces in an age of limited resources, multiple values and an ever faster pace of change.

Download the lecture slides (pdf)

The Nigel J Seely Memorial Lectures

Nigel J Seeley

This Guest Lecture Programme was named The Nigel J. Seeley Memorial Lectures to remember the life and work of the first Visiting Professor at the Centre for Sustainable Heritage, Dr Nigel Seeley who died on 21 June 2004.


These lectures, which are open to the public, take place monthly at UCL, normally on the third Thursday of the month in the evening (plesae see programme above for finalised dates).A varied mix of speakers is invited to address the subject 'Sustainable Heritage', which includes heritage leadership, heritage governance, heritage policy, and heritage science, as well as preventive conservation, preservation management, in the context of sustainable development.

The 2012-13 lectures start at 6.15pm and are free of charge, but if you are planning to attend please let us know by emailing c.heslop@ucl.ac.uk.