Founded in 1980, the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) is a focal point for cross-disciplinary research, postgraduate teaching and policy engagement. Based at the University of Birmingham, the Institute is a unique partnership between one of Britain’s leading universities and its largest independent museum, the Ironbridge Gorge Museum.
Our aims are:
> To provide a welcoming intellectual home and a creative environment for the critical study of cultural heritage which offers new, challenging and trans-national perspectives on the ways in which cultural heritage is understood, represented, managed and mobilised in different cultures and societies
> To pursue research excellence, policy relevance and to engage with academic and policy communities and the heritage/heritage-related sectors
> To deliver research informed, high quality, postgraduate education that links theoretical understanding with practice and relevance
A Unique Partnership
The IIICH is a partnership formed over 30 years ago between the University of Birmingham and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust (IGMT) which manages the World Heritage Site and ten museums in Shropshire, UK. Both organisations share a commitment to quality research, innovative education, creativity and engagement with the international heritage sector and the wider public.
Through our partnership IIICH is able to offer:
> A living landscape for research, postgraduate education and knowledge exchange with opportunities to study and engage with, one the UK’s first designated World Heritage Sites
> Access to collections, archives and exhibitions of national and international significance and to the collective expertise of museum and heritage professionals
> A gateway to an outstanding global network of researchers, practitioners and policy makers in the field of cultural heritage and related sectors
The Cultural Heritage Agenda
Heritage, as a way by which cultures and societies value, represent and understand the past, is widely recognised not only as an increasingly important resource, which is produced, exhibited and consumed, but also as an essential element in shaping, projecting and challenging identities from the level of the individual to that of the nation state.
IIICH is committed to advancing understandings of cultural heritage and the multiple and dynamic relationships it shares with societies and communities, economies and spaces.
We understand cultural heritage not only as material culture, tangibly present in formalised and structured environments such as museums, galleries and landscapes, but also in intangible ways as in rituals, performances, stories and memories.
We seek to better understand the various and complex processes by which heritage is produced and consumed, how it is managed and interpreted and how it is mediated and received, from the personal and the local, to the level of ‘world’ heritage.