€3 million cultural heritage research network ARCHE launched

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The ARCHE (Alliance for Research on Cultural Heritage in Europe) project has been officially launched during a kick-off meeting in Paris on 29 September. For three years, 24 partners from 18 European countries will work together to create a European framework for research and innovation in cultural heritage. They are doing this by forming a network of researchers, innovators, heritage professionals, organisations and citizens.

The project coordinator is the French Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine in Paris, the Heritage Research Hub wrote. The budget for the coming years is three million euros and is funded by the European Commission. With that money, European heritage partners will work together to design an innovative research and implementation agenda (roadmaps) focusing on a multidisciplinary approach. Other partners include for example the Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency (RCE).


ARCHE should promote interdisciplinary research on cultural heritage through cross-fertilisation between disciplines that are sometimes too inward-looking, according to the RCE press release. This would include combining environmental science, green technology, social sciences and humanities. Facilitating the exchange, transfer and collaboration of heritage research and the economy (cultural and creative industries, tourism, regional growth and rural development) should make heritage a central actor when it comes to promoting innovation. This can be done by developing new knowledge, skills and strategies and making them accessible for sustainable heritage conservation, preservation, use and management.

In addition, the ARCHE network aims to gain an overview of heritage research and the field of innovation, suggesting joint activities that meet demands from the field and deal efficiently with complementary funding. This also includes developing a so-called ‘ARCHE Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda’ (SRIA) for Europe, in which heritage is considered holistically. This SRIA should eventually be translated into concrete actions and innovation.

Setting up a purpose-built governance structure that promotes the involvement of partner institutions and ensuring efficient coordination is one of the other goals ARCHE hopes to achieve. This needs to be combined with the critical mass participation of stakeholders and resources needed for the long-term sustainable operation of the network.

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