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Department of Archaeology



CRIC stands for Cultural Heritage and the Reconstruction of Identities after Conflict and is a multi-disciplinary project which investigates the relationship between cultural heritage, conflict and identity.

 McDonagh, F. (2009). The Astra Factory, Gernika  

The project involves collaboration between nine European universities and NGOs researching case studies in Spain, France, Cyprus, Bosnia and Germany, which represent different types of conflict dating from World War I to the present day.

Across Europe, national and regional identities are in the process of being formed and are influenced by local and regional histories. There are many ways of approaching and studying these relationships; this project examines how the cultural heritage, both material and symbolic, is involved in the reconstruction of identities following conflict.

History records may instance of damage and destruction of cultural heritage in times of conflict. Much of this damage is accidental, even inevitable; but we have also witnessed a striking increase in the deliberate targeted destruction of the cultural heritage of others, a destruction that apparently aims to inflict moral and psychological damage. Recent conflicts in Europe, as well as abroad, have propelled this issue to the foreground.

The CRIC project looks, therefore, at two key questions:

  1. What conditions and ideologies inspire the destruction of cultural heritage?
  2. What consequences arise at local, national, and regional levels as a result of the destruction and subsequent reconstruction of that heritage?

The re-built bridge in Mostar

The findings of this four year research project have been many and varied. You can check out a summary of the research results here and view films on the project research on the CRIC Project Youtube channel.

The themes explored by the project have been investigate through a number of more focused questions, such as:

  • Mourning – how is material culture and intangible practice are used in mourning and the recovery from conflict and destruction?
  • Places and forms of memory – how are changes in the practice of memorializing and the evolution of new material forms of memory?
  • Dissonant heritage – what makes some places into contested sites, foci for Conflicting interpretations, or the symbols of painful pasts?
  • Symbolic landscape – what are the symbolic markers that infuse a place with meaning, how are they responded to and how are they transferred into other spheres of cultural practice?
  • Reconciliation – what are the roles that the reconstruction of the cultural heritage can/do play in 'coming to terms' with conflict and healing historical wounds?


Demonstrations held in Dresden, 13th February 2011 on the anniversary of the bombing of the city in 1945.