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Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development in Jordan workshop

Event date Event time Event location
27/06/2018 - 28/06/2018 The Jordan Museum, Amman, Jordan

The AHRC is pleased to announce a call for researchers to attend a workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development in Jordan’. Organised in partnership with The Department of Antiquities in Jordan, the event will bring together academic experts from both countries to explore the role of cultural heritage in developing economic growth and social wellbeing in Jordan.

The event will convene approximately 40 experts from the UK and Jordan and draw on a wide range of disciplinary perspectives including, for example; history; heritage; languages; the digital humanities; and archaeology.  A key aim of the workshop will be to inform a subsequent call for longer-term collaborative UK-Jordan research grants responding to the key issues raised.

The workshop will be funded through the Newton Fund – a programme that aims to develop research and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries.

The workshop will take place at The Jordan Museum, Amman, Jordan on the 27-28 June 2018.


There are growing international concerns about the threats that modern society poses to cultural heritage. This heritage is essential not only for enabling societies to connect with their histories and traditions, but as a critical driver of growth, employment and prosperity, for example through tourism and the integration of heritage into sustainable urban regeneration. At the same time, there is an urgent need to enhance understandings about the role of culture (languages, histories, the arts etc) in building community cohesion.

This workshop will explore the potential of placing Jordan’s heritage at the heart of plans for sustainable growth and social cohesion and wellbeing. Jordan has a rich cultural heritage and is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, including one of the world’s most significant archaeological sites, Petra. Jordan also faces particular challenges, for example it hosts a large Syrian refugee population estimated by the UNCHR to be around 1.4 million people, of whom fewer than 50% are ‘registered’ and residing in camps.

Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to explore these and other challenges, their broader context and the potential benefits a heritage-based approach might bring. The workshop will provide the basis for new, long-term UK-Jordan research partnerships and best practice in international collaboration in cultural heritage.

Old temples survive right in the city of Amman
Amman's rich heritage. Copyright: Travels with Kathleen on Flickr by CC2.0

Call for Expressions of Interest

Expressions of interest to participate in the workshop are invited from UK-based researchers who meet the AHRC’s standard eligibility requirements from all disciplines within the arts and humanities. Applicants should have a particular research interest in the topics noted below and be able to demonstrate both the insights and approaches they would seek to bring to the workshop and what they would seek to gain from it.

Expressions of interest are welcome from researchers at all stages of their careers, including early career researchers. The AHRC expects to support the attendance of around 20 UK-based researchers, with the Jordanian Department of Antiquities identifying a similar number of Jordanian academics.

For full information please see the guidance notes (PDF, 317KB).

How to apply

To apply to attend, please complete the following Smart Survey questionnaire:


The AHRC will process the information you send for the purposes of workshop attendance only, and the information will be handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest: 4pm (GMT) 31st May 2018.

Expressions of interest will be assessed by the AHRC, against the following criteria:

  • Fit to call: the strength of the case made to attend the workshop and ability to support the realisation of its aims
  • Track record: a demonstrable history of research excellence appropriate to career stage
  • Development: the potential of the workshop to add value to the research of the applicant, including the benefits of engaging with a wider network of individuals and organisations from the UK and Jordan, and the potential for those parties to benefit from the experience and perspectives of the applicant
  • Legacy: the ability of the applicant to perceive and articulate the longer-term potential benefits of the workshop, including to their own research, their discipline, and in terms of wider activity.

We aim to inform applicants of outcomes by 8 June 2018.

Costs covered

The AHRC will pay for all transport (standard class), accommodation, visa charges and subsistence costs incurred during the event. Detailed information about logistics and procedures will follow upon acceptance. Please note that all costs will need to be claimed back through the AHRC expenses process.

Please note that you are eligible to apply only if you have a valid passport and do not foresee any problems with obtaining a visa, or with being in Jordan for the duration of this event.

Workshop format

The exact content and format of the workshop will be determined through consultation between AHRC and the Department of Antiquities in Jordan. In order to stimulate practical steps towards future intellectual collaboration, the majority of the workshop will focus on discussion and exploration of key issues through a series of facilitated sessions. It is anticipated that these sessions will be framed around four main themes:

  • Re-writing the story of the history of Jordan through script analysis, historical documents and archaeological discoveries.
  • Digitisation and the use of technology in the interpretation, presentation and restoration of cultural heritage.
  • Cultural heritage and sustainable economic growth.
  • Museums and community engagement.

Cross cutting considerations

It is recognised that the four identified research themes are not isolated and we would encourage research which cuts across one or more of the themes. For example, digitisation and the use of technology may help in re-writing the story of the history of Jordan, and community engagement may help alleviate issues of sustainable economic growth. Equally, we do not consider them to be all-encompassing and anticipate wider opportunities and challenges to be identified, for example the development of training, employability and skills building opportunities in Jordan. 

We are also keen to support discussions and research that introduces new perspectives and new narratives on the history and culture of Jordan. These may challenge or complement existing work and/or bring together work on different periods to explore a ‘Grand Narrative’ of the past of Jordan. Such work might involve engagement with communities not well represented by or in recent cultural heritage work. It may also consider periods or areas of Jordan’s past that have been less extensively explored.

It is important to note that this workshop is not intended to be a stand-alone event, rather it is an opportunity to network, share experiences and begin discussions that will foster future collaborative activity and make cultural heritage integral to the sustainable development and wellbeing agenda in Jordan. As above, it is anticipated that longer term, the workshop will enrich and bring new dimensions to other networks and forums working in this area and involving research collaboration between the UK and Jordan.  The call for research grants that will follow the workshop will be integral to this aim.

The AHRC and the Department of Antiquities intend to commission a report from the workshop, which will include recommendations for follow-up activity. 

Thomas Booker, Portfolio Manager  E: newtonfund@ahrc.ukri.org

Header image copyright: Reibai on Flickr by CC2.0

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