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Cambridge Heritage Research Centre



I am a UKRI Future Leader Fellow, Round 6, and Senior Lecturer in Heritage and Digital Humanities. At Essex, I had the invaluable opportunity to establish undergraduate and post-graduate heritage programmes, and to serve as former director of the MA in Heritage and Museum Studies.

My research explores the intersection of material culture, heritage, and cognitive science, with a focus on the impact of new technologies on heritage-making and interpretation of past processes.

My UKRI FLF project, titled "REbuilding a sense of PLACE (REPLACE): The socio-cultural role of 3D technologies in increasing community resilience after 'natural disasters'," aims to enhance community resilience following natural catastrophes by investigating the socio-cultural potential of 3D technologies in rebuilding a sense of place. This research enables communities to prepare for, respond to, recover from, mitigate the effects of, and adapt to natural catastrophes.

In addition to my UKRI FLF, I have previously held a Marie Skłodowska Curie fellowship at the University of Cambridge and an Eastern ARC fellowship. These prestigious grants have facilitated the development of two additional research strands.

The first strand examines the role of 3D digital and printed replicas of artefacts, as well as digital soundscapes, in enriching the processes of meaning-making and interaction with historical material culture within museum settings. Specifically, I explore how 3D virtual and material replicas, along with object-based soundscapes, can redefine authenticity and enhance more immersive and emotionally impactful museum displays. Notable projects within this strand include "DIGIFACTS" and "Neurocuration".

The second strand focuses on collaborative initiatives with small and medium enterprises as well as educators, with the goal of leveraging novel pedagogies and 3D technologies to enhance young people's critical engagement with the complexity of their heritage in conflict-affected countries. For instance, I co-developed the "Ksar Said: A Virtual Experience" project in Tunis, supported by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund. This collaboration involved the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Education (Co-I), the Virtual Experience company (PI), and the Rambourg Foundation (Partner). Presently, I am trying to co-develop similar research programmes in Syria and Lebanon.

My research outputs encompass practice-based work, as well as publications in reputable journals and books. I am honoured to have recently received the BAFTSS Practice Research Innovation award for co-directing the film "Italia Terremotata." This film showcases the resilience of communities in post-earthquake Italy, highlighting their stories and experiences.

By blending my expertise in heritage, digital humanities, and cognitive science, I aim to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in understanding the dynamic relationship between technology, culture, and the preservation of our shared heritage.



Affiliated Member, Cambridge Heritage Research Centre
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor; Professoressa Associata) in Heritage and Digital Humanities, School of Philosophy and Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, University of Essex
PI of the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship REPLACE
Associate Editor, JOCCH
Dr Paola  Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco
Not available for consultancy