The University of Portsmouth will host its first Culture and Heritage Week from 20 to 24 September 2021. Supported by the University’s Democratic Citizenship Theme, Portsmouth’s unique culture and heritage will be brought to life through a series of free events taking place virtually and in person, which will link in with the nationwide Heritage Open Days 2021

Culture and Heritage Week is part of the University’s strategy to enrich the community through preservation, conservation, interpretation, and education to appreciate its history, understand the present and build a common future. 

Professor Leïla Choukroune, Director of the Democratic Citizenship Research Theme, said: “While culture and heritage are at the heart of a modern democratic society, we aim to celebrate the world-class research conducted by University scholars in partnership with local, national and global actors.”

The week starts on Monday (20 September) with Modern Science Tackles the Mary Rose which will explore the techniques used to preserve Henry VIII’s Flagship for future generations. The in person event will be hosted on the Ground Floor of the University’s Eldon Building, from 14.15 to 16:30. The event will feature talks from Professor Joy Watts, Dr Sam Robson and Dr Garry Scarlett from the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and Dr Nicholas Owen from Swansea University. 

On Tuesday (21 September) Dr Garry Scarlett and the School of Architecture’s Dr Tarek Teba will host a one-day Rural Heritage for Civic Engagement and Education workshop to showcase the role of rural heritage in engaging local communities and informing education. The in person workshop will explore perspectives of local heritage organisations and museums, and share tools and methods to maximise the impact of rural heritage in community engagement and education. The day will run from 9:30am to 4pm on the Ground Floor of Eldon Building.

Interpreting the Past will take place on Wednesday (22 September) in the form of two virtual talks, starting at 1pm with Drawn to the Past: Comics and Historical, led by Dr Oliver Gruner and Mr Louis Netter, from the School of Art Design and Performance. This talk explores the rich, vibrant world of historical comics and graphic novels. Discussing key publications and drawing on their own experiences creating graphic histories, Dr Gruner and Mr Netter reflect on the ways in which comics can engage with, and contribute to wider debates on history and heritage.

The second part of the event follows at 2pm, hosted by PhD student, Alice Naylor from the School of Art, Design and Performance. Did Kenwood make you a better cook? explores the impact that the Kenwood kitchen application had on women in the 1960s. Seen as an aspirational item that looked good on the kitchen counter and was capable of creating the elaborate dishes seen in lifestyle magazines and TV cooking shows, Naylor asks did the Kenwood Chef enable the 1960s women to be a better version of ‘herself`or merely perform temporary narratives depending on the audience around her?.

On Thursday (23 September) a virtual event will take place from 2pm – 4pm entitled Portsmouth Black History and Literary Creativity Map. Dr Melanie Bassett from the School of Area Studies History Politics and Literature will start the event with a talk entitled, University Heritage Allies: How the University of Portsmouth can play a part in building new local heritage identities. Dr Bassett will introduce the Portsmouth Black History Project and explore ways in which the University can build partnerships, engage with the local community and help to empower new narratives within the local heritage landscape. The talk will trace some of the city’s heritage tropes and explore lesser-known African and Caribbean links to the imperial city. 

The second part of the event, Mapping and Promoting Portsmouth’s Literacy Creativity is led by Dr Maggie Bowers, and Dr Mark Frost from the School of Area Studies History Politics and Literature. Together they will uncover an exciting community engagement project from the English Literature team. The presentation will introduce the interactive map platform and its accompanying blog, Writing Literary Portsmouth and explore how the map engages Portsmouth’s Black History and the lives of its diverse communities. The presentation will launch the Writing Literary Portsmouth video, showcasing key local writers who will share the inspiration they gain from Portsmouth and read an extract of their work. 

Culture and Heritage Week will end on Friday (24 September) from 4.30pm to 6pm with an in person roundtable event chaired by Professor Leïla Choukrone. The Future of Heritage: Challenges, and Risks gathers experts from academia and the community to explore the future of Culture and Heritage. Joining Professor Choukrone in the discussion is James Daly from Portsmouth City Council, Christine Taylor from Portsmouth Museum, Dr Ann Coats from the School of Civil Engineering and Surveying, Professor Anne Murphy from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Rob Inkpen from School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences, Dr Garry Scarlett, Dr Sam Robson, and Dr Tarek Teba. The location of this event has yet to be confirmed, but will be made available on Eventbrite