Virtual Visiting Fellowship Programme

The University of Liverpool has created a Virtual Visiting Fellowship Programme offered to researchers at select partner universities, and specialising in the area of heritage.

These international, virtual fellowships, first offered in 2021, provide an opportunity for selected candidates to gain collaborative research experience in an international research environment with the aim of publishing a specific piece of research in an international journal or equivalent venue and fostering long-term collaboration.

The Virtual Visiting Fellowship Programme is generously supported by the University of Liverpool’s alumni and friends, without whom this year’s programme would not have been possible.

The fellowships were open to researchers working in the field of heritage and to early career as well as established researchers.

‘Heritage’ in its most fundamental definition includes any aspect of human culture (or anything encompassed by it) which invokes or generates elements of real or imagined pasts in the present. The study of heritage therefore ranges across anthropogenic, environmental, material and non-material, tangible and intangible objects and practices, often in combination.

The Programme is lucky to be able to call upon expertise from across the University to provide Visiting Fellows with training on a wide range of core and specialist research skills. Colleagues from the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology and School of Architecture as well as Libraries, Museums and Galleries, the Open Research TeamPsychology Department, the English Language Centre, and the Institute of Population Health deliver a variety of sessions throughout the Programme. Additionally, instructors from the Masters Programme in Sustainable Heritage Management have kindly provided access to several lectures on heritage management, policies and conservation.

The range of specialities chosen by our virtual fellows reflects that wide-ranging definition. Below you can also see where Fellows from this and previous years' cohorts are all based, reflecting the Fellowship programme's wide reach.

Virtual Visiting Fellows Showcase

In January 2024 the University of Liverpool hosted an online showcase event, where the visiting fellows could present their work. Below, you can meet the researchers and explore their work.

You can watch the full showcase here (split into two sessions), including comments and questions from our guests Professor Sophia Labadi (University of Kent) and Professor Nicholas Temple (London Metropolitan University).

Session one

Featuring Prof Welei Jiang, Dr Lina Liu, Dr Gavin Slade, Dr Diya Mukherjee and Dr Yashaswini Somashekar.

Session two

Featuring Dr Mouid Hani, Dr Zeineb Youssef, and Dr Azadeh Hariri.

Meet the fellows and their research

Our 2023 Fellows

Seyi-Akerele-200Akerele Oluwaseyi Akinbola

Seyi Akerele is a lecturer at the Department of Architecture, University of Lagos. He is a media consultant, registered architect and member of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA). He is also a member of the West African Rapid Urbanisation and Heritage Conservation Research Network (WARUH), ARUA, Urban Design and Sustainable Infrastructure Research Cluster, and of LEGACY 1995- An Historical and Environmental Interest Group in Nigeria.

He is broadly interested in nexus between buildings and the ‘urbanscape’. His current areas of investigation include Building Heritage and Conservation, Architectural Form and Materiality, Aesthetic Symptoms of Architectural Forms and User-Initiated Transformations of Urban Spaces. His doctoral work focuses on Commercial Bank Buildings and the Role of Architecture in Building Brands. In 2021, he was an Early Career Researcher in the Modernist University Campus Project Writing Workshop and served as a mentor in the Shared Heritage Africa (SHA) Architectural Writing Workshop in East Africa in 2023.

His project under the University of Liverpool looks at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos, Nigeria as a threatened heritage site. The aim is to investigate the square as a space form within a larger context of urbanism and vulnerable heritable buildings; exploring the tensions between history and modernity; built heritage preservation and neo-liberalism within the contemporary context and socio-politics of an historic African metropolis. 

Seyi talks us through his project below:

Mouid-HANI-200Mouid Hani 

Mouid Hani is a researcher in cultural heritage conservation and development of at the National Heritage Institute of Tunisia, and an alumnus of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Tunis. He holds a doctorate in Heritage Science from the University of Paris-Nanterre, a Master's degree in Art History and Archaeology from the Sorbonne-Paris 4 and a Master's degree in History.

In 2004, Dr Hani was admitted to the Heritage Conservation Studies Program at the Sorbonne-Paris 1 , where he obtained a Bachelor's degree in Heritage Preservation and a professional Master's degree in Science and Techniques of Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage.

Dr Hani is currently leading several international projects for the conservation and enhancement of archaeological heritage in Tunisia.

Learn more about Mouid's research below.

Azadeh-Hariri-200Azadeh Hariri

Azadeh Hariri is a postdoctoral researcher at the Vienna University of Technology.  Dr. Hariri obtained her Ph.D. in Restoration and Rehabilitation of historical buildings and textures at the Art University of Isfahan. She spent six months of her doctoral course with a scholarship from the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology of Iran at the Vienna University of Technology. In her scientific career, Hariri has the honor of being the best researcher at Isfahan University of Arts and the first rank in the doctoral course.

Hariri is the author of the book "Qajar Houses of Isfahan". This book has received several awards. In 2021, she also collaborated in holding an exhibition in Vienna on the subject of "Visual Codes". Dr. Hariri has been teaching in some Iranian universities for the past 8 years. Also, as a supervisor, she has been on the duty of supervising master's theses and has collaborated in the review of articles with Iranian scientific-research journals. So far, she has presented 24 articles in journals and scientific conferences.

She has experience and interest in research on the protection of historical houses, cultural heritage attributed to religious minorities, historical landscape, and the influence of European architecture in the Middle East.

Learn more about Azadeh's research:

Lina-Liu-200Liu Lina

Dr Liu Lina is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of Xi’an Jiaotong University and PhD Supervisor. She has research interests in cultural heritage law, IP law and international law. She is the Secretary General of the Intellectual Property Sub-alliance of UASR (University Alliance of the Silk Road) and a Council member of the China Science and Technology Law Society. 

Her monograph entitled Legal Protection of Chinese Underwater Cultural Heritage was awarded the "Top 10 Books of National Cultural Heritage 2015".

Learn more about Liu's research in this presentation:

Diya-Mukherjee-200Diya Mukherjee

Dr Diya Mukherjee is currently employed at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. She has conducted her doctoral (in Archaeology) degree entitled Copper Bronze Technology of Harappan Culture in Haryana and Gujarat) and master’s degree (in Ancient History Culture and Archaeology) from Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute, Pune. She has completed her bachelor’s degree (Honours) from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

Her research interests include archaeo-metallurgy particularly Harappan metallurgy, experimental archaeology as well as ethnoarchaeology. She has participated in various archaeological excavations as a trained archaeologist at sites like Karsola, Rakhigarhi, etc. She had been awarded a UGC fellowship for her doctoral research and had been awarded various grants from prestigious institutes like INTACH Heritage Academy, Coghlan Bequest Grant (from Historical Metallurgical Society, London), etc.

She has presented her research papers in many national and international prestigious institutes such as IIT Guwahati, Indian Museum, and UCL (London) to name a few. She has also delivered lectures at Jadavpur University, the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, etc.

Discover Diya's project here:

Gavin-Slade-200Gavin Slade

Gavin Slade is an associate professor of sociology at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. He is a criminologist who studies jurisdictions in the former Soviet Union. He has a particular interest in prison systems, organized crime and the evolution of policing. He is the author of Reorganizing Crime: Mafia and Anti-Mafia in Post-Soviet Georgia (Oxford University Press: 2013). Slade has also recently concluded a comparative case study of prisoner societies under conditions of penal reform in four countries – Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.

On the Virtual Visiting Fellowship Slade will be working with Professor Barry Godfrey. Slade will continue research on legacies of Gulag camps in Kazakhstan in the present day. One goal is to begin work with Prof. Godfrey on digitizing archives from the Alzhir camp near Astana, a special penal colony that held wives of those arrested as traitors to the motherland in the Stalinist period. In addition, Slade has collected focus group and interview data at museums in Alzhir and other Gulag sites in Kazakhstan. These data will be used to provide an analysis of the cultural consumption of the history of punishment in Kazakhstan and its impact on perceptions of prisoners and prisons today.

Learn more about Gavin's research:

Yashaswini-Somashekar-200Yashaswini Somashekar

Dr Yashaswini Somashekar is an Indian Assistant Professor at Faculty of Architecture - School of Planning and Architecture, University of Mysore, India. She is a registered Architect with Council of Architecture, India. Indian Institute of Architects. A Registered Urban Planner with All India Institute of Town Planners, New Delhi. She holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and Master degree in the subject ‘Urban and Regional Planning’. Hold Bachelor Degree in Architecture from ‘University Vishweshwariah college of Engineering, Bangalore University, Bengaluru, India.     

Her research aims to analyse the existing urban green space network of Mysuru city. Her research aims to propose the strategies for improving the urban green space network and it’s Accessibility in Mysuru city. With the objective of understanding the land use and built form of the city, by evaluating the existing green spaces of the city. Which is the present day need of the hour for the Heritage city.

The intense research interest in the field of Urban green and Blue spaces have evolved her heed towards the heritage of Lingambudi lake and its history for her present VVF study. With the aim of proposing the strategies to integrate the heritage realms along with cultural landscape in the integrated green space of one of the heritage lake of the city.

Find out more about Yashaswin's research here:

Jiang WeileJiang Weile

Professor Jiang Weile is currently Head of the Department of Art of the School of Humanities of Xi'an Jiaotong University and previously served as the Dean of the Institute of Modern Technology for Cultural Heritage at the same institution. Professor Weile received his doctorate in architecture from the Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy. His main research direction is the theory and utilization of architectural and landscape cultural heritage protection, and environmental design.

He has served as a member of the Cultural Committee of the Democratic League of Shaanxi Province Xi'an Jiaotong. He is a senior member of the Tibetan Architecture Professional Committee of the Chinese Architectural Society and a special expert of the Degree and Postgraduate Education Development Center of the Ministry of Education and the Xi'an Rural Agriculture Bureau. He is also a judge of the National Digital Art Design Competition.

Professor Weile has a distinguished publication record with more than 40 relevant academic papers, including publications in SCI, CSSCI and more than 10 top journals. He has also presided over a number of scientific research projects, including projects for the National Natural Science Foundation of China, National Postdoctoral Fund as well as several provincial, municipal school-level projects. He has won many prizes for his work including second prize of Xi'an Philosophy and Social Science Achievements and two first prizes of the provincial and ministerial science and technology awards. In addition, he guided students to participate in the industry's national competition and won nearly 30 awards.

Professor Weile has undertaken several projects for the municipal unit of cultural relics protection (planning and design), and landscape design plans. This includes: the excavation and protection of the Dongquemen of the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of Qin, the urban design project of Dongguan Old City, Beilin District, Xi'an City, and the protection and construction of Xi'an Jiatian Jiabing Art Center of Xi'an Historical Protection Park construction. In addition, he participated in the heritage protection of the city wall of Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, and was involved in the cultural heritage protection of the agricultural landscape at the wine production base in Piedmont, Italy.

Learn more about his project below:

Zeineb-Youssesf-200Zeineb Youssef

Zeineb Youssef is a registered architect in Tunisia and an architecture graduate from the National School of architecture and Urbanism of Tunis (ENAU). She holds a Master’s Degree and a PhD in architecture and cultural heritage from the Doctoral School in Architectural Sciences and Engineering (Ed SIA), where she is currently a research member of the unit PAE3C (with the research laboratory LARPA). Since 2020, she has been permanent assistant professor at the High Institute of Arts and Crafts of Mahdia ISAMM - University of Monastir.

During her research and teaching at ENAU and ISAM, she focused on Tunisian medinas, investigating current trends of physical and social decay, mechanisms of urban regeneration, and the challenges faced in managing this urban heritage.

Zeineb’s research project for the University of Liverpool Virtual Visiting Fellowship Programme 2023 is entitled Sustainable heritagization of the Medina of Sousse: from revitalising urban heritage to seeking ecology. In this project, she will work on the World Heritage Site of Sousse, which has been marginalized and disfigured for more than three decades. Its historic urban landscape has been changing because of uncontrolled and unauthorized transformation of historic buildings, while built heritage assets face the impacts of climate change, advanced degradation as well as vandalism.

Through this project Zeineb seeks to understand failures and successes in the current heritagization (patrimonialization) of this Tunisian medina, by exploring the processes and mechanisms through which objects, places and practices are conceptualized as cultural heritage. She also aims to shed light on the roles played by different stakeholders in the process, in order to outline a sustainable heritage strategy able to revitalize local urban identity and foster heritage development.

Find out more about Zeineb's work here:

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