Cornerstone Heritage

The University of Plymouth's interdisciplinary research group in cultural heritage - how we live with, use and understand the past through things, spaces, traditions and memory. 

Our researchers exchange ideas and form new partnerships across the fields of heritage studies, Art History, History, Architecture, Business, Tourism, Geography, 3D and Graphic Design, and Digital Technologies. 

We work in co-productions with our partner organisations - museums, galleries, historic sites and landscapes - to develop new projects, test ideas and prototypes and produce new research.

With the support of The Arts Institute we host a range of activities that include network events, visiting speakers, research showcases and an annual postgraduate symposium hosted by the National Trust at Saltram House. 

Cornerstone Heritage is also home to Cornerstone Praxis our heritage research and design agency.

Featured projects

The Lost Index: NATMUS 

The Lost Index: NATMUS is the latest in a series of locative iPhone apps produced by James Brocklehurst and Emma Whittaker. Sited within museums, the apps incorporate iBeacon technology, binaural sound recordings and perceptual illusions, in conjunction with real-world artefacts from the museum’s collections, to create imaginary playable experiences. Forming part of research that investigates situated narrative experiences, the apps offer new narrative frameworks and an innovative approach to archive and heritage interpretation.

Read more about The Lost Index: NATMUS

Cornerstone at Powderham Castle

The history department at Plymouth is currently engaged on a two-year project at Powderham Castle, Devon, in partnership with the Historic Preservation program at the University of Pennsylvania. The project has several strands including community projects, field studies - commencing in June 2017 - to investigate the historic fabric and material culture of the castle and surrounding landscape, cataloguing the castle library; producing a database of archived documents relating to the castle and Courtenay family (held in the castle and at local and national archives), and the development of new heritage interpretation content and platforms (including digital media). 

Read more about the Powderham Castle project

Anywhere - a mythogeography of South Devon

Drawing on almost twenty years of exploratory walking in South Devon, performance maker and ambulatory researcher Phil Smith is at present (late 2016) using the device of the semi-fictional journey of a female researcher who becomes detached from a conference to create a portrait of part of South Devon through its ‘anomalies’ - including, leading nineteenth century technological innovation, modelling modernist suburbia and a modern village, a narrative of extreme ideological racism in its literary tradition, the centralisation of its heritage and the decay and neglect of its heritage margins. With a provisional publication date of 2017. 

For further information contact Phil Smith.

Underwater heritage assets

Funded by Historic England, the aim of this project is to assess the enforcement capacity available to be applied to the conservation of underwater heritage assets in the English Inshore Plan Area. Currently a number of bodies have a legislative remit to take enforcement action in relation to their relevant sectors – such as fisheries, licensing, pollution and immigration or excise. While there are some examples of inter-agency, co-operative endeavour, on the whole the picture is not formally coordinated, to the extent perhaps it could be. 

Read more about the underwater heritage assets project

Everyday offending in Plymouth

A team led by Professor Kim Stevenson is currently working on a pilot project examining the policing and moral regulation of everyday offending and crime in Plymouth 1880-1920 utilising archival material and local newspaper reportage and also exploring the institutional heritage - police, prison, courts - associated with offending.

Read more about the everyday offending in Plymouth project