Welcome to the AntweRp Cultural HEritage Sciences (ARCHES) research group
ARCHES is a research group of the Faculty of Design Sciences associated with the educational programs of Conservation-Restoration and Heritage studies. The acronym is not only a nod towards the Gothic arches decorating the inner yard of our campus (as illustrated by the webpage header), it refers explicitely to the group's mission to build bridges between various scientific fields as well. In particular, cultural heritage sciences is an umbrella name for different types of research, performed in a transdisciplinary way in pursuit of improving the conservation of both tangible and intangible heritage.
Consequently, research in cultural heritage sciences can be typically situated in one or more disciplines of Life, Social and Natural Sciences (e.g. history, art history, engineering, analytical chemistry etc.), but distinguishes itself from these fields by a different finality in the sense that research is performed with the explicit and exclusive aim to enhance the preservation and/or curative treatment of heritage. To accomplish this, research typically employs a combination of methods and tools developed in the aforementioned disciplines but does not necessarily improve the state-of-the-art of these fields, as the true innovation lies within cultural heritage sciences.
Within the ensuing range of research topics ARCHES has defined four research spearheads:
- Critical heritage studies
- Chemical characterisation and imaging of heritage materials
- Study of historical sources and (reproduction of) technology
- Innovative restoration treatments