Research team

Expertise

Hélène Verreyke has expertise in the integration of preventive conservation in museum practice, collection management and museology. She has experience with organising large-scale exhibitions, collection presentations, strategic planning, exhibition scenography and preventive conservation. After finishing her PhD in archaeology, she further specialised in museology. She conducted research on how history museums can activate community participation. She put this expertise into practice by developing innovative methods to stimulate co-creation in museum practice.

Silent heritage. Asbestos objects in collections. 01/10/2022 - 30/09/2026

Abstract

With the increasing awareness that asbestos poses a public health risk, regulations on asbestos removal are finally becoming more stringent (OVAM 2021). This directly effects the heritage and museum sector, since heritage collections contain many types of asbestos objects. The heritage project, Gevaarlijk erfgoed (2020-2022, ETWIE), which aimed at creating an asbestos safe heritage sector revealed that for collections, the paradigm of simply removing asbestos when present is incompatible with current collection management practices. The questions that immediately arise are the following. Is asbestos heritage? Does the removal of asbestos effect the heritage significance? How does the detrimental effect of asbestos on health weighs in on heritage significance? Who makes these decisions in a field where participation of heritage communities is encouraged? This PhD research wants to formulate answers to these questions by putting forward the following research objectives. First, we want to assess the heritage value of asbestos. Of the material itself, but also how its presence affects the heritage value of the object (Objective 1). Second, we want to map the different meanings and values asbestos can have for different heritage communities and stakeholders that are in one way or the other related to asbestos (Objective 2). This would create insight into how including different viewpoints can influence heritage significance. Third, we want to contribute to the development of methods for value based heritage assessment of difficult or toxic heritage (Objective 3). By doing so, the PhD research would not only contribute to the development of methods of collection management and museum ethics, but also add to the international theoretical debate on value based heritage assessment and difficult, dissonant, or toxic heritage.

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  • Research Project

Transforming data rE-use in ARCHaeology 01/10/2022 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

Digital data curation for cultural heritage has reached a critical impasse. A central tension exists between the need to preserve cultural resources, and the dynamic potential for their use and re-use in democratic and just ways. In archaeology, much work has been done to make data Findable, Accessible and Interoperable (according to the FAIR Principles), but little is understood about whether data are Reusable–and by whom. TEtrARCHs argues the future of digital curation depends upon reconciling this divide, and aims to demonstrate that data optimised for ethical and emotive storytelling will provide the bridge between those who find or preserve heritage assets, and the diverse cross-European audiences for whom they might generate meaning. Through an interdisciplinary team of archaeological specialists, data scientists, and museum practitioners, collaborating with three key user groups–domain experts, creative practitioners, and memory institutions–TEtrARCHs will offer those who capture, curate and apply cultural heritage data with critically-aware workflows to prepare their data for enhanced re-use at every point in the data lifecycle (e.g., capture, mapping, lab-based analysis), then scenario-test such re-use through the dissemination of new narrative outputs authored by cross-European creative practitioners. The project embraces three scales of data collection in archaeology–landscape, site and artefact–exploring them via four increasingly ubiquitous technologies for data capture: airborne LiDAR, 3D scanning, digital field drawing and photography. Alongside novel workflows for field, post-excavation and archival practice, TEtrARCHs will produce the world's first controlled vocabulary for cultural heritage storytelling, the first assessments of data reuse effectiveness following ISO Standard 25022: Measurement of Quality in Use, and the first best practice recommendations for trusted digital repositories to optimise archaeological data for re-use.

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Project website

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  • Research Project

Collection Campus Mutsaard. A participatory value-based heritage assessment of 360 years Royal Academy of Antwerp. 01/07/2022 - 31/08/2023

Abstract

Almost 360 years of academic heritage at Campus Mutsaard reflects the history of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and of the young Faculty of Design Sciences of the University of Antwerp. A participatory value-based heritage assessment will be carried out, involving a wide range of stakeholders and heritage communities. The development of this participatory process will not only contribute to the design of a methodology that includes multiple perspectives in the assessment of heritage value, but will hopefully also result in a meaningful integration of the academic heritage in the future educational and infrastructural plans.

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  • Research Project

L'Ancienne Belgique. Museums, archaeology, and the creation of national identity in Belgium (1870-1940). 01/07/2021 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

Up until recently, the history of archaeology as a scientific discipline was seriously biased, as experts predominantly focused on the more spectacular excavations abroad - in Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, or Egypt - while the rise of "backyard" archaeology in one's own country was largely ignored. Drawing on the rich - yet barely scrutinized - archives of the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, the current project aims to analyze how the most important collection for national archaeology in Belgium took shape in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Tying in with some major debates in the field, we will scrutinize slow but sure processes of institutionalization, professionalization, and ideologization, by identifying the actors and institutions involved in "backyard archaeology", the techniques that were developed, and the link with nationalism and imperialism.

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  • Research Project