Climate Emergency ‘Deep Dive’

This deep dive event addressed the climate emergency societal challenge by bringing people together from different communities of interest to discuss the state of the challenge in 2024, the work that the heritage science sector is already doing to address the climate emergency, and gaps to be addressed by future research.

A summary of the event is now available here, CLIMATE EMERGENCY EVENT SUMMARY (pdf), and can you can access the presentations from the links in the programme below.


24 January 2024, 10.00-16.00 (UK time)

Online (Zoom) and in-person at the Mathematical Society, De Morgan House, 57-58 Russell Square, London WC1B 4HS.

The National Heritage Science Forum (NHSF) has identified five societal challenges to inspire and encourage connections between heritage science research and five issues of importance to society.

One of these challenges is the climate emergency. For the heritage science sector, the challenge is to:

“Collaborate with environmental science and social science to both extend our understanding of the impact of a changing climate on heritage whilst also using knowledge derived from the study of heritage assets to address the climate emergency and deliver progress against the UK’s net zero targets.”

This deep dive event picked up that challenge by bringing people together from different communities of interest to discuss the state of the challenge in 2024, the work that the heritage science sector is already doing to address the climate emergency, and gaps to be addressed by future research.

Click the links below to see slides for each presentation. More will be made available soon.


10.00 Welcome - Dr Constantina Vlachou

10.15 Keynote speech: Climate Change and Heritage - Prof. Peter Brimblecombe

10.45 Q&A

Addressing the climate emergency:

11.00 Risk - Introduction from Dr Scott Allan Orr 'Current perspectives on risks of climate change for cultural heritage', followed by flash presentations from members

11.55 Mitigation - Introduction from Dr Hana Morel followed by flash presentations from members 

12.50 Lunch

13.30 NHSF AGM (members) (link to papers)

14.00 Adaptation - Introduction from Kate Guest and flash presentations from members 

14.55 Roundtable discussion - Facilitated by Dr Josep Grau-Bove

15.30 Wrap up and next steps including formation of three online groups to work over the following 6 weeks to identify research challenges for each of the three pillars of risk, mitigation, adaptation.

16.00 Close


FOLLOW-ON WORK to identify research gaps and priorities for future research.

We’re interested in your views on research challenges for each of the three pillars of risk, mitigation and adaptation.

We’ve identified seven prompt questions for each pillar (some of the questions apply to all the pillars) and have been promoting a different question each week (through our new LinkedIn page as well as X @HertSci_UK and our newsletter). Although the phase of active promotion and review has now finished, contributions to the padlet are still welcome. 

How to contribute

We’ve set up an online noticeboard which holds all the questions. Link: Heritage Science and Climate Emergency padlet

You can add suggestions, links to resources, or anything else you think is useful by typing in the ‘add comment’ box below a question. You are welcome to contribute to any question at any time. You don’t have to login to the padlet platform to contribute, but if you want to include your name/ organisation as part of the text it will help us to understand who is contributing.

Please sign-up to the NHSF newsletter to receive further information.

Questions can be sent to Caroline Peach at


Speaker biographies:

Prof Peter Brimblecombe was born in Australia and went to university in Auckland, New Zealand completing a PhD in atmospheric chemistry.  He spent some four decades at the School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia led to research on long-term changes in urban air pollution and effects on health, buildings and our heritage. He has written a number of books, perhaps most notably the historical work, The Big Smoke.  In recent years he has shifted focus to environmental issues in Asia working at City University of Hong Kong and National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan. He currently holds emeritus professorships at both the University of East Anglia and National Sun Yat-Sen University.

His current interests are:

  • Long term changes in air pollution
  • Effect of air pollution regulation and changing social attitudes on the urban atmosphere
  • Climate, air pollution and urban microenvironments 
  • Climate, air pollution and the heritage environment

Dr Scott Allan Orr has been a lecturer in Heritage Data Science at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage (within the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy, and Resources) since 2019. He leads the Heritage, Environmental Risk, and Data Analytics (HERADA) group, an interdisciplinary research team focused on assessing environmental risks for heritage, with an emphasis on sustainable management. His research leverages data analytics and data science approaches, particularly existing and open access resources, underpinned by a passion for demonstrating the role of heritage in tackling society's grand challenges, such as climate change, technological transformations, and social justice. He currently leads on several projects related to climate change and heritage, and will shortly commence leading a Belmont Forum-funded consortium project "Multiscale approaches and scalability within climate-heritage risk assessments".

Dr Paul Lankester is Climate Resilience Lead at English Heritage, leading on understanding the impact of climate change on over 400 historic sites, and advising on adaptation measures to make those sites climate resilient.

Dr William Deadman is a landscape archaeologist interested primarily in the Middle East, particularly eastern Arabia. His expertise is in survey, GIS and remote sensing. He is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Endangered Archaeological in the Middle East and North Africa project ( at Durham University.

Dr Jenny Richards holds a Career Development Fellowship at St John's College, University of Oxford and is a researcher in the School of Geography and the Environment, also at the University of Oxford. She read Geography (BA Hons) at the University of Oxford before completing her MRes at University College London and DPhil at University of Oxford. Her PhD was undertaken in collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute and the Dunhuang Academy to study the role of wind and rain as drivers of deterioration of earthen heritage in dryland environments.

In her research, she combines field and lab work with computational modelling to assess how changes in climate may influence deterioration processes and the effectiveness of potential conservation strategies. She has an ongoing collaboration with plant scientists from the charity Plantlife, assessing the future resilience of commonly used nature-based conservation strategies at sites in the UK. Additionally, she has a strong interest in exploring and improving the effectiveness of climate model outputs for understanding future climate risks to heritage.

Helen Thomas is a collaborative doctoral student between Historic England and the Institute for Sustainable Heritage at UCL. Her doctoral research aims to develop a scalable methodology for conducting geospatial multi-determinant climate change risk assessment for the historic environment. She is also currently working on creating a standardised climate change hazard vocabulary for cultural heritage. Helen is part of the research group Heritage Environmental Risk and Data Analytics (HERADA) at UCL and is an affiliate member of the UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings.

Dr Hana Morel has over a decade of working across heritage, sustainability and policy in the UK and abroad. Her areas of interest include urban archaeology, planning, and exploring the role of heritage critically alongside international agendas and its contribution towards global challenges (with particular focus on climate action).

She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the University College London, and has been MOLA's Sustainability and Advocacy Lead for the past year. Other positions include acting as researcher for the Alliance for Cultural Heritage in Europe (ARCHE project), and Scientific Coordinator of the International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change - a project that brought together ICOMOS, UNESCO and the IPCC, with ICLEI and IUCN as partners.

Dr David Thickett is Senior Conservation Scientist at English Heritage.

Jen Stone is the Sustainability Programme Manager for Historic Royal Palaces. She is responsible for delivering HRP's nature positive, net zero ambitions. A relative newcomer to heritage, Jen spent 16 years working for the John Lewis Partnership in a variety of roles, most recently mapping supply chains and raw material routes.

Pedro Maximo Rocha currently works as a Senior Conservation Scientist at The National Archives (TNA) specialising in preservation and documentation. Pedro oversees the Preventive team and research that contributes to TNA's preservation strategy and adherence to standards. With an academic journey rooted in Civil Engineering, Pedro earned a Master's specialising in Building Information Modelling (BIM) from the University of Porto, fostering a deep interest in using digital technologies.

Pedro's dedication to preserving cultural heritage sparked during a pivotal volunteering experience with Rekrei/Project Mosul in 2016, where he engaged in digitising and reconstructing lost artworks from conflict zones in Iraq and Syria. This propelled Pedro into the interdisciplinary MRes in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) at UCL, with a dissertation on imaging technologies and their application in heritage conservation. Pedro continued his academic path with a PhD in Conservation Engineering at the department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at UCL. Pedro's thesis focused on imaging and mechanical testing to quantify strain in historic tapestries. Simultaneously, Pedro engaged with RestART Beirut, contributing as a Scientific Advisor.

Lorraine Finch is Director of LFCP, which is accelerating the cultural heritage sector's climate and environmental actions through research, knowledge sharing and resource creation.

Lorraine is a sustainability leader who advocates on the international stage for sustainability in cultural heritage participating in conferences, leading workshops and training, publishing books and articles and collaborating with leaders in the field in the USA and Europe.

Lorraine is founder and Chair of the Institute of Conservation's Sustainability Network. In recognition, she was presented with a David Middleton Sustainability Award. Lorraine is a Director of Climate Museum UK and an accredited conservator of archives, photographs, film and sound.

Kate Guest is a Senior Policy Adviser in the Climate Change team within Historic England's Policy Development Department, She has worked in Historic England, and previously English Heritage, for over 10 years in various policy roles, including a year's secondment to DCMS in the Heritage Policy team.

Dr Katherine Shingler is project manager for heritage and climate at the National Trust. She works on developing the National Trust's adaptation guidance, in collaboration with UK heritage partners, and works closely with the International National Trusts Organisation in twinning National Trust sites with international heritage organisations working on climate change adaptation.

Dr Caroline Cartwright is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Scientific Research at the British Museum. Her primary areas of scientific expertise include the identification and interpretation of wood, charcoal, fibres, macro plant remains, shell, ivory and bone in the British Museum's collections, including from archaeological excavations. She has led many teams of archaeobotanists, archaeozoologists and human osteologists on archaeological projects in various parts of the world including the Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean and Europe. Reconstructing past environments, charting vegetation and climate changes, and investigating bioarchaeological evidence from sites and data, all form an important part of her research.

Emily Prtak - Emily serves as the Project Manager overseeing JBA's collaboration with Historic England on the 'review of climate change and heritage research' project. Her role as a Climate and Sustainability Analyst at JBA involves close collaboration with the organisation's Heritage team. Emily's professional expertise centers around natural capital accounting, climate resilience, and environmental data analysis. Her academic foundation lies in Iron Age archaeology, writing archaeological disciplinary history, and archival research. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors (Archaeology) and a Masters of Research in Archaehology, both earned from the University of Liverpool.