Senior Research Officer

REbuilding a sense of PLACE (REPLACE): The socio-cultural role of 3D technologies in increasing community resilience after natural disasters is a research project based in the School of Philosophy and Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies Centre. It is funded by UKRI and will run for four years. The aim of this project is to increase community resilience after natural disasters by advancing our understanding of the socio-cultural role 3D technologies can play in rebuilding a Sense of Place, thus enabling communities to prepare for, respond to, recover from, mitigate the effects, and adapt to natural disasters.

This is a post for a Human Geographer, Architect or cognate discipline with expertise research related to Sense of Place, who will contribute to research at the intersection between Sense of Place, Heritage, and Resilience in the context of natural disasters. 

High-definition 3D technologies (e.g. laser scanning, photogrammetry, 3D modelling) have been recognised as having great potential to help recover tangible aspects of heritage (monuments and buildings) for some time. However, there is now an urgent need to advance knowledge on how additional 3D technologies (e.g. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, 3D printing, Mixed Reality) can go beyond reconstruction and replication to help communities to recover their intangible heritance and Sense of Place. This is defined as the significance and values that communities attach to specific multi-sensory aspects of their home location and cultural heritage, and how these define the identity of that community. The project will advance a new research area at the intersection of Digital Heritage, Human Geography, Cognitive Psychology and Anthropology.

REPLACE will conduct an ethnographic study and compare several communities in Italy, a country that has regularly been hit by earthquakes in recent years. Proficient knowledge of Italian is therefore an essential requirement for this post.

The post-holder will be part of a research team led by the PI and consisting of two PDRAs, a project officer to provide administrative support, and two collaborators from the digital and creative industrial sector.

Of particular relevance for REPLACE are studies concerned with the role of heritage in the conceptualisation of Sense of Place (e.g. Ashworth and Graham 2005), psychological works about disruptions in place attachment (e.g. Brown and Perkins 1992; Giuliani 2003), and recent studies in human geography that help to define place as an embodied, multi-layered experience of the physical environment (following Merleau-Ponty; Ash and Simpson 2016, 2019). REPLACE will also study the effects of immersive environments on people’s conceptualisation and understanding of Sense of Place, in the context of natural disasters. 

The post-holder will have expertise in these areas and will conduct research related to them and support the other members of the research team based on their expert knowledge.

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