VU Universiteit, faculty of Humanities, is the only faculty in Europe that, departing from a spatial perspective, offers an interdisciplinary programme problematizing the tensions between maintenance, memory and renewal in the transformation of heritage. The interdisciplinary approach leads to new insights in the opportunities to give heritage a position in spatial planning processes that will determine the future appearance of European cities and regions.
Most people find heritage essential as a carrier of their environment and consider it an unmistakable part of culture. They see a connection between the visual and material features of objects, ensembles and structures, and the people as their creators and rememberers. This connection can be strengthened by the dissemination of knowledge, access to space and memory cultures, documenting, presenting. These actions can be worthwhile as such, but also in complex transformation processes, in which remembrance, business, governance and policy are at stake. It may even be that not all memories and remembrance events are welcome, but need to be integrated. The landscape of memory is freckled with obstacles and contested sites.
The spatial and memory approach is the general denominator of the international master Heritage Studies. Space is understood as a visually and socially localized entity and as such a deposit of old(er) historical layers and historical (sometimes painful) events. Memory is fused with sites or stored in institutions, nations, groups or individuals.
The staff of the master includes architectural historians, archaeologists, historians and historical geographers. Staff-members are connected to research within the interfaculty heritage research institute CLUE+, aiming at initiating, developing and exchange of research into the changing shape and meaning of space and memory processes and practices in the built environment and cultural landscapes.