Heritage, urban studies and development

This cross-College research theme (College of Arts, College of Social Science, College of Science and Engineering) explores sustainability and resilience in urban contexts. There is a special focus on the challenges confronting heritage-minority communities in the context of their built environment, economic development, and well-being.

Heritage-minority communities can include people like the Hindu deity-sculptors of Kumartuli in Kolkata, and Siliguri (West Bengal, India) and of Dhaka and Barisal in Bangladesh; the tiny Baghdadi Jewish community of Kolkata, and other dwindling and declining diaspora peoples in that city, especially the Armenian and Chinese. There are also the Jewish heritage sites of Kerala. These are peoples and communities of a minority heritage that are not necessarily either ethnic minorities or cultural minorities: the challenges therefore present differently from those that affect ethnic and cultural minorities.

The objective of this theme is to bring together specialists in heritage, urban planning, development economics, environmental sustainability, disaster risk reduction, and migration studies. Our aim is to identify ways of enriching the existing research environment in heritage and urban studies, and to develop a sustainable University of Glasgow network in these fields from which new themes of collaborative research can emerge.



Wednesday 4 November, 1200 to 1315 hrs 

  • John Reuben Davies (School of Humanities, College of Arts): The heritage-minority communities of Kolkata
  • Ophira Gamliel (School of Critical Studies, College of Arts): The lost Jew Town of Cochin
  • Preeti Dagar (School of Education, College of Social Sciences): Sustainable livelihoods and social integration through skills development for urban refugees

Can the increased visibility of cultural heritage – the entire gamut of performative elements, folklore, craft-lore, rituals – diminish the trauma and threats to cultural memory, belief-systems, and overall well-being that result from internal displacement and migration? How can fundamentally different heritage-minority communities survive – even grow – in a homogenising and identity-politicised urban world while also highlighting their diversity? What are the effects of intersecting gender, class, ethnic, racial and religious identities of refugees on their employment opportunities, social freedoms and livelihood outcomes? This workshop will address these and other questions in the context of Indian urban settings. Three short presentations will seek to stimulate further ideas, discussions and collaborative work.

To register, please email john.r.davies@glasgow.ac.uk



Thursday 10 December, 1500 to 1630 hrs

Joint event with the Urban Studies Seminar Series.

  • Dr Michael Rapport (University of Glasgow): Close-quarters Living, Tuberculosis and Urban Renewal in Belle Époque Paris
  • Dr Bishnupriya Basak (University of Calcutta): Kumartuli – the Making of Heritage, Art and Public in an Indian Cityscape
  • Professor Samir Kumar Das (University of Calcutta): Pandemic and Pratimashilpa: Negotiating Heritage in Times of Crisis

Register via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/124291093005

For further details, go to


Associated Staff