50 years

Culture and Heritage

Thursday 19 January 2012, 6:00pm
The Royal Institution of Great Britain, London

Preserving our material and cultural legacy

This debate will explore how we define the material heritage of the past two hundred years and how we decide what to value and preserve. It will pose the questions of what the government's role is in supporting and subsidising this responsibility and how the creative arts of drama, poetry and music can help us to think about ways of valuing and memorialising post-industrial Britain.


Sir Vernon Ellis is Chair of the British Council. He previously held a number of senior operational roles at Accenture, focused on global activities. Since the end of 2005 he has been Chairman of English National Opera and is involved in several other musical organisations.


Dame Fiona Reynolds OBE is Director-General of the National Trust. She was previously Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office and Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England and Secretary to the Council for National Parks.

Sir Neil Cossons OBE is Pro-Provost and Chairman of the Council of the Royal College of Art. Previously, he was Director of the Science Museum, Ironbridge Museum and National Maritime Museum and Chairman of English Heritage.

Ekow Eshun is the former Director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. He regularly features on TV and radio programmes including BBC 2’s The Review Show, The Daily Politics show, Radio 4’s Saturday Review and Front Row. He has written and presented several documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4 including Living on the Line, winner of Best Documentary, One World Media Awards, 2000. Currently, he sits on the board of the Arts Council England, and is Chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing the most prestigious public art programme in the UK.

Sussex Respondents:

Professor Maurice Howard is a Professor of Art History at Sussex and is the President of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a leading organisation in heritage research and policy-advising. He is currently contributing to exhibitions and displays at the Victoria and Albert Museum and is part of a team exploring the technical processes of the making of Tudor portraits at the National Portrait Gallery.

Professor Peter Boxall has been teaching English at Sussex since 1999, having completed his doctorate here. His research focuses on the relationship between aesthetics and politics in modernist and contemporary writing. He has written books on Samuel Beckett and Don DeLillo, and is now writing a wide ranging book on the contemporary novel, entitled Twenty-First Century Fiction. He is currently the editor of Textual Practice.

Professor Sally-Jane Norman is a Professor of Performance Technologies, and the Director of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts at Sussex. She is interested in performing arts and technology, the history of scenography and theatre architectures, and in the inherent theatricality of interactive and distributed technological systems.