The Thrill of the Dark: Heritages of Fear, Fascination and Fantasy is jointly organised by:

Department of Ethnology, Stockholm University, Sweden

Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy, University of Illinois, USA

Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham, UK

About the partners


The Department of Ethnology, Stockholm University

The Department of Ethnology at Stockholm University primarily focus on Swedish contexts, with tools and models for analysis derived from international theory of culture and society. At Stockholm University, research in critical heritage is one of the profile areas. The department host the Bachelor program in Museum and Heritage Studies that focus on how the past is presented at museums, and critically studies how history is used from the perspective of today.

Critical Heritage Studies Network at Stockholm University is the meeting and information platform for researchers interested in critical heritage studies. It is the result of the university’s interdisciplinary priority focus on heritage studies, and its international collaborations within the same field. Critical Heritage Studies Network welcome intern and extern participants, contacts and dialogues. The goal of CHSN is to enhance the focus on how heritage is viewed and used today, by creating a strong and durable network that will unite scholars, researchers and students from different fields.

Department of Ethnology/ERG website:

Critical Heritage Studies network website:


illinoisCollaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy, University of Illinois

CHAMP (Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy) is a teaching and research unit at the University of Illinois. CHAMP offers coursework in support of its interdisciplinary graduate minors in Heritage Studies and in Museum Studies. It serves as an umbrella for faculty in more than a dozen departments who work on heritage related issues across the globe. CHAMP has published 6 edited volumes arising from conferences it has organized (Cultural Heritage and Human Rights, 2007; Intangible Heritage Embodied, 2009; Contested Cultural Heritage, 2011; On Location-Heritage Cities and Sites, 2012; Cultural Heritage Politics in China, 2013; Heritage in Action, 2017) and 2 edited volumes from conferences co-organized with its partners, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham (Encounters with Popular Pasts, edited by Mike Robinson and Helaine Silverman, 2015) and Critical Heritage Studies Network at Stockholm University (Heritage of Death, edited by Mattias Frihammar and Helaine Silverman, 2018)



Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham

Founded over 30 years ago, the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) is a focal point for cross-disciplinary research, postgraduate teaching and policy engagement. Based at the University of Birmingham, the Institute is a partnership between one of Britain’s leading universities and the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, which administers the largest independent museum in Europe and the World Heritage Site of the Ironbridge Gorge. Both organisations share a commitment to quality research, innovative education, creativity and engagement with the international heritage sector and the wider public.

Heritage, as a way in which cultures and societies value, represent and understand the past, is widely recognised not only as an increasingly important resource, which is produced, exhibited and consumed, but also as an essential element in shaping, projecting and challenging identities from the level of the individual to that of the nation state. IIICH is committed to advancing our understandings of cultural heritage and the multiple and dynamic relationships it shares with societies and communities, economies and spaces.

We understand cultural heritage not only as material culture, tangibly present in formalised and structured environments such as museums, galleries and landscapes, but also in intangible ways as in rituals, performances, stories and memories. We seek to better understand the various and complex processes by which heritage is produced and consumed, how it changes, how it is managed and interpreted and how it is mediated and received, from the personal and the local, to the level of ‘World’ heritage.

Our aims are:

  • To provide a welcoming intellectual home and a creative environment for the critical, trans-disciplinary study of cultural heritage which offers new, challenging and trans-national perspectives on the ways in which tangible and intangible heritage is understood, represented, managed and mobilised in different cultures and societies;
  • To undertake quality research that is policy relevant and theoretically challenging and to actively engage with the international academic and policy communities and the heritage / heritage-related sectors;
  • To deliver research informed, high quality, postgraduate education that links theoretical understanding with practice and relevance;
  • To facilitate opportunities for cross-disciplinary and trans-international exchange on all aspects of heritage via conferences, workshops and seminars.