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Working Group

Chair: Jeremy Upton

Jeremy Upton is the Director of Library and University Collections at the University of Edinburgh, a post he took up in 2015.  His remit covers library and museum collections including the world renowned musical instrument collection held at St Cecilia’s Hall. Jeremy started his professional library career as a music librarian before moving in to general University Library Management. Prior to working in Edinburgh, he was Deputy Director of the library at the University of St Andrews.


Vice-Chair: Giuliana Tomasella

Giuliana Tomasella is full professor at the University of Padua (Italy); she teaches Museology and History of Collecting; History of Art Criticism. She is currently the Director of the University Museums Centre. She is member of the scientific committee of the Museo d’Arte Orientale di Ca’ Pesaro of Venice and is part of  the scientific committee of the forthcoming Museo della Natura e dell’Uomo (Museum of the Nature and Man) of the University of Padua. Her studies have focused on the relationships between art and politics during the Fascist period. Recently, her research is focalising on the problem of the image of the Black in European art, during the colonial period.


Focus of Working Group

The Working Group brings together researchers and practitioners working the area of cultural heritage across the Coimbra Group institutions to:

  • Understand better the unique role of heritage and the contribution it can make to the work and culture of Universities and the wider community. With their long history, many universities museums and collections had and have a very close alignment with the evolution of their towns and wider regions.
  • Identify where the membership of the Coimbra Group institutions can make a distinctive contribution to the wider discussion of heritage related issues.
  • Provide a network for individuals active in the area of cultural heritage at the Coimbra Group universities to develop their ideas and work on joint projects.

Recent highlights

  • Online Collections platform (https://www.coimbra-group.eu/collections/). We have established a new site to host an online database containing information on the collections held by the Coimbra Group institutions. Each institution in the Coimbra Group has been invited to contribute information about their own collections. The site allows researchers to identify related collections held by institutions across Europe and provides an excellent environment for joint working. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of maintaining a strong digital presence so that our communities can continue to engage with their culture. We are planning to develop the platform further to provide opportunities for institutions to develop shared storytelling and exhibitions online.
  • Survey on the impact of Covid-19 on University Museums: The Group has gathered information on how university museums have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and how they have adapted their services. The project is being led by Professor Giuliana Tomasella from the University of Padua. The outputs from this project will form part of the wider Coimbra Group report on the impact of Covid-19 on universities.

Ongoing/forthcoming activities

  • Conference on Colonized Objects, Würzburg, Spring 2022. We are organising a conference jointly with colleagues from the Development Cooperation Working Group around the theme of decolonialisation. The aim is to hold the conference in Würzburg Spring 2022, to sharpen our view on cultural heritage from this critical point of view. The context for the conference will be BLM, migration and the place of migrants in culture. There will be an opportunity explore the topic from various national perspectives.
  • Building Bridges: Heritage Scientific Instruments. The Heritage Working Group is supporting a piece of work being led by Professor Muriel Guedj from the University of Montpellier. The aim of this project is to explore the possibilities of using our collections of historic scientific instruments to support innovative learning and to increase the visibility of cultural heritage of the Coimbra Group universities with the help of Digital technologies. The intention is to link this work and its outputs with the Heritage Group online platform.

Contact person at the CG Office: Emmanuelle Gardan (gardan@coimbra-group.eu)