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Heritage and culture

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We undertake research to understand our past and the impact of cultural activity on society.

Our historians are involved in the excavation of a hillfort on Ham Hill Somerset, a £500k project that will transform understanding of those early communities. Other excavations have taken place at Caerleon, Warwickshire, Bavaria, Egypt and Crete.

Our research developed preservation strategies for iron which have been adopted by English Heritage and the British Museum, amongst others, and have been used to preserve Brunel's iron ship SS Great Britain, now an international heritage attraction and significant contributor to local and national economies.

We inform policy on preserving our past, advising the National Heritage Science Forum Transitional Board and the Welsh Federation of Museums and Arts Galleries.

We also invest in it. In 2010 we secured £1.2million (with HEFCW and the Welsh Government) to purchase the Cardiff Rare Books collections, 14,000 titles of prime research resource for the Humanities. An additional £250,000 has been secured to enhance the utility of the collection. A collection of Hispanic Comics and Graphic Literature is preserved due to a grant from the Santander Universities Program.

In recent years creative writing has become a nucleus of research, supported by a team of published creative writers of fiction, poetry and drama. English Literature is one of our key areas of engagement in the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Programme which will invest £14.2m over 5 years.

Our School of Welsh has undertaken a major AHRC project on the Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. Professor Sioned Davies' translation and research into the Mabinogion has become the stimulus for a range of innovative acts of presentation, telling and reception in English language creative writing, heritage management and tourism, and contemporary storytelling.

Composers at our School of Music have released CDs of their new compositions in the last 12 months, with performances in New York, London and Venice. The Schools specialisms range from historically informed performance practice, British music since 1945, psychedelic experimentation in California and speech surrogacy in Nigeria.