Interpretation and Heritage Architecture

Interpretation and Heritage Architecture: unpicking entanglements between artefact and interpretation in heritage architecture

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023


Hobart, Launceston

Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

In contemporary approaches to the protection, conservation, or adaptation of heritage sites and buildings, efforts aimed towards the preservation of material fabric and architectural integrity of the heritage artefact are complemented by the construction of a parallel edifice of evaluation and interpretation. The components of this edifice include the heritage surveys, documentations, and assessments that underpin heritage listings and conservation management plans; explanatory and interpretive texts that narrate authorised stories of buildings and places to users and visitors; and diverse mediations across a broad landscape of reception, ranging across embodied experiences, visual representations, and textual accounts. Out of these multiple layers of interpretation coalesce the meanings and significance of the heritage object, as do the duties and obligations imposed on its custodians and inheritors.

This project aims to discern and critically unpick the entanglement between these two edifices: the heritage artefact as a spatial and material presence in time and place; and the discursive construction of its interpretations. Informed by theoretical perspectives from critical heritage studies, experimental preservation, and new materialism, drawing on case studies and local histories, and given concreteness through a network of heritage sites, the study intends to recuperate the sensuous encounter and disciplinary autonomy of the built thing in situ; while also illuminating how meaning is assembled and circulated through the layerings of interpretation. The study also seeks to mobilise this re-articulation in relation to strategies, tactics and policies relevant to the preservation, restoration, adaptation, and management of heritage buildings, potentially through an operative or practice-based component.

This research project is located within the New Heritage Laboratory in the School of Architecture and Design, dedicated to advancing research on temporality in architecture. The lab, while broadly aligned with architectural humanities, accommodates a range of qualitative, quantitative, creative, and participatory research methodologies, including research-by-design approaches

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Andrew Steen


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to domestic and international applicants that satisfy University standards for English language. Those with relevant practice experience are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Research capacity
  • Writing capacity

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with architectural heritage

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Andrew Steen to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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