Dr Qian Gao
BA, MA, PhD
|Assistant Professor in the Department of Archaeology|
I joined Durham University in summer 2021 as an Assitant Professor in Museums and Heritage. I am an early-career researcher with research experience that combines archaeology, museum and heritage studies. I worked at the University of Stirling (UK) between 2017 and 2021, first as a postdoctoral research fellow, and from 2018 as an Anniversary Fellow (full-time postdoctoral position). Before this, I completed a PhD, MA and BA at the University of Barcelona (Spain), Durham University (UK), and the Communication University of China, respectively.
I specialise in Chinese/Asian heritage and rock art studies, and my research interests include:
- The inter-relationships between the understanding, use, conservation and management of heritage and museums.
- The dynamics between “Eastern” and “Western” heritage expertise in international cooperation.
- The integration between “humanistic” and “scientific” approaches in heritage and museum studies.
- Social value and authenticity in heritage.
- Cultural heritage for inclusive growth in China and beyond.
- Community participation in heritage and museums.
- UNESCO World Heritage.
- Heritage tourism.
- Rock art and rock carvings in southwest China.
I worked with INHERIT, the York Archaeological Trust’s Institute for Heritage & Sustainable Human Development, on the British Council’s “Cultural Heritage for Inclusive Growth (CH4IG)” programme. We developed research to inform the decision of extending the programme to China, and working on a detailed project development plan for the “CH4IG in China” programme. Specifically, I worked on assessing selected pilot project areas, which involved planning with local stakeholders and partners to design and implement place-based CH4IG projects in the programme’s subsequent phases.
My postdoctoral research is breaking new ground in heritage studies transcending disciplinary and cultural boundaries. My research project, “Values Beyond Boundaries,” was fully funded for three years by the University of Stirling’s Anniversary Fellowship. It is an innovative, interdisciplinary study exploring how conservation practices and digital technologies have informed, and been informed by, the social value and authenticity of heritage sites/objects, focusing on rock carvings and rock art sites in China and Scotland. For this project, I am experimenting on integrating scientific/digital methods with participatory community activities and ethnographic approaches to generate cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural comparisons.
My PhD project, “World Heritage, Archaeological Tourism and Social Value in China,” was fully funded for three years by AGAUR, the Government of Catalonia, Spain. It discussed the impact of UNESCO World Heritage designation and tourism development on the social values attached by local communities to archaeological sites in China, centring around the Huashan rock art area and Daming Palace archaeological site, two newly inscribed World Heritage Sites.
Chapter in book
- Gao, Qian (2022). Co-Producing Rock Art Recording with Community Members in Scotland. In Networking for Rock Art: Global Challenges, Local Solutions. Agnew, Neville, Deacon, Janette, Hall, Nicholas, Little, Terry, McClintock, Tom, Robinson, Peter, Sullivan, Sharon & Taçon, Paul Los Angeles: Getty Conservation. 35.
- Xiao, Bo & Gao, Qian (2023). 中国左江花山岩画与老挝巴添岩画的关联性研究 (A Study of the Relationship between the Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art in China and the Pha Taem Rock Art in Laos). 1902 Committee (2): 78-93.
- Gao, Qian & Jones, Siân (2021). Authenticity and heritage conservation: seeking common complexities beyond the ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ dichotomy. International Journal of Heritage Studies 27(1): 90-106.
- Gao, Qian (2017). Social Values and Rock Art Tourism: An Ethnographic Study of the Huashan Rock Art Area (China). Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 19(1): 82-95.
- Gao, Qian (2016). Challenges in Archaeological Tourism in China. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 20(2): 422-436.
- Gao, Qian (2016). Social Values and Archaeological Heritage: An Ethnographic Study of the Daming Palace Archaeological Site (China). European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies 6: 213-234.
- Gao, Qian (2013). The Huashan rock art site (China) – The sacred meeting place for sky, water and earth. Rock Art Research 30(1): 22-32.