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  • Writer's pictureLinda Andrews - Editorial Assistant, Nuse Online

York Academics Awarded New Year's Honours 2024

Two University of York academics have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours. Professor Julian Richards has been awarded an OBE, while Professor Rachel Cowgill has been awarded an MBE.

Professor Julian Richards has been awarded an OBE for services to Heritage and Digital Archiving, while Professor Rachel Cowgill has been awarded an MBE for services to Culture, Education and the Arts.

Julian Richards is a professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York and Director of the Archaeology Data Service, the national digital data archive for archaeological research.

Professor Richards specialises in the archaeology of Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age England and is a leading expert on applications of information science in archaeology.

Professor Richards said: "I am thrilled to receive this award, particularly as it recognises the importance of digital archiving. In archaeology when we excavate a site we destroy it and the archive provides the only record of the past, preserving key information for the future. Those archives are increasingly digital, but also very fragile."

“In York we have pioneered digital data preservation for over 25 years and have become world leaders, making our data archives freely available online for all to use. I've been fortunate to have worked with some amazing people and thank them all for their support over the years."

Rachel Cowgill is a Professor of Music in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies at the University of York. Her research explores music’s relationships with culture, place and history, and covers a wide range of genres, from ragtime and street ballads to opera and oratorio. She is interested in the traces left by musical performances through history, and her recent InterMusE project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), focused on community digital-archiving of ephemera such as concert programmes and reviews, as well as individual and collective memories.

Professor Cowgill also initiated and co-led StreetLife, an interdisciplinary project funded by the Government’s Community Renewal Fund to breathe new life into York’s historic Coney Street. The project team has worked closely with partners and the local community to revitalise empty shops and venues, creating a pop-up hub, workshops, apprenticeships, and a number of job opportunities across the heritage and creative sectors.

Professor Cowgill said: “I am delighted to receive this award, which recognises the value of culture and the arts at a time when the performing arts in particular are being undermined by funding cuts, and schools are disincentivised from providing sustained and inclusive opportunities for young people to develop creatively."

“I have exceptionally talented, incredibly supportive colleagues at York, and I’m particularly proud of our community-led research drawing on the musical heritage of York to shape its future and our work to put creativity and local communities at the heart of regeneration projects in our city.”

Professor Duncan Petrie, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of York, added: “It is fantastic to see Rachel and Julian’s work recognised with an MBE and an OBE. They are both outstanding researchers who have made extensive contributions to their fields."

“Rachel and Julian are inspirational colleagues who have dedicated themselves to projects with far-reaching impacts on their academic disciplines and the wider community, embodying the innovation, creativity and public service that characterises York research.”


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