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Programme:

Preserving Endangered Culture

Our aim is to ensure knowledge of the world’s cultural diversity is not lost. Our grants support the documentation of endangered cultural heritage, ensuring it is available to future generations.

We recognize that change is part of the historical processes that shape our cultures, and that true loss of heritage occurs only if we miss the opportunity to record it. Much of the world’s cultural and historical heritage remains poorly known, receives little protection, and is at risk of erasure, leaving our perception of history and culture impoverished and distorted.

Our grants support digital documentation of unique written materials, artefacts, sites, practices and languages which are poorly recorded and under imminent threat. We primarily fund documentation outside Europe and North America, where the need is greatest and resources are most limited. Our projects create partnerships with local organizations and institutions able to secure long term preservation and free access to the records.


Focus Areas

Archives and manuscripts

Our grants help digitize at-risk collections. These can include anything written, from ancient religious texts to official state documents, as well as photographs, audio and video recordings, and even born-digital material. Since 2002 we have supported initiatives that together have digitized and published online more than 10.5 million pages of materials that would not have been available otherwise.

Intangible culture

We support documentation of endangered languages and cultural practices. Our long-standing programme to record at-risk languages has so far documented more than 450 languages around the world. We also help to digitally record endangered traditional practices, knowledge and skills.

Heritage sites

We help to document archaeological sites and buildings. We currently support projects that document heritage sites in Sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan and Northern India, the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, China and Nepal. The documentation varies from records based on satellite imagery, to extensive on-the-ground documentation and 3D scans of buildings and the objects they contain.


    • Marka Dafing women spinning wild silk

      Our new grant to the British Museum will support EMKP for an additional seven years.

    • MAREA Tocra Libya

      The Maritime Endangered Archaeology project (MarEA) records and assess threats to archaeology along a 55,000 km coastline.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Heritage sites
      Grantee: University of Southampton
    • Case Study: 10 September 2020

      Recording the world's endangered languages

      ELDP Sophie Mu speaking to Mutu He

      The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme supports linguists in recording at-risk languages.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Intangible culture
      Grantee: School of Oriental and African Studies
    • 1 Khirbat al Samra

      The rich archaeological heritage of the Middle East and North Africa is under threat from agricultural development, urban expansion, warfare and looting.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus: Heritage sites
      Grantee: University of Oxford, School of Archaeology
    • Tumsukly Minara caravanserai

      The Central Asian Archaeological Landscape (CAAL) project works to document, digitize and help protect Central Asia’s rich archaeological heritage.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Heritage sites
      Grantee: University College London
    • Homepage Culture

      Many of these buildings contain wall paintings illustrating stories from Chinese folk beliefs, Buddhism and Taoism.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus: Heritage Sites
      Grantee: University College London - Institute of Archaeology
    • Yakah Bahah

      Creating an online database of sites and monuments in the Kathmandu Valley.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Heritage sites
      Grantee: Heidelberg University
    • Hill Museum case study

      Digitizing manuscript collections in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and making them freely accessible.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Archives and manuscripts
      Grantee: Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
    • Case Study: 21 September 2020

      Digitizing endangered archives

      British Library Endangered Archives case study

      The Endangered Archives Programme supports projects to digitize neglected, vulnerable or inaccessible archives around the world.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Archives and manuscripts
      Grantee: British Library
    • Case Study: 10 September 2020

      Maldives Heritage Survey

      SURVEY TEAM ON THE REMAINS OF A BUDDHIST MOUND SITE AT ISDHOO LAAMU ATOLL

      The island nation of the Maldives is an important site on the maritime crossroads of the Indian Ocean.

      Programme: Preserving endangered culture
      Focus area: Heritage sites
      Grantee: University of Oxford, Centre for Islamic Studies
    • Dr Arthur Dudney
      Cultural Grants Manager

      Arthur manages Arcadia’s cultural grants. He was previously a research fellow at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and a teaching fellow at SOAS. He holds a PhD from Columbia University’s Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, and an AB from Princeton University’s Department of Classics.

      Arthur dudney
    • Dr Mike Heyworth
      Consultant to Cultural Programmes

      Mike works as a consultant as part of the culture team. He is an archaeologist by training and was previously the executive director of the Council for British Archaeology. He is now a consultant working with a range of archaeology and heritage groups across the UK. He holds a PhD from the University of Bradford in archaeological science.

      Dr Mike Heyworth
  • Total awarded since 2002:
    $
    million
    % of Arcadia’s total giving:
    %
    Number of active grants:
    Number of grants:
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