01.06.2016 um 18:00

Nigel Walter

The English Parish Church - Conservation, Community, Cultural Threshold

Nigel Walter is a Cambridge trained specialist conservation architect and director of Archangel Architects, a practice whose focus is church buildings old and new, of all listings and none. Alongside his practice, Nigel is currently re-searching a PhD in Conservation at the University of York, looking at change, narrative and the community ownership of historic buildings. He has been appointed to the Church of England’s Church Buldings Council, and is also a research associate at the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at York. Much of Nigel’s work involves finding ways to enable non-professionals to reconnect with their historic buildings, particularly communal ones such as churches. He keeps one foot in the world of practice and the other in the world of academia, and is happiest when building bridges between the two. Historic churches play a prominent role in conservation; in England, almost half of grade 1 listed buildings are churches. They are also buildings that typically have changed with each generation, in most cases resulting in a deeply layered intergenerational history. Significant declines in church attendance, liturgical change and a new understanding of their community role mean that pressures for change are as great now as they have ever been. Churches therefore present an excellent and urgent focus for the examination of the wider issue of how we deal with change in the historic environment. This talk introduces the particular place that churches play in this debate, bringing together theory and practice to reflect more broadly on the desirability of change and the role the non-expert plays in conservation decision-making.