School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Dr Chiara Bonacchi awarded Leverhulme Prize in Archaeology

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology was thrilled to learn that Dr Chiara Bonacchi has been named as a winner of a 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prize.

Chiara Bonacchi - she has dark hair tied back, thickly rimmed glasses and smiles at the camera
Dr Chiara Bonacchi

Dr Chiara Bonacchi, Chancellor’s Fellow in Heritage, Text and Data Mining and Senior Lecturer in Heritage, is one of thirty exceptional researchers announced as winners of the 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prize.

Given in recognition of outstanding researchers’ work – which has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising – each winner receives £100,000 which can be used over two or three years to advance their research.

‘It is a great honour to win a Philip Leverhulme Prize,’ Chiara said. ‘I am delighted and grateful to the Trust and to all the researchers who have inspired me and with whom I have been fortunate to collaborate over the years. I am excited about the possibilities that the Prize offers to establish a Heritage, Politics Influence Lab, at the University of Edinburgh, and to take a bold step forward in the transdisciplinary study of divisive and undemocratic practices of production and communication of knowledge about the past, so that they can be counteracted.’ 

Chiara’s recent work has focused on designing and using big data-driven approaches to research contemporary heritage experiences and values. She has pioneered large-scale and comparative studies of the relationships between people’s interactions with the past, their political identities and future thinking. As Co-Investigator Researcher of the AHRC major grant 'Ancient Identities in Modern Britain' (AI), she was the first to analyse ca.60 million social media data points, enabling previously impossible explorations of people's referencing of the past in everyday life, across different cultural and geographic contexts at scale. This work is published in the UCL Press monograph 'Heritage and Nationalism: Understanding populism through big data'.

As PI of the AHRC follow-on project that builds on AI, Chiara is now partnering with nine UK museums/heritage sites to challenge divisive uses of the past through public art installations and education training resources. The Philip Leverhulme Prize will allow her to expand her work through new and high-risk research to understand the links between archaeological communication and the triggering and consolidation of intolerance in contemporary British society.

Everyone at the School sends their warmest congratulations to Chiara on here award.


Dr Chiara Bonacchi’s staff profile  2022 Philip Leverhulme Trust winners  Open Access Monograph 'Heritage and Nationalism: Understanding populism through big data'