School of History, Classics & Archaeology

New project explores AI in the cultural heritage sector

The HAZEL project is a collaboration - led by Dr Chiara Bonacchi - between the Heritage Minds Lab at The University of Edinburgh and experts at Historic England.

Historic England's 'Advice Finder' is an extensive and important service, offering free expert guidance to help people care for and protect historic places. At the pilot stage, the new HAZEL will provide text summarisation and analysis capabilities to support those producing advice documents, offering suggestions for enhancing and extending content. These suggestions might include updating language to improve inclusivity and tone or making changes that would ensure compatibility with text-to-speech software, and other accessibility tools.

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 within the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, said, "We are delighted to launch this new research collaboration with Historic England on the HAZEL project, funded by Historic England’s Digital Innovation Fund. Alongside the technical development work, the team will be ‘interviewing’ generative AI models to critically assess the ethical implications of creating HAZEL and its potential impact on the organisational culture, voice and discourse of Historic England and on heritage-making practices more broadly."

The HAZEL Team consists of Dr Chiara Bonacchi (PI, University of Edinburgh); Dr Jessica Witte (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Project Manager; University of Edinburgh); Edmund Lee and Lisa Brausem (CIs, Historic England); in collaboration with Dr Terrie Lynn Thompson (University of Stirling) and Daniel Pett (Historic England).


Find out more:

Heritage Minds website