for Schools


What is the project?
The project is called Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe’s Future (CHIEF). It is a major international research study funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The European Commission’s pages on the CHIEF project can be found here.

What are the aims of the project?
The project aims to understand the following three things:

  • How young people make sense of and engage with different aspects of culture and identity in various educational contexts (e.g. school, civil society, family, peer groups and heritage sites);
  • How and to what extent their engagement with varying cultural practices leads to an increase in their understanding of their own culture and that of others;
  • Whether and how (1) and (2) above helps young people’s active cultural participation in society.

Who will conduct the research?
The research is being conducted by universities across nine countries (Croatia, Germany, Georgia, India, Latvia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and the UK).

The UK element of the research is based at Aston University and the University of Gloucestershire and is led by Dr Anton Popov, School of Languages and Social Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK. Aston University is also the Lead Coordinator for the project across all nine countries.

How long will the project last?
The project started in May 2018 and will run for three and a half years.

Who will be involved?
In each country, we are conducting a survey with 2000 pupils across 30 schools, and interviewing 60 pupils and 15 teachers in 3 other schools. We will also be interviewing people who work for heritage organisations as another element of our research.

What will you do with the findings of your research?
The findings of our study will be communicated to educational and heritage practitioners, policy makers and people working with young people to facilitate more inclusive forms of cultural heritage and cultural identity in Europe and beyond.

Will the outcomes of the research be published?
Outcomes of the project will be published in academic journals, books and policy briefs. The results of the research will be available on the project website:


What are benefits for my school and its pupils in participating?
Your school will be participating in one of the largest projects on cultural literacy and identity in the EU. By taking part in the project, pupils will have an opportunity to engage in a meaningful discussion of what constitutes their cultural knowledge and what barriers exist to their effective cultural participation.

We can feedback the results of our analysis of your data to the school (as well as the results of the cross-national comparison).

We can also come and talk to the pupils on a subject of your school’s choice (within our team’s expertise e.g. sociology, social policy, public policy). We can arrange for someone from Aston University’s admissions team to come and talk to your pupils.

What will the research involve in terms of my school’s involvement?
We will be conducting semi-structured interviews in 3 secondary schools with 60 students and 15 teachers (20 students and 5 teachers in each school). We plan to interview students in Year 10 (KS4) and Year 12 (sixth form).

We will also be conducting an online survey in 30 secondary schools with 2000 students and 30 teachers (70  students and 1 teacher in each school). We plan to survey students in Year 12 (sixth form).

We are also interested in interviewing teachers who teach subjects that are directly relevant to the project’s thematic scope (e.g. English, History, Geography, Citizenship, RE, Art and Design etc.)

When and where will the interviews with pupils and teachers take place?
The interviews will take place at your school at a time to suit you. We plan to interview all pupils and teachers who agree to participate over a period of approximately three days between January to October 2019.

When and where will the surveys with pupils and teachers take place?
The surveys will take place at your school/college at a time to suit you. We plan to survey all pupils and teachers who agree to participate over two visits between September to November 2019.

How long will the interviews last?
Each interview is expected to take between 40 minutes (with pupils) and 1 hour (with teachers).

How long will the surveys last?
Each survey is expected to take around 40 minutes.

What information is available for pupils and their parents/guardians?
Before any interviews or surveys take place, we will provide information and consent forms for your pupils and their parents.

If I agree to my school participating in the study, what are the next steps?
If you agree in principle to your school participating in the study, you will be contacted by one of the researchers who will provide additional information about the project and will discuss the logistics of obtaining assent/consent from your pupils and their parents/guardians.


Who has reviewed the research project?
The project has been reviewed by Aston University’s School of Languages and Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

What happens to the data collected?
The research project is managed by Aston University. We are the data controller for the collection and use of your data. All the information given will be used only for research purposes. The answers given in interviews will be kept separately from any information about individuals and will not be given to the media or any authorities of any kind.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we have an obligation to tell you what legal basis we apply to allow us to use your information, these are:

  • processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller..
  • processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes.

Your personal information will be kept in a secure place on university premises for 5 years after the end of the project, although we aim to anonymise as quickly as possible.

What about participants’ privacy?
Only the individual researcher will know who provided the information. When we publish findings from the research, pseudonyms (a name used instead of the person’s real name) will be used so that nobody will be able to identify them, or anyone else taking part in the project. Recorded interviews will be uploaded via a secure web portal to a professional transcription company and might be shared with researchers in other countries who are part of the project. But anything people say during the interview that might identify them will be removed from the transcription (i.e. the written record of the interview) before anybody else is allowed to see it.

What happens if pupils or teachers do not want to take part or if they change their mind?
It is completely up to each individual to decide whether to take part in this project or not. Everyone who considers being involved in the project will be provided with an information sheet and consent form. For pupils under 16 years old, we will also provide information sheets and consent forms for their parents/guardians to complete. If pupils under 16 years old decide to take part in this research, and their parents/guardians consent to this, they will be given this information sheet to keep and will be asked to sign a consent form.

Participants can always change their mind about participation in the research, even after it has started, without giving a reason and with no negative consequences. If they decide to withdraw from the study we will use the data collected from them unless they specifically ask for it all be withdrawn and before it has been used for any of our scientific publications (i.e. reports, journal articles, and books).

Will I be paid for participating in the research?
No, participation is on a voluntary basis.

What are the risks of taking part?
There are no risks to interviewees’ safety through taking part in this research. The interview might be conducted at your school or any place which is convenient for pupils and teachers being interviewed and the researcher. If an interviewee feels uncomfortable about any of the questions asked or topics discussed, they can say that they do not want to answer that question, or end the interview entirely.

All researchers have undergone a satisfactory criminal record check (i.e. the Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance). We will provide electronic copies of the DBS certificates for each researcher in advance of visiting your school and will bring original certificates with us to interviews.

How can I find out more information?
For further information you can contact Dr. Anton Popov, CHIEF Project Coordinator at