Fieldtrip series, Part 2: A coastal walk from Poldhu to Mullion

By Orla MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy student at The University of Exeter

As the second instalment of my fieldtrip series, we’ve got a fieldtrip which I went on as a fundamental part of my Heritage and Environmental Change module. As one of our assessments focused around the coastal harbour of Mullion, which is situated on the Lizard Peninsula, our first fieldtrip for this module was a coastal walk from Poldhu Cove to Mullion itself.

With our lecturers, we re-enacted Louise Ann Wilsons interpretative walk ‘Mulliontide: A Guide for Walkers’, which encourages walkers to actively engage with the environment whilst exploring themes of loss, change and identity. Wilsons’ original interpretative walk was done in October 2016 but was so popular that a guide has been published so that it can be re-created by anyone at any time. The walk itself went along some incredible areas coastline and some of the South West Coast Path – and you’ll be pleased to note that the weather on this occasion was bright sunshine!

In pairs, we carried the guidebook alongside us, which got us involved in individual stories, legacies and also some singing of the ‘White Rose’! Although we didn’t do the original choir justice, we all joined in and gave it a go and there was a lovely sense of community when were all singing along together. We followed the stations in the guide, sharing some gummy fish and also paddling our toes into the sea as recommended. At lunchtime, we stopped at the Chocolate Factory for a hot drink and also some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted!

For me, what was so poignant about this trip was that it would not have immediately sprung to my mind as a form of heritage. The ‘typical’ form of heritage often involves museums and archives, however this trip showed that heritage can move away from these more traditional forms. When walking through the landscape and interacting with stories, we ourselves were interacting with and also helping create the heritage of the landscape itself. I think this is what is so amazing about this MA – it opens your eyes to different forms of heritage and helps you consider things in a way which you never thought of before. If you had told me that I would be walking along the coast, singing with my cohort I think I would have laughed at you! But the experience and feelings of community that were felt, not only on the walk but also when we got to Mullion and learnt about the harbour were hard to ignore.

Fieldtrip series, Part 1: Tintagel Castle, Cornwall

By Orla MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy student at The University of Exeter

Hey there! My name is Orla Padwick and I’m a 21-year-old hailing from the sunny seaside of Brighton and Hove! Studying as a Postgraduate student on the MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy course means that I will always be here to convince you that museums and National Trust properties are ALWAYS worth a visit (even though we all know that the tea-rooms and gift shops are difficult to avoid!). Being at Exeter since my Undergraduate means I’ve had my fair shares of ups and downs and will never be afraid to tell you one of my many embarrassing stories to show you how to (or how NOT) to do things!

Here is part one of my fieldtrip series!

One of the (many!) perks of studying an MA in International Heritage Management and Consultancy is the broad range of fieldtrips which you have the opportunity to go on. The course really prides itself in giving you hands on experience with heritage sites and interactions with professionals in the field, so you gain both academic and practical experience. To give a taster of some of the trips that we go on (and also a sneaky peak at my photography skills) I thought I would start a fieldtrip series, including some of my favourite trips/heritage sites from second term.

On a very wet, and very windy Monday morning I went on a fieldtrip to Tintagel Castle in the north of Cornwall as part of my Interpretation, Narrative, Memory and Conflict module. This was actually one of the modules which had drawn me to the course in the first place, and although I had visited Tintagel one before, I was excited to get the opportunity to see what managing such a popular coastal site was like ‘behind the scenes’.

After a very chaotic bus journey, where the scenery appeared to become something out of a Daphne du Maurier novel, we arrived at Tintagel village to find that…everything was closed. Not a tea-room to be seen. Not disheartened (but definitely dishevelled) we made our way down the coastal track to the site itself. Contrary to its name, Tintagel Castle is in-fact a site of ruins – although this certainly does not make it any less impressive. Stepped in history and inherently linked with the myth of King Arthur, the site certainly looked impressive as we battled through the rain and increasing wind to get to the English Heritage station at the bottom.

After sampling the tearoom (a key stop of point for ANY heritage student) we met the Assistant Site Manager in the exhibition. The exhibition explains both the historical use of the castle as well as the intangible myths of King Arthur and Merlin and it was interesting to how English Heritage presented both sides of the story. Although we were told we were unfortunately unable to get onto the site itself due to the increasingly gale force wind, the discussion we had was a true insight into the problems of managing Tintagel. Factors including balancing visitor footfall and coastal erosion were key issues for the site – in 2016 alone Tintagel had 229,809 visitors![1]

There has been a recent inclusion of a suspension bridge between the mainland and the island where the castle is, which has massively improved accessibility, as before visitors had to climb over 100 very step and rocky steps. Personally, I am so glad that more sites are improving accessibility, as it enables the enjoyment of these sites to be shared and inclusive. It was also interesting to discuss managing visitor expectation and the balance between the Arthurian myth and the Cornish history of the site, and how to present this to visitors.

Although the trip was extremely wet and we were unable to visit the main site, I thoroughly enjoyed our first fieldtrip for this term! Being able to take what we had learnt in our seminars and critically apply them first-hand to a site was invaluable, as was the discussion with the heritage professionals. I would definitely recommend a visit to Tintagel to anyone who is exploring or studying in Cornwall and I will certainly be returning to walk across the suspension bridge to the island!


Heritage and Environmental Change – Field Course to the Lizard Peninsular MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy

By Rachel Gordon


In late March of 2019, students from the inaugural International Heritage Management and Consultancy MA travelled to the Lizard Peninsular for one of our three ‘Heritage and Environmental Change’ field trips. This module was particularly engaging, because Dr Bryony Onciul ran it in partnership with Dr Caitlin DeSilvey, a member of the Geography department. The teaching was shared by both, and we were also joined by MA Sustainable Development students. The addition of our peers added a compelling dynamic to this module: we were able to share thoughts and ideas with students from entirely different backgrounds; from anthropology to marketing, zoology to geography. We were also joined by film maker Danny Cooke and a representative of secular organisation The Churches Conservation Trust, Anthony Bennet.



We began our minibus ride down to the most Southerly point of the UK: luckily, the sun was shining, it was a bright and crisp spring day. (Our field trips on the “Sites of Conflict, Commemoration and Memory” module had coincided perfectly with the spring’s biggest storms!) After a short while, we were dropped off at the side of a country lane and were told that we were only able to reach our first destination on foot. We arrived at the site of St Rumon in Ruan Major: this former parish church currently lies in ruin. According to Historic England, its roof was removed shortly after its closure in 1963 and is currently listed as Grade I. Because of the lack of roof, much of the inside is overgrown with foliage. The spring setting of our visit meant that flowers were in bloom, and these signs of new life provided a stark contrast to the derelict and unused structure. Surrounding the church was a small graveyard, with most of the ornately engraved tombstones dedicated to two specific Cornish families. We were met by Professor Paul Racey, who explained his interest in our studies. He was concerned that his church in Cadgwith (which we would visit later), would fall into the same state as St Rumon, as the congregation slowly dwindled. In our discussion we considered the ways in which the changing (social and physical) environment is affecting churches across the UK. Anthony spoke about several churches protected by the CCT that had been saved from ruin because they contained colonies of bats, which are vulnerable or endangered.


After a lunch in the grounds of St Rumon, we travelled to our next location: St Grade Church. The church of St Grade is used by the local community, but still incredibly vulnerable. It is also listed as Grade I and dates back to the 14th Century. Inside, butterflies could be seen amongst the ferns that have grown in the brickwork. This was an interesting site and draws in visitors who are wildlife enthusiasts, with perhaps no religious or spiritual motivation to visit. Although damaging for St Grade’s structural integrity, the existence of such wildlife has increased visitor numbers and therefore revenue (visitors are encouraged to make a donation). The visitors’ book displayed entries from people who had travelled from all over the world, and all stated how beautiful the church was, and expressed hope for its longevity. Professor Racey spoke about the Friends of St Grade, who have appealed to the community for help in the conservation, preservation and repair of the church, because: “we all enjoy the opportunity at special times in our lives to worship, be married, be christened, be remembered or just rest a while and ponder in a local church.”[1] We discussed the fact that the social changes faced by St Grade made challenges posed by environmental change were even more difficult to negotiate.


After a discussion with Anthony and Professor Racey in the grounds of St Grade, we took a walk through the meandering countryside, passing the Holy Well of St Ruan on the way. Our minibus picked us up and took us to Cadgwith, a picture postcard perfect Cornish village. We arrived at the church of St Mary, a small structure, that is clad in blue corrugated iron and sits teetering on a cliff edge. Inside, Professor Tracey gave us another talk about the effects that the changing world had on the church, the local community and other traditional practices that have historically taken place in Cadgwith. He spoke of the loss of two local fisherman in 1994, for which there is a memorial situated inside the church, and how their deaths shook the local community. St Mary’s is by no means as old as St Grade and St Rumon, but it still faces the same challenges. After our talk we continued down the steep path, passing thatched cottages and sunny gardens. On the beach, we were lucky enough to be able to witness the interesting spectacle of Cadgwith fishing boats coming ashore. The fishing boats are rolled onto the shore using large logs, a practice that is no longer frequently seen elsewhere in the UK.

We finished our trip with an ice cream and heading back to campus. Our exploration of St Rumon, St Grade, St Mary’s and Cadgwith highlighted the challenges faced by small communities in the wake of environmental and societal change, and it was incredibly valuable to our studies, to be able to witness these effects first-hand. Anthony and Professor Racey were invaluable to our studies, as we gained an insight into two perspectives- the personal perspective of Professor Racey and the management perspective of Anthony. The trip was also a great way to explore more of Cornwall’s beautiful landscape, which is always a joy.

You can view Danny’s footage here

[1] Friends of St Ruan and St Grade. Available at [Accessed 18 September 2019]

MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy: Field Course to Canada

By Rachel Gordon

This year was the inaugural year of the University of Exeter’s brand-new MA course, International Heritage Management and Consultancy, and I am proud to say that I am (very nearly) one of the first students to graduate!

The course has been jam-packed full of lectures by guest speakers and industry professionals, field trips to various locations in Cornwall and to Stonehenge, and incredible networking workshops and conferences. The icing on the cake, however, has to be awarded to our absolutely amazing 13-day field trip to Vancouver Island and Vancouver City in British Columbia, Canada.

Day 1: Travelling to Vancouver

Our journey began at Heathrow Airport where our cohort gathered to board the Air Canada flight to Vancouver, Canada. Fourteen of us, including professors of English Dr Jim Kelly and Dr Chloe Preedy, Professor of Heritage, Public History and course co-ordinator Dr Bryony Onciul and professional Film Maker Danny Cooke, sat down in the airport lounge to discuss our expectations and anticipations. Our group was special; we had all come from different disciplines, had a range of different interests and experience and we had bonded amazingly in the 8 months leading up to the trip. We talked about how excited we were to be able to view all of the unique and diverse wildlife Canada had to offer and to be able to explore the various different layers of heritage narrative. Four of us had been to Canada before and were able to share some anecdotes with the rest of the group. We also discussed our lack of desire to have to use our bear-safety training and first aid qualifications that we had obtained as part of the lead up to the trip; Bryony assured us that it was unlikely we would encounter any unwanted wildlife, but we would have the opportunity to view Grizzly and Black bears in their natural habitat, from a safe and secure distance. Jim joked that he hoped we could get some use out of our extensive first aid kits, as they’d been such a hassle to check in. (Disclaimer: all we needed to use were a few plasters for some walking-boot induced blisters!) Before we knew it, our gate had been called and we began the first leg of our journey.

The nine-hour flight seemed to pass by quickly, and we arrived in Canada in the early afternoon. With a few hours’ sleep under our belts, we piled into taxis and made our way to the Pacific Spirit Youth Hostel, which was located on the University of British Columbia’s campus. The campus itself was absolutely huge, it felt like a small city and dwarfed Penryn Campus by comparison. We spent the afternoon exploring the local area and reconvened for some food in the campus pub. By the early evening, the majority of the group began to feel the effects of the jet lag and so we headed back to the hostel for an early night, and to prepare for the next day.

Day 2: MOA, Vancouver

And so our first full day in Canada began. The weather was wonderful, sunny and warm- so we took advantage of our having risen early (due to jet lag) and grabbed a quick breakfast in the sun on the UBC campus. We then travelled on foot to MOA, the Museum of Anthropology, also located on campus. We focused on themes of reconciliation, conservation and the presentation of difficult heritage. Anthony Shelton, the Director of the museum, greeted us at the entrance. He explained to us that the museum was architecturally designed to be embedded in the landscape and not to dominate it; the visitor must walk down into the land in order to enter. We acknowledged that we were stood on unceded Musqueam First Nations territory; we would continue to recognise the land upon which we stood at each stage of our trip. Anthony then proceeded to give us a brief tour of the museum, sharing with us his thoughts on why they had decided to display certain objects in specific ways. Much of the museum’s collection is housed on the basis of ‘dual ownership’, meaning that the museum looked after certain objects, but they still belonged to members of the First Nations communities. He showed us the museums ‘multiversity’, a collection space that housed various different items in glass cabinets that could be viewed from all angles. Then, we moved onto the museum’s newest exhibition: “shadows, strings and other things” which included over 250 puppets from around the world. After our short lunch break on the museum’s sunny roof terrace, we were lucky enough to be given a behind-the-scenes tour by the head curator. She explained to us the issues they were experiencing with lack of storage space and their necessity to expand. We would finish our trip at MOA in order to complete the circle, which is a First Nations idea and way of doing things.

Day 3: Capilano

The second day of our trip involved a lot more travelling as we moved from mainland Canada to Vancouver Island. On the way to the ferry terminal, we stopped at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park which claims to be “B.C’s earliest human connection to nature”. This popular tourist attraction allowed us to explore a broad scope of themes, including First Nations relationships with the natural environment, and the ecological and historical significance of British Columbia’s natural landscape. We acknowledged that we were standing on the traditional territory of the Squamish people (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), another piece of unceded land.

The narrative of the site was focused on the various European settler groups that had lived in the area and contributed to the building of the suspension bridge.

The bridge itself boasted a beautiful view over the river (which is apparently the most fished river in the whole of B.C, according to our guide), and most of us braved the wobbly journey over to the other side. There, we received a tour of the native trees that grow across B.C, and learnt about their traditional uses. We also got to see the famous Banana Slug, a variety of slug that numbs the mouth of anything that eats it- this was very exciting for us, but they are apparently quite common across North America.

After our tour came to an end, we had the opportunity to explore the park independently, and we reassembled after a visit to Capilano’s extensive gift shop. We then drove to the ferry and waited in line. The crossing was roughly 2 hours, and we sat on the sun deck and enjoyed the stunning views that the evening offered.

Day 4: Port Alberni

The next day we rose early and got ready to start the day. Life felt immediately more relaxed on Vancouver Island than it did in the city, which we had anticipated. We made our way to the Port Alberni Railway Station: this heritage site is more functional in the summer months when a real steam train operates, taking visitors from the station to the Historic MacLean Sawmill. Our guide was fantastic- he was truly passionate about the industrial heritage of the area and had worked in the logging industry in the past. Logging is a widespread industry across B.C, where whole trees are cut down and transported across the country for use as a raw material. The industry continues today, so it was great to be able to compare the living process with its historical past. He gave us a brief presentation, providing us with anecdotes and photos of the sawmill’s history. Afterwards, we drove a short distance to the mill which was a truly fascinating place. Machinery, cars, lorries and wooden structures peppered the landscape. Many of the items had been left to decay and were covered in rust, moss and other growths, and these provided interesting photo opportunities. Our visit also tied in perfectly with one of our modules we had completed that semester: “Heritage and Environmental Change”. What seemed to bring the McLean Mill site to life was not the place itself, but the memories of the site that our guide was able to share with us. On our way to the next hotel, we discussed our obsession with the idea of decay that was sparked by our visit to the site and concluded that it reminded us of our own temporality, and the uncertainty that comes with living in an ever-changing world.

Day 5: Telegraph Cove

The following day became certainly my favourite day of the trip, and possibly one of the most memorable days of my life so far. The focus of the day was on the natural landscape of B.C and the wildlife that lives there. We started the day while it was still dark but it was well worth it to see the sunrise over beautiful Telegraph Cove. We had been staying in small groups in quaint little wooden cabins with our own kitchens and living areas which felt very authentic to this remote part of Canada. After a quick coffee and pastry breakfast we climbed into our boats (the group split into two and each had a driver and a biologist on board), and we began our journey in search of Grizzly and Black bears. About 10 minutes into the journey, a large pod of porpoises began to interact with our boat and were swimming alongside us, jumping through the crystal-clear water. Our guides told us that this was a rare sight for this particular type of porpoise, and we were extremely lucky. It was pure magic. Continuing our journey up to Glendale cove, we were able to see a Humpback whale and some dolphins. This was all incredibly exciting as the main aim of the day was to see bears! We reached our destination and transferred into two more smaller, lightweight boats. We were all expecting to have to scan the horizon for the Grizzlies, but there they were in plain sight as soon as we arrived. Our guide informed us that they can smell when the tide goes out and the mussels and other molluscs are exposed on the shoreline, they then wander out of the woods to eat. They were completely oblivious to being observed by us excitable bunch! After our lunch we travelled around the Glendale area to view some other point of interest. We had seen so much wildlife that our guide took us to some other heritage sights, which included some incredible petroglyphs and an abandoned First Nations village.

Day 6: Alert Bay

Perhaps our most emotionally challenging day was our trip to Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, where we visited the U’mista Cultural Heritage Centre. The centre was built just a few yards away from the site of the now demolished Residential school, St Michael’s (or St. Mike’s, as it is known locally.) We dealt with themes of loss, suffering, and learnt about a really difficult part of First Nations’ history. We were greeted by Juanita, who is a member of Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. She explained to us what ‘Potlatch’ is to First Nations communities and showed us the Potlatch collection housed at the museum. Most of the collection had recently been repatriated to U’mista from other western museums and private collectors across the world who had been sold items following the Potlatch ban in 1885. One of the conditions of their repatriation is that the First Nations community to which the collection belonged had to build a museum to “western standards”: in which to house it. It saddened me that one of the items that Juanita was currently trying to repatriate is still housed in my local museum in South London, and I reflected on the idea that I had seen it many times but in a very different and inappropriate context.

Day 7: Campbell River

The next day allowed us to experience another magical few moments that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. We travelled southwards down the island and stopped at Campbell River, a bustling town that was very different to the rural locations we had been staying in the days prior. The main activity of the day was… whale watching! Something we were all highly anticipating given the success of our previous wildlife tour. We were all given dry suits: heavy duty sailing attire that seemed a little excessive as the day was reaching the mid to late 20’s Celsius. We climbed into our boats, again the group split into two vessels and we started our journey. We were lucky enough to see three Orcas, accompanied by a new baby calf! We had to keep our distance in accordance with Canadian law which states that you must not pester the wildlife for too long. We had to scour the water for quite some time before we spotted them, which made their appearance even more thrilling! As we left the Orcas, we also saw porpoises and dolphins, as well as golden and bald eagles. The landscape was very remote as we drew away from Campbell River and it was an excellent opportunity to be able to view it in this light.

When we returned, we clambered back into our vehicles and headed for our next destination.

Day 8: Comox

One of my favourite days on the Field Course, and certainly one of the most uplifting was our visit to the K’omoks First Nation in Comox. The land we stood on was a reservation, and not unceded like some of our previous destinations. We were invited into their Big House, a structure built in the 1950’s by the grandfather of one of our hosts. This was a real privilege as non-community members have to be invited inside. The space inside was really special, it had a dirt floor and a fire was lit in the centre. Beams of light came in through a small crack in the roof and the smoke looked as if it was dancing. The room was framed by 4 totem poles, only three of which were carved because the artist sadly passed away before he could complete it. The K’omoks First Nation decided to honour him by leaving it blank. Our hosts performed 4 dances for us as we sat around the edge of the Big House overlooking the fire. The first was a ladies dance which welcomed us to the space, one was the dance of the ‘wild man of the woods’, and one was a dance that could only be performed by the son or grandson of a Chief. The fourth and final dance was a participatory dance that we all were able to take part in. Each dance was accompanied by singing, and the lyrics to each song told the story of the dance. There were also two drummers, one played a small drum made of stretched animal hide and the other played the “drum log” which was a large carved tree trunk that lay horizontally on the floor. We were able to see where bits of wood had been chipped and worn away after decades of being played. This experience was a wonderful way of seeing traditional Potlatch masks and regalia in a totally different context to the way we saw them at the U’mista Cultural Heritage Centre.

When the performances were complete, we ate a lunch together that our hosts had cooked for us, and we were able to ask questions and have a chat. It was a unique experience that we all treasured.

Days 9-12: Presentations and networking

At the end of the trip, we had the intense yet valuable experience of organising our own conference in which we each had to deliver a 15-minute presentation. The focus of the day was to share our thoughts and favourite moments of the trip with each other. Our presentations were marked by Bryony, Chloe, and Jim, the three lecturers who accompanied us. The planning process itself was a learning experience, Bryony had organised a room for us to use at MOA but outside of that, the responsibility was ours. We decided to divide ourselves by theme and create 3 separate panels. The themes were: nature and culture, indigenous identity, and loss within different Canadian communities. The presentations were really impressive. Everyone spoke on different topics entirely and it was a great experience hearing what everyone had learned and gained from the 12 days prior.

In the evening, we dressed up in our finery and made our way to the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver. This was our final event of the trip and a great way to round off a fabulous twelve days. The aim of the evening was to network with heritage professionals, Exeter alumni and academics, and the guest list was extensive and impressive. Sir Steve Smith, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, attended along with his wife and he and Bryony delivered speeches that made us all so proud to be part of the inaugural cohort of International Heritage Management and Consultancy.

Day 13: Going home

We returned home the next day ready to write our dissertations and complete the course, with a whole new knowledge base and skillset under our belts. The Canada Field Course was, from start to finish, entirely interesting, challenging, thought provoking, and enjoyable and I am sure any prospective student who experiences it in the future will feel the same.

Rachel Gordon is currently studying MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy at the University of Exeter.

Interview with a Heritage Consultant

Laure Emery is a Heritage Consultant who works for Simpson & Brown, a multi-disciplinary firm which offers architectural, archaeological, and heritage consultancy services across the UK and abroad. She has kindly offered to answer a few questions about her role, career, and how she became a Heritage Consultant.

Laure, what do you enjoy most about your role?

“I enjoy the variety of projects we work on. We study small vernacular buildings, as well as very large sites and landscapes, from medieval to modern architecture. We work with private owners, local trusts, and volunteers, but also with important bodies all over the UK. You cannot get bored in this job. The best treat is to see incredible places that are not always open to the public, and have a determinant role in their future.”

Can you briefly describe the pathway you followed to become a Heritage Consultant?

“I wanted to work in the understanding and conservation of built heritage, but I was unsure how to get there. I studied architecture and art history in France — my birthplace — which gave me great background knowledge. However, it is thanks to my Master’s degree in Conservation of the Built Environment at the Université de Montréal, Canada, that I really learned how to work in the built heritage sector.”

What advice would you give to an aspiring Heritage Consultant that’s confused about how to get there?

“There is certainly not a single way to become a Heritage Consultant. Anyone with a background in the history of architecture, architecture, archaeology, urbanism, planning or another relevant discipline can find a way.

You need the tools to understand the history of a site, including how to do historical research and assess the various heritage values of the site. You also need a holistic understanding of its context today — how the planning system works, how sites are protected and what that means, what the needs are, etc.

Heritage consultancy is a balance between many disciplines. You do not need to have a degree in each, but expanding your knowledge and experience in related disciplines will certainly help you get better at what you do, and therefore find a job as a Heritage Consultant.”

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

“Working in the heritage sector is fascinating. You constantly learn new things. It’s a world full of passionate people, and it is always in a state of change. The way we look after our built heritage today is different than it was 50 years ago, and it will likely be different again in 50 years time.

There is also some variation in heritage practice from one place to another, so as a Heritage Consultant, it is essential to stay up-to-date and complete CPD activities. It’s great to meet others involved in the conservation of built heritage, to discuss and question what we are doing and the way we do it. Heritage consultancy is certainly not dull or repetitive!”

About Laure Emery

Laure Emery is a Heritage Consultant for Simpson and Brown. She studied architecture and art history in France, before completing a Masters in Conservation of the Built Environment in Canada. Laure then worked as a research assistant for the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage in Montreal where she completed works for various bodies, including the City of Montréal, Héritage Montréal, and the Commission Scolaire de Montréal. Laure moved to Scotland in 2014 and joined Simpson & Brown as a Heritage Consultant in 2016.

Studying Heritage Management and Consultancy at Exeter

The University of Exeter is now offering a postgraduate programme in International Heritage Management and Consultancy, which will prepare you to compete in the growing field of heritage and consultancy.

Sustainable Heritage: Searching for Windmills in Shakespeare’s Drama

Photo by Columbia114 (Morguefile)

The University of Exeter is offering all new students enrolling on its MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy programme in September 2018 a £1,000 tuition fee discountRead more and apply now.

Sustainability is one of the core themes of the University of Exeter’s new MA in International Heritage Management and Consultancy, at a time when organisations such as Historic England and National Trust must manage heritage sites in the context of accelerated environmental and coastal change. Studying the past can inform responses to the challenges posed by climate change and provide us with a better understanding of preservation, loss, and material or immaterial change. Questions of heritage are also central to ongoing debates about renewable energy policy. For instance, plans to build wind turbines near Dartmoor National Park were opposed in 2003, 2004, and 2009 by those concerned about ‘the character of the landscape’ (The Telegraph, 10 August 2009), whereas a 2002 discussion of wind turbine proposals by the Dartmoor Society began with a public lecture surveying the historical use of wind power in the area (5th Dartmoor Society Debate, 19 October 2002).

Following discussions with colleagues in the Renewable Energy department, I became interested in not only the historical use of wind power, but also past attitudes towards this energy source. I was already investigating how William Shakespeare and his contemporaries participated in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates about air quality. While references to increased coal use and coal-smoke emissions feature in various plays, though, windmills are rarely mentioned. Shakespeare’s characters Falstaff and Shallow discuss time spent at ‘the Windmill’ in 2 Henry IV, but the allusion is probably to a local inn or brothel, as it is elsewhere. A few English playwrights follow the late-medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s lead, portraying millers as greedy or controlling, or echo the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes in connecting the windmill with mental disturbance or overblown speculation: Cervantes’ Don Quixote became famous in the seventeenth century for tilting at windmills in the belief that he was fighting giants. However, I could find little evidence that Shakespeare and his contemporaries were interested in the windmill as a wind-powered technology.

That discovery was surprising, since early inventors such as Francis Bacon were certainly interested in harnessing the power of the winds. Having been introduced to parts of England, Flanders, and northern France in the late twelfth century, windmills would have been a familiar sight to London’s sixteenth- and seventeenth-century playwrights: two maps from around 1600 suggest that Shakespeare’s Globe theatre was built near to several local windmills. Across the English Channel, seventeenth-century Dutch artists created landscape paintings in which windmills often feature prominently, reflecting pride in the recent technological achievement of using these mills to drain low-lying marshy lands (Jonathan Sawday, Engines of the Imagination). Why, then, do sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English playwrights seem to have so little interest in windmills as a power source? Why, when they refer to windmills at all, do their plays typically associate such technology with greed or failed investment, rather than success?

While I do not have a firm answer, I suspect that English dramatists, including Shakespeare, probably classed windmills among the many resources that the rich and powerful controlled during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and so made them a target of theatrical mockery, just as audiences might be invited to laugh at the use of luxury or imported goods such as perfume and tobacco. Since English dramatists were much more interested in representing the the wind-powered technology of sailing, windmills were perhaps also considered unexciting, even boring: a familiar feature of the domestic landscape, rather than a potential route to future overseas expansion. Given Shakespeare’s literary dominance, however, this gap in the dramatic representation of windmills may mean that we are today more likely to underestimate the scale and scope of their historical presence in the English natural and built landscape.

If what we read plays a role in how we think about the past, it may even be that this long-ago tendency to ignore or mock windmills could impact contemporary efforts by the advocates of wind power to appeal to heritage arguments for the introduction of wind turbines, as wind power establishes itself as the leading source of renewable energy in the UK and beyond. More attention to how our literary and historical heritage may shape modern attitudes to renewable energy, as well as initiatives to tackle climate change, will help us to better understand how the past can speak not only to the present, but also the future. As the heritage sector addresses the challenges posed by climate change and engages in debates about renewable technologies in the context of listed buildings, conversation areas, and Word Heritage sites, such conversations can inform our approach to heritage management and sustainability.

Written by Dr Chloe Preedy, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus

Why might someone want to work in heritage consultancy?

The University of Exeter is offering all new students enrolling on its MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy programme in September 2018 a £1,000 tuition fee discountRead more and apply now.

Heritage is a diverse field, and while we are all aware of the jobs available in heritage bodies such as Historic England, English Heritage, and the National Trust, there is a growing field of opportunity for heritage consultants. This ranges from individuals who act as consultants, providing bespoke pieces of research and work for clients who may include museums, heritage organisations, art galleries, and science centres, such as Emmie Kell Consulting; to companies of consultants who offer a body of expertise, such as Cotswold Archaeology who specialise in heritage and archaeology.

There are also permanent professional roles in non-heritage organisations that are also called ‘heritage consultants’. This may be a few individuals or a team of heritage consultants working in the private sector, a blue chip company, a think tank, NGO or charity. For example, Atkins is an international design, engineering and project management consultancy that has a dedicated heritage team that ‘assists business, industry, and government in meeting regulatory permitting and compliance requirements when a project impacts or has the potential to impact historically significant cultural resources’.

Heritage consultants get to work on a great diversity of projects making their daily working exciting, innovative and rewarding. It is a great way to gain a portfolio of experience and skills, working locally, nationally or internationally.

Written Dr Bryony Onciul, Director of the MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy and Senior Lecturer in Public History, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus

Three tips on building a career in international heritage management

The University of Exeter is offering all new students enrolling on its MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy programme in September 2018 a £1,000 tuition fee discount. Read more and apply now.

1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. What fields of heritage management are you interested in? Do you think you’d enjoy the practical, day-to-day elements of being a heritage consultant as well as the theoretical aspects of public history?

There is no set career path in heritage, which can be daunting for some, but liberating for others. I stumbled into heritage management because of my archaeological and anthropological work in southern Africa. My first degree was in history, and my MA was in Heritage and Museum Studies. Doing fieldwork and volunteering in countries outside of Europe not only gives you a taste of what it’s like to work with diverse groups – often with vastly different, and even sometimes irreconcilable worldviews – but it also helps you identify what you’re good at. This in turn will allow you to target specific companies and institutions within heritage sectors – both in the UK and abroad – when you are applying for jobs.

2. Network! I’d also thought I wasn’t cut out for networking. Surely all the big names in the heritage sector were fed up of overly-eager and recently-qualified graduates introducing themselves at events and sending emails asking about upcoming opportunities? It turns out, however, that most of the established experts who pull the strings (and often control the purse strings) are affable, approachable, and keen to meet new people – especially if they are passionate about their subject and heritage in general.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Heritage experts in the UK often know and collaborate with heritage experts overseas. If someone that is respected by colleagues endorses you, it’s likely that you’re more than half way to making it onto a future employer’s shortlist, whether in the UK or abroad.

3. Gain extra qualifications, and volunteer. In addition to courses like the University of Exeter’s new MA in International Heritage Management and Consultancy, volunteering is an excellent idea – especially because many of your competitors will likely have done the same. Volunteering – both in the UK and abroad – not only provides you with invaluable new experiences and a chance to identify your strengths and weaknesses, it also helps you expand your professional network. Most of all, working abroad is rewarding, and fun!

Written by Dr Jamie Hampson, Senior Lecturer in Heritage, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus

How to Become a Heritage Consultant

The University of Exeter is offering all new students enrolling on its MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy programme in September 2018 a £1,000 tuition fee discountRead more and apply now.

How to Become a Heritage Consultant

A Heritage Consultant brings expert advice and practice to museums, the built environment — including buildings, ruins and historic areas — and other heritage contexts and projects.

The work itself varies considerably depending on the project. It might involve developing tourism strategies, archive design, planning, project management, interpretation, access planning, visitor research, or assistance with funding applications.

Heritage consultants can work within an organisation (including NGOs) freelance or as an employee of a consultancy firm. Large consultancies may have a team of professionals with expertise in tourism, archaeology, museum, conservation, historic buildings or architecture.

As there is no set career pathway to follow for those wanting to become a Heritage Consultant, most of those currently working in the role will have followed a different path and will have different areas of focus or specialisms. This is part of what makes the field so interesting.

Studying Heritage Management

Heritage consultancy is a balance of disciplines, for example history, archaeology, and geography. For this reason many students study Heritage Consultancy as an MA after completing a degree in a related subject such as History, Politics, English, Geography, Archaeology, Art History or Architecture. An MA will offer theoretical and methodological training as well as hands-on experience working in a range of contexts.

During their studies many students will focus in on a particular area of Heritage Management or an overlapping field which interests them. This may set the tone for the type of organisation they wish to work for following graduation. Work placements allow students to gain an understanding of career paths which may interest them.

Finding a Role

The wide range of roles in the sector mean that there is no single approach when it comes to finding a Heritage Management job. Having the experience of a work placement (as part of an MA or separately) will show that you have a practical, as well as theoretical, understand of the field.

When applying for a role you’ll need to show a clear understanding of the theory of Heritage Management as well as an ability to undertake clear and methodical research. Demonstrating how Heritage can be a lens through which to consider current global challenges will show that you understand the wider context of the discipline.

Summary: How to Become a Heritage Consultant

  • There is no set career pathway.
  • Heritage consultancy is a balance between various disciplines, such as history, archaeology, and geography.
  • You need the tools to understand the history of a site, and a holistic understanding of its context today.
  • Expand your knowledge and experience in related disciplines to improve your ability as a practitioner, and make it easier to land a job as a Heritage Consultant.
  • You can develop expertise in heritage by studying a Master’s degree, such as the MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy at the University of Exeter.

What is Heritage Management?

The University of Exeter is offering all new students enrolling on its MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy programme in September 2018 a £1,000 tuition fee discountRead more and apply now.

What is Heritage Management?

“Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.” – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The term ‘heritage’ has various interpretations, which ultimately depend on the background and interests of the stakeholder.

It can be tangible or intangible, movable or immovable, old or new, owned privately, communally, corporately, or not at all.

In the past, heritage ‘properties’ were often thought of as individual buildings or monuments, such as churches and temples. Today it is generally recognised that the whole environment (or site) of a heritage property is important and has been influenced by its interaction with humanity.

You may be familiar with World Heritage sites like the Angkor Temples, the Great Barrier Reef, Yellowstone National Park, Stonehenge, and the Galapagos Islands.

Whilst physical structures generally come to mind when considering heritage, intangible forms are equally important in many cultures. Intangible heritage represents the living culture of communities, it’s components of its intrinsic identity, and its uniqueness and distinctiveness in comparison with all other human groups.

Why Manage Heritage?

The broadening of properties under the heritage ‘umbrella’ has dramatically increased the number of places and landscapes that require preservation, stewardship, and promotion.

There has also been an increase in complexities and threats to heritage properties in recent times, such as tourism, climate change, human conflict, and resource constraints.

The practice of heritage management might involve strategic and financial planning, disaster preparation, and people, project and site management.

It might also include fundraising, arts sponsorship, external funding, and the marketing of heritage sites.

Ultimately, heritage management is the practice of preserving, protecting and promoting heritage in its various forms.

The Past, Present, and Future

Heritage shapes people’s lives, feelings, emotions, hopes, and memories. It can teach us about cultures and peoples of the past… how they lived, the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.

Heritage is also, therefore, a powerful lens through which to extract lessons from the past. Importantly, those lessons can be applied to understand and tackle present and future world challenges, such as climate change, migration, conflict, and decolonisation.

Sources and Further Reading

MA International Heritage Management and Consultancy at the University of Exeter

UNESCO website:

UNESCO Guide — Managing Cultural World Heritage:

Lenzerini F. Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Living Culture of Peoples. European Journal of International Law, Volume 22, Issue 1, 1 February 2011, Pages 101–120.