Master inHeritage Management
The ways in which we understand and manage ‘heritage’ are changing rapidly, while the physical remains of our past – buildings, landscapes, city streets, archives, artefacts and archaeological sites – and the intangible associations of tradition, language and memory continue to shape the ways in which we live our lives.
This course poses challenging questions about our thinking and practice, and offers students the opportunity to explore this through a series of practical projects, working in partnership with a wide range of heritage organisations across Bath, the region, and beyond. We will help you set heritage in its social, political and economic context, and support you in a series of placements so that you can see how this plays out on the ground, for real.
The hare with amber eyes – a tiny Japanese netsuke – is part of de Waal’s personal inheritance, knotted in the threads of family and world history, but the questions he asks of it belong to us all. We are moved by the evidence of the past because of what it is, whether a torn family photograph or the soaring arches of a great cathedral; the fragments of a letter or the sweep of a battlefield. We are moved because of the stories they tell us, the events they witnessed.
This course asks the same questions of historic buildings, museum collections, parks and gardens, archaeological sites, public and private archives. It also asks questions about the ways in which these resources are managed, presented and explained, and explores these through a series of encounters with heritage practitioners and heritage places. What challenges are heritage bodies currently facing? What choices do they make in dealing with them? How will current pressures on funding for heritage in the UK – and further afield – and ambitions to increase the proportion of earned income shape our experience of visiting and working in museums and heritage sites? And how will our wider understanding of heritage change as a result?
Trying to answer such questions provides a framework for practical work in the sector, underpinned by hands-on, supportive teaching. As well as thinking about heritage, we want you to become involved a range of projects, working with our partners in local, regional and national heritage organisations, and to gain experience on the ground.
Course Structure and Content
The course offers a broad basis for developing your skills in heritage management, and will reflect both your needs and interests and the changing nature of the sector itself. It has been designed to provide everyone with a common starting point, but it also offers a chance to explore particular themes and to become involved in substantial pieces of work.
The course consists of the following modules:
- Developing heritage thinking and practice for the 21st century: This module introduces the key concepts we will use throughout the course, and asks how far heritage practice has kept pace with changes in heritage thinking and in society, politics and the economy. It poses two major questions: How did we get here and where next?
- Leadership, management and governance: How are heritage organisations managed? How can they meet current challenges? What skills will you need to meet the future needs of the sector? This module will give everyone the opportunity to consider the practical challenges involved in managing a heritage attraction.
- Understanding and analysing current practice: This module revisits the thinking we explored during the first trimester and applies it to current examples of heritage practice. This module will take you beneath the surface of a new gallery, a restored garden, or a period interior, and ask you to consider: why this? It will enable you to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the ways in which the heritage sector really works.
- Supported placement: The placement provides you with an opportunity to undertake a substantial piece of work, supported by workshops led by leading heritage practitioners, many of whom will continue to act as mentors throughout the rest of the module. Your placement might involve work on funding and fundraising, developing volunteers, researching collections, or marketing, communications and advocacy. We see this as the focal point of the course, and potentially of enormous value to you and to the organisations with whom you’ll be working.
- Final project or dissertation: Your final project may represent an extension of your placement work, the opportunity to complete a new project, or a more traditional, research- based dissertation. Project work might involve preparing a learning programme, accompanied by appropriate materials; producing a film or developing a website.
Teaching Methods and Resources
The course will be delivered mainly through intensive workshops, often run by leaders in their own field in the heritage sector. These will be complemented by guest lectures, offering you the chance to become involved in thinking about major heritage issues as they develop. There will also be practical sessions, encompassing research skills, financial management and business planning, project planning and implementation and information literacy. These will be tailored for you and the organisations you work with.
We will be making extensive use of the extraordinary heritage of Bath and the surrounding area, including the University’s own campuses at Corsham Court, where this course is based, and the main site at Newton Park. A number of major capital projects are now nearing their completion, and you will have opportunities to consider these in depth, exploring the challenges involved in initiating and implementing schemes on such an ambitious scale. There are two World Heritage Sites on the University’s doorstep: the iconic landscape of Stonehenge and Avebury and the City of Bath itself. Managing these involves lots of partners and a range of complex issues, and we will be analysing a number of these.
You will be assessed through a mix of project work, formal essays, reports and a final Dissertation or Project. Your final project might include producing a film, developing a website, or preparing learning materials for a range of different audiences. Alternatively, a more traditional Dissertation might lead you to further research and a PhD.
Careers in the heritage sector include roles in collections management, education and learning, exhibition planning and implementation, community engagement and outreach, and marketing and fundraising. You might also become involved in operational management, events planning, retail and visitor services.
Not everyone will want a job in the ‘heritage industry’. Therefore, the course includes a range of generic skills and opportunities which are aimed at increasing employability for Bath Spa postgraduates in the voluntary sector, social enterprises, fundraising, and a wide range of administrative and management roles. As well as studying heritage management, you will be fostering links with external partners and with other departments across the University. These may be the connections which help lead you into other roles, including education, the cultural industries or to self-employment.
Applicants will normally have a good first degree (2.1 or above) in any academic subject. Applicants without a first degree may be considered if they can demonstrate considerable relevant experience; they may be asked to attend an interview.
If English is not your first language then you will need to provide evidence of proficiency in written and spoken English. The normal minimum requirement for admission onto one of the programmes is an overall score of 6.5 on the British Council IELTS test or 600 on the TOEFL test. The British Council organises regular language tests in most countries.