Heritage Practice (MRes)
The MRes in Heritage Practice is a programme with a 60-credit taught part and a Dissertation of 120 credits, which has an allowance of up to 30,000 words. The taught element enables students to engage critically with concepts of heritage and its practice in Wales as well as in other parts of the world. It enhances your skills, enabling you to develop research strategies for use in exploring your chosen angle on a sector that is gaining increased significance in today’s world.
The programme of study offers students a unique opportunity to explore a targeted range of heritage issues because the taught modules lead to a programme of research devised by the individual student, under the direction of a supervisor. All MRes students take the Research Methodologies module, but then their routes diverge as they select one module from each of two distinct and specialised pathways, one in Cultural Heritage and the other in Museums and Archives. This preparation leads to the student’s own dissertation project.
The Cultural Heritage pathway focuses upon the notion of heritage as cultural practice. It enables students to explore important questions, for example where does heritage come from, how is it constructed, what does it do, how does it relate to the past and present, and what are its potential uses for the future? This pathway also encourages students to investigate relationships between heritage and the construction of identity, as well as the role of landscape, architecture and monuments in determining and embedding heritage.
The second pathway, on Museums and Archives, explores many of the issues surrounding the management, conservation, practice and legislation surrounding the operation of museums and archives.
Students who complete the MRes programme are equipped with a sound basis for undertaking a research degree. Alternatively they may take their specific knowledge and understanding to apply in the workplace or in other settings.
Students will choose three modules. Below is an illustrative list of modules available:
- Research Methodologies
- Heritage: Representation and Interpretation
- Heritage Tourism Contexts
- Exhibiting the Past Museums, Collections and Heritage
- Documenting the Past Archives: Libraries and Heritage
- Heritage and Architecture: Heritage and the Built Environment
- Heritage Project Management in the Modern World
- Work placement
- Independent project
Teaching staff who deliver this programme rely upon their established research and expertise in heritage and heritage related concerns. The range of projects they have undertaken over a number of years, sometimes with partners in other institutions, includes:
- the excavation and conservation of the Newport Ship, Wales
- the excavation of a medieval bishop’s palace at Fetternear, Scotland, as well as the post-excavation research on and exhibition of the finds
- the development of a collaborative museum exhibition of Egyptian scarabs
- the excavation of the medieval abbey site at Strata Florida, with community and schools engagement
- landscape heritage and interpretation
- the construction of social memory through war remembrance and memorials
- the Tregaron Elephant project, with its community engagement
- research into ancient Andean textiles in association with the British Museum
This considerable bank of knowledge and skills underpins the programme, contributing to a high quality educational experience. As part of their research and project management, staff have worked with bodies including CADW, Historic England/English Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust, RCAHMW, UNESCO, Qatari Museums Authority, the British Museum, Blairs Museum (Aberdeenshire) and St Fagans National History Museum.
This experience feeds into teaching that offers unique insights into the heritage sector, its organisations and structures, its operational procedures and regulation, as well as its ethical and conservation considerations. It provides students with strong opportunities for entering heritage-related employment.
For residential students, most of the teaching takes place on the Lampeter campus, where the university is built round an archaeological site. Old Building is a listed building which backs onto a medieval motte.
A range of assessment methods are used from essays and short written evaluation, to the creation of publicity flyers, feasibility reports on a heritage site, project designs, an exhibition, oral presentations and reflective pieces.
The normal minimum requirement for admission is a Bachelor’s degree, with a good 2.1 honours, or equivalent. However as part of an inclusive approach to learning we encourage applications from students from non-traditional entry points or without recognised educational backgrounds, but who have an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant relevant professional experience. In such cases the programme leader may ask for a telephone/ skype conversation or request evidence in the form of a piece of work, report, analysis of some sort to satisfy themselves that each student is able to fulfil their potential on the course.