Exhibits at Cambridge’ Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The museum’s recent refurbishment will be the subject of one of the Cambridge Heritage Research Group’s public discussions this term.

China’s heritage industry and the politics of the past are just some topics up for discussion in a series of public heritage seminars this term.

The weekly presentations, which are free and open to the public, run up until the end of November and have been organised by the Cambridge Heritage Research Group, based in the Department of Archaeology. The full programme can be found at www.arch.cam.ac.uk/heritage

The group meets each week during term time to discuss current issues in the field of cultural heritage, touching on topics such as how to manage museums, protect sites of historical interest, or balance these considerations with questions of tourist access. Many of the talks are led by invited speakers from fields such as archaeology, social anthropology and classics, as well as students from the group itself.

Talks later this term will include a presentation by Margaret Díaz-Andreu, a scholar of the politics of identity in archaeology, who will discuss Muslim and Jewish archaeology in Spain. There will also be a presentation about the recent refurbishment of Cambridge’s own Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The Heritage Research Group is linked to Cambridge’s MPhil in Archaeological Heritage and Museums, which traces the development of heritage as a public enterprise – the idea of museums, heritage organisations and the role of legislation – examining how the field has expanded and those issues which now define it. Many of its students have gone on to work in major heritage organisations such as the National Trust and English Heritage.

The Group itself aims to create a network of practitioners in the field of heritage studies and heritage management. As well as its weekly discussions, it also runs a series of one-day seminars and two-day conferences, known as the “Cambridge Heritage Seminars”, which aim to bring together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to explore similar issues.

The most recent of these, on October 17th, featured Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust and Robert Hewison, author of the definitive study, “The Heritage Industry”, and touched on themes including the challenges of running niche heritage sites during a recession, how the industry should treat the centenary of World War I’s outbreak in 2014, and whether tourism ultimately compromises authenticity in the management of heritage sites.

Further information about the Cambridge Heritage Research Group can be found at: http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/heritage


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