Heritage listening: Duchess the podcast

Inevitably I have become an avid listener to the new heritage-focused podcast series launched by the Duchess of Rutland, simply entitled, “Duchess” as I have headed out for my daily constitutionals during lockdown.

The first series has ranged far and wide across the UK, focusing on the personal stories of the women behind the running and development of private stately homes and estates – most of whom are united by being part of the British aristocracy with the title Duchesses. As Emma Rutland wryly observes, it is a somewhat elite club!

She has however produced utterly engaging interviews which have been exceedingly open and honest, revealing how the interviewees have married into, inherited, survived and prospered as members of the British establishment. More importantly the interviews go a long way to break down the stereotypes of the private stately home owner in explaining the trials and tribulations of the sleeves-rolled-up approaches needed for maintaining the ongoing survival and flourishing of the estates in local communities and modern society more widely.

The love of peeking behind the curtain will make the series appeal to many, whilst anyone interested more in the ‘management’ of heritage sites will find plenty too, as the stories have provided a wealth of case studies of innovation, social inclusion, community development, tourism experience creation, and reflections on long term stewardship of historic assets in private hands often against the odds.

The podcasts can be found in the usual audio locations, and further details can also be found on the dedicated website: https://www.duchessthepodcast.com

Sector knowledge: The Historic Environment – Policy & Practice

Journal Summary: The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice is a journal for all those that investigate, conserve and manage the historic environment.  The journal was established in association with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists.
The journal contains papers relevant to archaeological practitioners, and those involved in building conservation – contractors, consultants, curators, researchers, students and fieldworkers – both professional and voluntary. Content cuts across organisational divisions to identify themes which are of concern and interest to all practitioners.
The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice demonstrates best practice and appropriate methods, and the enhancement of technical and professional skills. The journal relates these skills to topical issues and features the political, legal, economic, cultural, environmental, social and educational contexts, and the academic frameworks, in which those involved in the historic environment work.

The scope includes:

  • Development of skills and competence in archaeology and conservation
  • Best practice approaches to cultural resource management
  • New techniques in the investigation of ancient and recent archaeological sites, landscapes and buildings
  • The relationship between historic sites and past and future environmental change

Publisher: Routledge

Website: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/yhen20/current

Access: Subscription; some open access

Journal Type: Academic peer reviewed

Sector knowledge: The George Wright Forum (archived journal)

Journal Summary: From 1981 through until 2018, the George Wright Society published The George Wright Forum, an interdisciplinary journal that explored innovative thinking and offered enduring perspectives on critical issues across the whole spectrum of place-based heritage management and stewardship. The George Wright Forum published insights from virtually every field in cultural and natural resources related to parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. You can download free of charge every paper ever published in The George Wright Forum from our publications archive website: http://www.georgewright.org/forum_issues.

Publisher: George Wright Society

Website: https://www.georgewrightsociety.org/georgewrightforum

Access: Open access

Journal Type: Academic peer reviewed

Sector knowledge: Museum Practice

Museum Practice logoJournal Summary: Museum Practice (MP) was launced in 1998 to provide examples of new developments and innovations in museums and galleries, from the latest technology to new ways of interpreting objects and storing collections. The magazine has moved to be an online magazine which each month examines a different area of museum practice, with opportunities for readers to contrtibute case studies and share best practice.
Publisher: Museums Association
Access: Professional institute research and insight articles and case studies; MA member access
Journal Type: Industry journal

Sector knowledge: Landscape Research

Landscape research coverJournal Summary: Landscape Research, the peer-reviewed journal of the Landscape Research Group, is a dedicated international forum for debating landscape. The journal is distinctive in its combining of high-quality and innovative research papers with reflective critiques of landscape practice.
Contributions to the journal appeal to a wide academic and professional readership and reach an interdisciplinary and international audience. Whilst unified by a focus on landscape, the coverage of Landscape Research is wide ranging. The journal therefore encourages submissions from a range of disciplines, including environmental conservation, geography (human and physical), landscape architecture, archaeology, history, anthropology, urban studies, planning, design, heritage studies, ecology, countryside management, cultural studies and forestry.
Publisher: Routledge
Access: Subscription; some open access
Journal Type: Academic peer reviewed

Beijing city walls

There are tantalising glimpses of the remains of the Ming Dynasty city walls around the modern centre of Beijing. Some parts have been adapted and built up against, whilst some like this section are backdrops to tiny pocket parks, which provide much needed green space in a frenetic city. Often you have to take a moment to work out what you are looking at, as not all sections have interpretation panels (though many do, like this one). The sections provide intimate glimpses into the long history of settlement and the ever-present role of history and a deeply valued cultural story. They are used heavily as spaces for rest for workers from nearby offices and recreation space for flat dwellers in the vicinity who have little green space access otherwise.

Appreciating scale from the air in heritage management – returning to China

F5392A91-62A8-46A6-A300-C57409778815I have just arrived back in China for one of my regular trips in my role as Confucius Institute director for Heriot-Watt University.  The sheer scale of heritage sites, cultural parks and the effect that scale has on heritage management practice never ceases to fascinate me particularly from the air as I arrive in Beijing. Sadly I didn’t have my camera to hand on this trip as the plane banked around the city from north to south to bring me in to the new Daxing airport, but the visibility was good enough to again identify stretches of the Great Wall to the north, and then a number of urban parks and cultural sites as we got closer to our landing point. Regardless of differences in management philosophies for heritage between the west and the east, one of the major factors that we sometimes fail to really appreciate is the sheer scale for heritage conservation which China faces in both the rural and urban landscape.

Academic journals: Journal of Cultural Heritage

Journal summary: The Journal of Cultural Heritage (JCH) is a multidisciplinary journal of science and technology for studying problems concerning conservation and awareness of cultural heritage in a wide framework. The main purpose of JCH is to publish original papers which comprise previously unpublished data and present innovative methods concerning all scientific aspects related to the knowledge of cultural heritage as well as novel interpretation and theoretical issues related to preservation. The journal is intended to offer a venue to scientists from different disciplines whose common objective is developing and applying scientific methods to improve the research and knowledge on cultural heritage, in particular in the following fields: • Safeguarding, conservation and exploitation of cultural heritage • Heritage management and economic analyses • Computer sciences in cultural heritage • Impact of climate change on cultural heritage and management of the change

Publisher: Elsevier

Website: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-cultural-heritage

Access: Subcription; some open-access

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Academic journals: Journal of Architectural Conservation

Journal Summary: The Journal of Architectural Conservation provides invaluable guidance on policy, practice and technical developments. Encouraging debate on a broad variety of conservation issues, this peer-reviewed Journal with its high academic and professional standards fulfils its ambition to illuminate, question and inform. The journal’s scope is wide-ranging and includes discussion on aesthetics and philosophies; historical influences; project evaluation and control; repair techniques; materials; reuse of buildings; legal issues; inspection, recording and monitoring; management and interpretation; and historic parks and gardens. Journal of Architectural Conservation also offers a valuable resource that includes information on building types; building materials and their conservation; recent case studies; developments in specific construction techniques; and research results from key investigations.

Publisher: Routledge

Website: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/raco20/current 

Access: Subscription

Journal type: Academic peer-reviewed

Ickworth Uncovered

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Ickworth © David Gill

Work has started on the Ickworth Uncovered project. This will involve repairing and retiling the roof of the Rotunda.

The crane lifting the covering structure into place is over 80 m tall.

The project is expected to cost around £5 million.