Heritage Pathway

Six pictures depicting the many facets of heritage

Cast iron Lighthouse at Whiteford Point by S P L (CC BY-ND 2.0); Oxford University Museum of Natural History by Chris Chabot (CC BY-NC 2.0); Fragment of the Antikythera Mechanism by Andrew Barclay (CC BY-NC 2.0); Archaeologists at work at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve by AlaskaNPS (CC BY 2.0); ‘Histories, Mysteries and Future of Oxford’s Broad Street Heads’ Project © Keiko Ikeuchi / History of Science Museum, University of Oxford; ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ Exhibition © Emily Jarrett / Ashmolean

Heritage Pathway is a series of training and engagement activities which run termly. Since 2015, Heritage Pathway has provided undergraduate and postgraduate students, along with Early Career Researchers at the University of Oxford with the skills, knowledge and confidence to engage effectively with a wide range of partners in the heritage, museums and cultural sector. 

Heritage Pathway is designed and delivered by Alice Purkiss and Dr Rachel Delman and organised through the Humanities Researcher Training and Development Programme

Through a combination of lectures, workshops and site visits led by expert practitioners, participants understand their research in a wider context and gain experience in the heritage, museums and cultural sector. Heritage Pathway opens up new avenues for careers and collaborations, while reinforcing researchers’ ability to complete their research projects and academic tasks in a timely fashion.

Heritage Pathway enables participants to:

•    Understand the opportunities and constraints within each sector of heritage.
•    Understand the different language and vocabulary required to create successful collaborations.
•    Explore how their research experience and expertise can contribute to organisations.
•    Develop the skills and confidence to create collaborative research-led projects.
•    Join a cohort of like-minded undergraduates, postgraduates and early career researchers.
•    Develop and enhance networking abilities with internal and external colleagues.

Previous sessions have explored themes including:

•    Heritage and its Audiences
•    Case Studies in Collaboration: Digital Projects
•    Researching, Curating and Interpreting Collections
•    Careers in the Heritage and Museums Sectors
•    CVs and Cover Letters for the Heritage Sector
•    Commercial Heritage
•    Cataloguing and Digital Projects
•    Cataloguing and Spectrum Standards
•    Interpretation
•    Diversifying Heritage
•    Communicating Heritage
•    Working with Objects
•    Heritage and Landscape
•    Heritage and Authenticity

Site visits always include opportunities to meet with senior leaders and managers to discuss the ways in which research and the day-to-day and strategic concerns of sites and organisations intersect. Previous visits include: Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Black Country Living Museum, and Charleston Farmhouse.

The programme team also organised an international trip to Amsterdam to enable participants to explore European research culture, museums and heritage organisations. This trip was scheduled to take place in March 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

For further information please contact training@humanities.ox.ac.uk.

New for 2023: Opportunity to join the Lab in Your Pocket Training Cohort 
The "Lab in Your Pocket" (LIYP) is an innovative initiative under the Heritage Pathway programme, new for 2023, serving as a pilot testbed for human-machine collaboration in education and research. Funded by the University, LIYP leverages underutilised smartphone technology to boost education and professional development. Our focus is on enhancing students' digital, heritage, and scientific literacy. 
Through Heritage Pathway sessions that are open to all, as well as focussed activities for the competitively-selected LIYP cohort, we aim to guide participants in maximising their own tech resources for professional growth in the heritage sector.  The programme is designed to help them build a comprehensive digital portfolio that can be shared with cultural and community stakeholders. Our program includes two hands-on field visits: one centred on objects, and the other on historical architecture and environments. 
LIYP is designed to be inclusive, offering all necessary tech support. We value participant feedback, dedicating time for suggestions as part of our co-design pilot. Additionally, participants will co-create a digital portfolio to document experiences, facilitate reflection, and preserve the legacy of the program for all involved. 
Applications to join the LIYP cohort will open in Michaelmas term, with full details about the scheme and how to apply provided at the Heritage Pathway sessions and online. 

Heritage Events Hilary 2024

Current Issues in Arts & Heritage: Apps for engagement

Wednesday 24th January 2024, 11am - 12.30pm, online

What makes a good heritage engagement app? What makes an app a good vehicle for engaging with academic work about heritage sites and spaces? In this session, we will hear from two academics who have developed successful heritage engagement apps. What collaborative efforts made these apps possible? What skills did they need to have/develop? What unexpected challenges and opportunities did the app projects bring?

•    Professor Fabrizio Nevola, Chair in Art History and Visual Culture, University of Exeter 
•    Sara Polak, Visiting Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute 

Book now >> 


Heritage Workshop: Ethics of co-producing heritage engagement

Wednesday 7th February 2024, 11am - 1pm, TORCH Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities

In this session, we will use practice-based examples to discuss current debates on who is represented, whose perspectives are centred, and who gets to participate in curatorial choices within heritage spaces. Who are museums and heritage sites for? What does participation mean in this context, and how does co-production mediate the tensions arising from these questions? 
Participants will be invited to critically reflect on dimensions of this discourse, including the interplay of language, power dynamics, funding, collective agency, and differing epistemological underpinnings in the participatory processes discussed.  

This session will be run by Professor Kathryn Eccles, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute and Pembroke College. 

Book now >> 


Workshop: 3D Heritage: Digital Tools for Object Engagement

Wednesday 21st February 2024, 11am – 1pm, TORCH Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities

This session will introduce participants to the concept and utility of 3D digital tools in cultural heritage documentation, presentation and interpretation. We will explore cases and experiences from Tom Flynn, a leading digital heritage practitioner working with 3D, AR, and VR cultural content, and colleagues from the Hampshire Cultural Trust, who have worked with leading experts in the gaming and technology industries to develop 878 AD, an immersive shopping centre Heritage experience in the city of Winchester.  
Tom Flynn spent many years as Sketchfab’s advocate for heritage focussed digital objects and projects and has advised a wide range of partner organisations including UNESCO, the European Commission, Creative Commons, and many universities and cultural institutions. Check out one of his blogs to get a taste of his expertise.
You can read more about 878 AD and the work of the Hampshire Cultural Trust here.

Book now >>


Site Trip & Museum Workshop: Winchester

Monday 4th March 2024, 8.45am – 4.30pm, Winchester

This term’s Heritage Pathway trip will be to Winchester! In this session we will visit, explore and evaluate 878 AD, an immersive visitor experience recreating a crucial moment in Winchester’s history by combining VR, live acting and historic collections. We will explore the experience, which was designed by the Hampshire Cultural Trust in conjunction with Ubisoft, the leading video game company responsible for Assassin’s Creed. We will then go out into the City to test the associated app. We will then move to the Arc, Winchester’s cultural hub located in a grade II-listed building, for a bespoke workshop with Oxford staff and the Hampshire Cultural Trust team.
Throughout the day, we will consider the following questions:   

•    What value does an immersive experience provide? 
•    Does an immersive experience add to your understanding of the heritage site and its story? 
•    What role does gamification play?  
•    What audience might be particularly attracted to, or conversely, alienated by, such technology? 

Places are strictly limited and allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. We will be travelling by coach which will pick us up at 8.45am outside the Radcliffe Humanities Building. We are expecting to be back in Oxford at 4.30pm, subject to traffic conditions.

**Please note, this course requires a £20 deposit which will be refunded once you have attended the course, or have cancelled your place at least 72 hours before the course start date. Please see our full Terms and Conditions for more information.

Book now >>


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TORCH Heritage Programme Homepage

National Trust Partnership Homepage

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Humanities Researcher Development Support