Transcript of MA Heritage and Identity by Distance Learning

Title: MA Heritage and Identity by distance learning

Duration: 3m22s

MA Heritage and Identity by distance learning

John Carman

It’s a programme in heritage and identity and looks at the phenomenon of heritage from a number of perspectives. The first core module is one on Critical Approaches to Studying Heritage. We also have a research skills module which complements that in a practical sort of way. And also looks at the way, the different way heritage presents itself to us as buildings, as ruin structures, as museum collections, all that kind of thing. And then moves into a series of optional modules which look at the relationship between heritage and identity in particular areas, so for example ethnicity or religious identity or gender
identities.

What makes this programme unique and interesting?

Well it is the only programme in the world that looks specifically at the connection between heritage and issues of identity and heritage and identity are very closely connected. Our heritage is what determines our identity to be but equally our identity determines the sort of heritages to we make connection. And so those two things are very closely tied together.

Also the fact that it is run as a distance learning course means that students are engaging with people from all over the world, in studying it, which gives them a much broader understanding I think of how these two things relate to one another.

Who is the programme for?
It's designed to be deliberately broad to attract as wide an audience as possible. At present we have a number of students from the UK who are mostly more mature than those who are studying aged twenty-something. And an awful lot of students from overseas who are interested very much more in the policy issues involved in heritage rather than gaining a specific skillset.

People who may be already working in the heritage sector or who have ambitions to work in the heritage sector, but who don’t feel the need for a sort of strict vocational training, but perhaps more interested in the policy side of things.

What do students who complete this programme go on to do?

A fair number of them are already working in the heritage sector one way or another, others have ambitions to do that. There’s no reason why it couldn’t also be relevant to people who are interested in going into politics, for example, or religion, or any other area of life. Since a lot of our students are mature they are very often already engaged in a particular career so this is about developing that career rather than moving on into something new.

How is the programme delivered?

It is delivered through our virtual learning environment, which involves putting lots of things up on computers, which you have access as and when you choose. There’s also direct contact with a personal tutor which you can do through email or by phone or by Skype or whatever mechanism most suits you. And in particular we organise a two-day research weekend where we bring students together. The first day is run as a sort of small conference where everybody gives a presentation, including staff and students. Day two is a trip out to the Ironbridge Gorge and a chance to look at the museums there and see how that works as a World Heritage site.