The British Cultural Heritage programme, led by the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham, seeks to introduce students to the study of heritage sites. Students will explore premier examples of Britain’s heritage, examine the ways these sites are managed, how they attract tourists from around the world and discover the art, architecture, literature, design and popular culture that form the basis of Britain’s identity. The programme involves a mixture of field trips, self-guided study and expert led tours, underpinned by associated lectures that provide an academic context to help students get the most out of the visits.
Highlights from the programme include:
- Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
In 1986 the Ironbridge Gorge was one of the first locations to be designated as a World Heritage Site within the U.K. This designation recognised the area’s unique and unrivalled contribution to the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century; the impact of which is still felt across the world today. During our trip, we will visit some of the 10 museums that tell the story of the Ironbridge Gorge, including Blists Hill Victorian Town, an open-air museum that recreates the sights, sounds and smells of a 19th century Victorian town. We will also visit the iconic Ironbridge, the world’s first bridge to be made of cast iron and the namesake of the picturesque Shropshire town that surrounds it.
- Liverpool World Heritage Site
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the port city of Liverpool was one of the world’s largest trading centres. Pioneers in port technology and transport systems, the city played a key role in the growth of the British Empire. From the mid-20th century, the city became internationally renowned for its culture particularly as the centre of the "Merseybeat" sound, which became synonymous with The Beatles. Today, substantial investment in regeneration schemes - including regeneration of the historic dockyard - has established Liverpool as an excellent place to explore how British cultural heritage has evolved and developed.
- Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare Institute/ Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)
Stratford-upon-Avon is a picturesque market town in the West Midlands of England with more than 800 years of history to discover. The town is a popular tourist destination owing to its status as birthplace of the playwright and poet William Shakespeare. The town is now home to the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, one of Britain’s most important cultural venues. A visit to Stratford will include a trip to the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, which has enjoyed an illustrious past as a beacon for international Shakespeare scholarship, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a charity that cares for Shakespeare’s family homes, celebrating his life and works through collections and educational programmes.
Known as the ‘city of dreaming spires’, Oxford is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. The historic buildings, colleges, libraries, museums, and winding medieval streets make the city excellent place to explore. Our visit to Oxford includes a walking tour to take in the major sites of the city, including those seen in major films such as Harry Potter. We also take a trip to the Pitt Rivers Museum, the University of Oxford's museum of anthropology and world archaeology, famous for its wooden display cases full of curious artefacts from around the world.
On completion of the programme, in addition to receiving 20 credits, students will have been given the opportunity to:
- Demonstrate a critical awareness of the role of cultural heritage in the West Midlands region.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the UK’s heritage sector and some of the important organisations that manage heritage in the UK.
- Communicate research on an aspect of heritage and its value to society.
This is a three week programme and is equivalent to an accredited undergraduate course (20 UK credits, 5 US credits, or 10 ECTS). All students will receive a certificate of attendance.
(Please note that the programme plan is subject to confirmation for BISS 2019)