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MSc Environment, Heritage and Policy

The MSc in Environment, Heritage and Policy programme was introduced in 2012/13 and has a strong emphasis on both the conceptual and the intellectual study of heritage within the wider context of environmental history, which provides a fascinating and unique approach to studying the subject. The interdisciplinary nature of the programme means that you can straddle more than one discipline and gain wider and more diverse skills. The field trips will allow you to take your learning outside of the classroom while providing the opportunity to experience the Scottish environment first hand.  The programme has strong links to industry and offers the opportunity to complete a work-based project involving real-world research and dissemination.

The Scottish Funding Council supports this programme, offering tuition fees for 10 students (domiciled in Scotland and the EU) on the programme for 2015/16. Additionally, two competitive bursary awards of £1000 per year are available to all students on the programme to undertake research/project work with the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, see below). 

In the autumn semester, students undertake three core modules which provide the theoretical, philosophical and methodological grounding for the programme of study.

ENHPP30: Introduction to Heritage and Environment. The module provides the student with an understanding of the complexities of interdisciplinary analysis in the broad field of heritage studies; the problems and potentials in the integration of science and humanities, especially history, in analysis of cultural heritage; the problems and potentials in the integration of science and humanities, especially history, in analysis of cultural heritage; the complexities and conflicts in the definition and ownership of ‘heritage’; the evolution of the ‘nature v culture’ debates in heritage management and interpretation; the influences of communication media in dissemination of knowledge and the applicability of interdisciplinary methodologies to the study.

ENHPP31: Heritage Theory and Practice. Central to this module is the multiple and fluid definitions of what value, significance and importance are, the legacy this has created and the future implications for practices ‘on the ground’. These concepts lie at the root of all good heritage management practice. Cultural heritage managers need to understand why the practices that their organisations inculcate them with, and monuments they work with, take their present form. In addition, they need to understand why, when they consider the future of these resources, they will inevitably encounter differences of perspective from other individuals and communities with a stake in what happens to the historic environment. Future opportunities and solutions lie in being able to recognise and analyse these issues. Students will explore definitions and applications of value, significance and importance of heritage; challenges to ‘authorised heritage discourse’; the management of significance: conservation and change and interpretation and presentation.

ENHPP21: Research Skills. This module equips the student with both the theoretical and practical experiences to undertake independent research. Students will gain a basic grounding in a variety of skills, such as reading evidence for long-term change in the natural environment; heritage ‘on the ground’; geo-archaeology for historians; extracting environmental evidence from historical documents; biographical approaches to heritage; discourse analysis in relation to environmental politics; integrating science and history; writing research proposal and effective dissemination.

In the spring and summer semesters (depending on choices) students take a total of 3 options modules. These include

ENHPP24: Heritage, Identity and Place. The module provides the student with an understanding of the concepts of heritage, identity and place. Taught through a series of case studies, the module will introduce the student to differing perceptions of cultural and natural heritage, the concept of constructed/manufactured identities, and the notion of ‘place’. It will explore themes ranging from protected space (SSSIs to WHS), ‘the mining imaginary’, wilderness and frontier, to ‘edgelands’ and community identities, together illustrating debates surrounding current and future policy for heritage management and interpretation for diverse audiences as well as exposing the conflicts over showcasing of living heritage. This module is intended to provide students with knowledge of the positive and negative impacts of past and current heritage management regimes in differing cultural environments, raising awareness of the tension between conservation/preservation and increased tourist access; visitor experience v local needs; and the creation and manipulation of imagined and imaginary identities.

ENHPP25: The ‘Roots of Green Consciousness’. The module uses the debate set out by T C Smout in his 2005 revised article, ‘The Highlands and the roots of green consciousness, 1750–1990’, as a vehicle to explore the tensions between traditional/romantic and post-romantic views of natural/cultural heritage and their place in framing conflicts between economic development and conservation. It uses the example of the Scottish Highlands and Islands as a lens through which to examine debates over the sublime, access and restriction, ownership, reforestation, economic development/rural industrialisation, crofting, wildernesses, National Parks, leisure and utility. The module also explores responses to the differing pressures of nature conservation, ecology, recreational use, political agendas and economic growth. It is designed to give the students critical awareness of the origin and development of conflicts now central to the management of natural and cultural heritage tourism resources; of the principal dimensions of the biological versus anthropogenic debates; and the issues of ‘insider’ v ‘outsider’ perceptions of the management needs and development strategies.

ENHPP26: Protected Places: World Heritage Sites. This module is designed to introduce the student to what World Heritage Sites (WHS) are in theory and practice by exploring the legal and policy background and the practical issues involved in their definition, identification, inscription and protection. The module explores the challenges and opportunities that different stakeholders face arising from this global form of designation, reflecting on both their peculiarities and wider application to understandings of environment, heritage and policy. A recurring theme is the tensions between local, national and global objectives of heritage management with specific issues including tangible and intangible values, separation of nature and culture, and sustainability in the face of development and tourism pressures. The module builds upon concepts and practices examined in ENHP30 and ENHP31. The lecturers draw upon their first-hand experiences of working with WHS in different parts of the world.

PREPP77 Strategic Tourism Public Relations and Communication Management. This module is delivered by Communication, Media and Culture and explores the role of public relations in the tourist industry from multiple stakeholder perspectives. Topics include international and cross-cultural communication, risk communication, social responsibility and environmental impacts, globalization and multiculturalism.

ENHPP32 Excavation. This module is delivered in partnership with the University of Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute (UHI) and involves a two-week stay (usually in June) in the Orkney Islands. Students will work with staff and students from UHI on The Cairns excavation, which consists of a large Atlantic roundhouse or broch and associated structures from various phases through the Iron Age and Norse period. The excavation site is a part of a wider archaeological research project investigating the later prehistory of the Windwick landscape on the island of South Ronaldsay. This module will give students the opportunity to: understand the process of executing an archaeological excavation; gain experience in a range of excavation techniques; develop and awareness of current practices in sampling and recording; and undertake field recording to a professional standard. Students will be required to provide their own accommodation and subsistence

ENHPP33: The Heritage of Death and Worship. This module is designed to consider the material legacy of past death and worship practices, and to explore the particular issues and opportunities these create for today's heritage managers. Evidence for past death and worship practices is all around us, above and below the ground. Categories of resource include rock and partial art, human remains, memorials and other monuments, graveyards, and places of worship. Enveloping so many aspects of past human behaviours and practices, and relevant to all places and times, this module permits a snapshot of what are commonplace yet invariably challenging heritage issues in practice. The module draws on local and global examples.

ENHPP34: Geoarchaeology of the North Atlantic. In this research-based module geoarchaeology is defined as the reading of soil and sediment stratigraphies found in archaeological and historical landscapes with the purposes of creating new narratives of the relationships between societies and their environments. These stratigraphies reflect site activities and early land uses together with associated environmental contexts; they are records of the complex relationships between past societies and bio-physical processes of landscape histories. Taking a resource management perspective the module gives theoretical frameworks for interpreting soils and sediments as records of the past and introduces field and laboratory methods that identify, quantify and evaluate early human activities and environmental imprints. These understandings and skills contribute new landscape histories for the North Atlantic and offers important and challenging perspectives on how people lived with and adapted to environmental change and developed land resources. They also have resonance with contemporary debates on sustainability, resilience and heritage management. The module is delivered either in late May or early June at Orkney College over 5 days (students are expected to provide their own accommodation and subsistence).

SEPP004 New option for 2015/16: Measuring Social Outcomes and Impacts. This module is delivered by sociology and forms part of their degree programme in Social Enterprise and offers a three-day intensive module that introduces the nature of evaluation and covers a selection of techniques that are most commonly employed in relation to social enterprise. It examines the social and economic impacts of social enterprise, and how this affects different sections of the population. It also looks at the policy impacts and influence of social enterprises. The purpose and problems of measurement are discussed, along with the practicalities of capturing and recording data. The effective reporting of evaluation data is examined, and ways to incorporate evaluation data into forward planning processes is discussed. The module is designed to enable students to build understanding of the elementary principles of evaluation; to learn about both the scope and the limitations of different evaluation techniques; to appreciate the value of different types of evaluation data; and to develop skills in presenting evaluation data for effective use both internally and externally. It aims to furnish students with a range of academic skills, especially analytical and critical skills and techniques associated with evaluation research. The module will foster self-management and personal organisation. 

Delivery of core and option modules is by a lively mix of seminars, lectures, interactive workshops and field-based teaching. Students are encouraged to conduct independent work and bring their ideas back to the classroom.

ENHPPDS Dissertation or Work-based Project The dissertation or work-based project element of the programme gives students the opportunity to conceive, design and carry out an original research project (a dissertation topic chosen by themselves, or by a project partner) or to undertake a work-based project working with a project partner. The project partner will be a heritage or related relevant body that offers the student support (in-kind, at least) for the delivery of their project. The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI), in partnership with the Schools of Arts and Humanities, is currently offering two £1000-bursaries per year for the next three years (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18) to complement or parallel one of their 30 project themes. Award is by competitive proposal and interview. All students who receive the bursaries would be expected to disseminate their research to a wider audience, either in the form of a public lecture or guided walk, and permit their study to be published on IFLI’s webpages.  

Alongside regular teaching there is a spring and autumn programme of seminars and workshops that students are expected to attend and participate in. The Tuesday ‘Centre Series’ is aimed at promoting a vibrant and dynamic research culture within the Centre and strengthen established links with Biological and Environmental Sciences. Heritage seminars and workshops (which may fall on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) are designed to bring students into contact with practitioners working in the heritage sector and the current issues they are addressing. There are other ad hoc activities that the students will be invited to participate in as well.

The programme also benefits from strong links with the University Art Collection. The Art Collection is a MLA-accredited museum and holds around 600 items with an emphasis on Scottish contemporary art, including paints, prints and sculptures. Students benefit through volunteer opportunities and input to the collection’s exhibition schedule. Jane Cameron (Art Curator) and Sarah Bromage (SPAR Archivist and Learning and Audience Development Curator) also contribute to teaching on both the Masters and undergraduate degree programmes.

Please email Catherine Mills (programme director) if you would like any further details on the MSc programme.

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