Current issues in heritage and conservation: challenges and opportunities

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Online via Microsoft TeamsFree

Sponsored by the University of Stirling's Centre for Environment, Heritage, and Policy, this free seminar is a half-day event targeted toward Stirling MSc Heritage students and staff, BA Heritage and Tourism, and PhD students, but is open to wider audiences. 

This year’s event celebrates the University’s new research partnership with the National Trust for Scotland. This new collaboration aims to bring together the heritage sector and higher education, building national and international excellence and resilience in the fields of heritage, environment and society. The partnership will focus on research themes of heritage values and ownership, complex or contested histories, holistic approaches to nature and culture, and sustainability.  

Through 20-minute presentations, followed by discussion, National Trust for Scotland speakers will explore current opportunities and challenges in heritage and conservation through a focus on buildings, collections, landscapes and habitats in their care. The aim is to encapsulate:

  • different types of heritage (cultural and natural landscapes, buildings, monuments, collections);
  • different aspects of heritage work (knowledge and understanding, managing change, protection and conservation, understanding value, collections management, social and economic development);
  • a range of heritage expertise and perspectives (strategy and policy, archaeology, collections management, community heritage engagement);
  • strategic and property-based activity.

After the public seminar, a discussion facilitated by Elaine Watson (University of Stirling), and open to students of the University of Stirling, will be held on the subject of employability and careers in the Heritage sector.

How to attend

This is an open event and no prior booking is required. The event will take place on Microsoft Teams

Time Programme
12:30 - 12:45 Welcome from Siân Jones, Director of the Centre for Environment, Heritage and Policy, Professor of Heritage, University of Stirling and Michael Terwey, Director of Public Engagement and Research, National Trust for Scotland (NTS). Welcome from Gemma Lodge on behalf of MSc Heritage Student Committee.
12:45 - 13:15 Student Chair: Lesley Fraser
Speaker: Dr Daniel Rhodes (Archaeologist, NTS)
“Nothing was too large in mountain conformation nor too small in rabbit scrape”. The Role of the Archaeologist in the National Trust for Scotland.
13:15 - 13:45 Speaker: Sarah Beattie (Senior Curator, NTS) 
Curating Country Houses: Exploring the Past, Embracing the Future.
13:45 - 14:00 Break
14:00 - 14:30 Speaker: David Hicks (Community Engagement Manager, NTS)
Talking to Communities.

14:30 - 15:00

Speaker: Paula Whitelaw (Head of Heritage Planning, NTS)
Planning for Heritage – Process, principles and pitfalls.

15:00 - 15:45

All speaker discussion on wider implications and reflections facilitated by Gillian Gunn and Sarah Mackintosh MSc Heritage students.

15:45 - 16:00

Break/end of public event

16:00 - 17:00

Student open discussion about employability and career journey with Rory Bryce (Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust), facilitated by Elaine Watson Employability and Skills Officer, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling.


Event closed




Daniel Rhodes

Daniel Rhodes is an Archaeologist for the National Trust for Scotland and responsible for the research and conservation of some 13,000 archaeology sites ranging from Mesolithic Settlements in the Cairngorms to World War 2 plane crash sites on Fair Isle.

Daniel studied Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Wales before beginning his career in commercial archaeology in Ireland. He returned to academia in 2003 to study an MSc in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Ulster followed by a PhD focusing on European colonial architecture in Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan.

Prior to joining the NTS in 2009, he held posts as Associate Lecturer at the Open University, Teaching Fellow at the University of Ulster and as a researcher for the British Institute in East Africa and the National Museum of Iceland. He is currently a Senior Honorary Research Fellow with the Division of History, Heritage and Politics at the University of Stirling.

Sarah Beattie

Sarah Beattie has worked with the NTS since 2017, firstly as Regional Curator for Ayrshire, Arran, Dumfries and Galloway and, since July 2023 as the Trust's Senior Curator. Throughout her career, Sarah has worked with a wide variety of collections from fine and decorative art to industrial and maritime history. She has an MA and MLitt in History of Art and History from the University of Glasgow and an MA in the British Country House from the University of Leicester. 

David Hicks

David Hicks manages the Engaging Communities project, an initiative funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which aims to pilot new ways for the Trust to connect with local communities.

Through project officers based at Torridon, Fyvie Castle, Hill House and the Tenement House at Glasgow, researching, consulting and trialling activities with community groups, new models of engagement will be developed which can be applied across the NTS estate.

David specialises in public engagement with heritage, working mostly recently as a freelance consultant, and previously with roles at Edinburgh World Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

Paula Whitelaw

Paula Whitelaw has worked with the Trust since 2001 in various planning roles and since 2022 as Head of Heritage Planning. Her role is primarily responsible for ensuring the highest quality planning activity across all heritage sites in the portfolio of the Trust.

Previously Paula worked with both the RSPB and SEPA supporting planning activity. She has a BSc in Geography from the University of Glasgow and a MSc in Rural and Regional Resources Planning from the University of Aberdeen. She is currently an Honorary Associate Professor with the Division of History, Heritage and Politics at the University of Stirling. 


Rory Bryce

Rory Bryce is a Heritage and Outreach Officer at Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust. Previously, he was the World Heritage Officer and Volunteer Coordinator at New Lanark WHS.

Rory graduated from the University of Stirling MSc Heritage in 2022 but began working at New Lanark while completing his dissertation. He has also since started doing the odd bit of freelance work within the Heritage industry.