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Heritage Studies is concerned with how history, places, people and stories from the past are used by contemporary society. As a field of research, it draws inspiration from a variety of disciplines such as archaeology, cultural geography, sociology and anthropology. The specialisation in heritage revolves around issues of conservation and management, as well as broader themes of identity, nationalism, memory and belonging. You will have the opportunity to study archaeological and historic wonders of the world, the memorialisation and exhibition of difficult histories, and the repatriation of heritage items and human remains in post-colonial contexts, as well as coming to understand heritage as a significant economic resource.
Career opportunities for Heritage graduates
Heritage consultancy work involves the provision of advice and reporting on effective solutions for a wide variety of heritage projects. Consultants work with state and local government authorities, tourism organizations and the business sector. Such jobs provide opportunities to work on some of the most significant heritage places across Australia and overseas, including a diverse range of sites from residential houses to industrial places, natural settings and archaeological sites to cultural landscapes.
Festival and Event manager
Festival and event managers are responsible for co-ordinating and delivering live public events such as markets, special events and festivals with a heritage or cultural flavour. These can include entertainment, food, wine and sporting events, and will involve working closely with event sponsors, partners and key stakeholders, including advertisers, businesses, charities, community groups, participants, sporting and government bodies.
Protected Area Management
Management of protected natural places involves working to conserve and protect precious places like national parks and other nature reserves in order to maintain biodiversity whilst also meeting expanding outdoor recreation needs. This includes working with Traditional Owners, local people, bushwalking groups, school groups, adventure and nature tours and others so that the social, cultural and commercial uses of protected areas is undertaken in a sustainable manner.
Museum Visitor Services
Visitor service officers in the heritage sector tend to work at museums or heritage sites, where they create and manage enjoyable and rewarding visitor experiences. Visitor services staff often operates guided tours of museums and/or heritage sites, implement education policies, staff information desks, and conduct formal inquiries into interpretation strategies. This type of work can involve evenings and weekends.
Heritage Education and Interpretation
Working in heritage education and interpretation will involve providing visitors with engaging information and stories about the histories of people and places. This may be provided at dedicated heritage centres, museums, historic sites, art galleries, national parks, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, nature centres and reserves, and a host of other sites. The work involved may include guided walks, interactive talks, developing interpretive displays and the creation of brochures, audio-guides and on-line media.
Cultural tourism planning and development
Working in cultural tourism planning and development involves formulating and developing tourism policy and strategy, implementing and providing guidance on relevant legislation, regulation or culturally appropriate practices, and supporting product development, marketing and the promotion of cultural tourism opportunities with a variety of business partners.
Emma Waterton is an Associate Professor in the Geographies of Heritage, and is located within the School of Social Sciences and Psychology and the Institute for Culture and Society. Before taking up her post at UWS in 2010, she held an RCUK Academic Fellowship in the areas of History and Heritage at Keele University. Her research explores the interface between heritage, identity, memory and affect. Her most recent pro…
Frequently Asked Questions
Why study Heritage at the Western Sydney University?
Studying heritage provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary for employment as professional heritage managers within and outside of Australia, as well as for careers in a variety of other areas and/or further postgraduate study. Students enrolled in the Heritage and Tourism Major will develop both intellectually and personally as they engage with critical understandings of the nature of heritage and it's various roles and uses in contemporary society. By providing students with a solid intellectual framework, the Major also assists them in developing strong skills in written expression, research, analysis, and critical thinking, together with a practical focus.
Undertaking a Major in Heritage and Tourism offers graduates a very broad mix of opportunities. Indeed, the heritage sector has expanded rapidly in recent years, creating diverse opportunities for employment in museums, local authorities, consultancies and agencies. As such, graduates from degrees with a focus on 'heritage' find themselves working in a wide variety of areas – from international development agencies to national museums to researching government policies.
What will I learn?
The Heritage and Tourism Major is shaped around 16 compulsory units and 8 electives, with the latter designed around individual interests and long-term career aspirations. The Major units focus on key debates in heritage studies, as well as providing a solid grounding in broader theoretical areas. Such units will cover:
- Issues in Contemporary Heritage
- Heritage Interpretation
- Indigenous Cultures: A Global Perspective
- Heritage and Tourism
- Cultural and Social Geographies
- Tourism in Society
- Tourism and Global Trends
- Tourism Policy and Planning
Is there a work placement component to the course?
Young Universities in the World Times higher education
Above Average National Student Satisfaction Survey
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Research rated at or above world standard Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)