A trip to Bishop Auckland

We started a busy Monday with a morning of immersing ourselves in heritage charters. We each presented a different charter to the rest of the class, from the 1954 Hague Convention to the 2015 UNESCO Policy for the Integration of a Sustainable Development. Although some of the charters were more bafflingly complex than others, it was a useful way of familiarising ourselves with the various frameworks applied to deal with (predominantly tangible) heritage throughout recent history.

In the afternoon, we all hopped on the number 6 bus to Bishop Auckland. When we arrived we were greeted by Alison Tweddle, the Community Outreach Officer of Auckland Castle, and Marilyn, one of Auckland Castle Trust’s volunteers. Armed with warm coats, hats, scarves and gloves, we spent around an hour walking around Bishop Auckland’s Market Place. Marilyn introduced us to the key buildings which make up Auckland’s rich history, and showed us current building work as part of the Auckland Project. This included Auckland Tower which is undergoing construction, and Auckland Castle, which is in the midst of renovation.

Standing in Bishop Auckland’s Market Place. Image: Mary Needham

By the time we reached the newly opened Mining Art Gallery we were very ready for some warmth. We happily thawed out while we walked around the gallery, viewing artwork drawn and painted throughout the last 150 years primarily by local former miners. This proved to be a thought provoking insight into the mining heritage of the North East of England.

On Tuesday in our Ethics of Cultural Heritage class we covered the challenging topic of repatriation. This included the debate over whether the Elgin Marbles, currently housed in the British Museum, should be returned to Athens. Sadly there was no role-playing this week, but we did get some good debates going over whether objects should or should not be returned to their country of origin.

On a Tour with Alison and Marilyn! Image: Mary Needham

On Thursday, we had our third and final management workshop. In the morning, we had an in depth rundown on marketing from Dr Gretchen Larsen from Durham University’s Business School. In the afternoon, Craig Barclay, the curator of the Oriental Museum, spoke to us about how to write a grant application. It sounds like a challenging process with several things to consider, but it was a helpful way to prepare us for the future!

In amongst all this heritage learning, this week Durham hosted Lumiere Light Festival. It was great to see the World Heritage Site bathed in all sorts of ingenious lighting, from an enormous moon projected onto the castle to a field of illuminated flowers in the cathedral cloisters. A lovely end to another busy week!

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