Expand and update your knowledge of heritage theory and practice.

Expand and update your knowledge of heritage theory and practice through flexible, part-time study with Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington’s Museum & Heritage Studies programme in Trimester 2, 2020.

In recent weeks the Black Lives Matter protest movement has exploded across the globe and sparked controversy with attacks on colonial monuments. In Aotearoa, monuments have been removed amidst an almost unprecedented public interest in our colonial past and its material representation. What is the role of heritage professionals in responding to these debates? In what ways does the public discourse challenge current heritage practices? What are the implications for the preservation of Aotearoa’s colonial heritage?

Explore these questions and other current hot topics and debates in the rapidly expanding field of critical heritage studies. Consider their implications for heritage practice through local case studies and engage with leading heritage professionals from Aotearoa to discuss solutions.

Our new 15-point course MHST510: HERITAGE PRACTICES will equip heritage professionals with the most up-to-date thinking and innovations in heritage studies, providing tools to enhance your practice and help your organisation address key issues facing New Zealand’s heritage sector.

Three full-day workshops, four online tutorials and a final half-day wrap-up allow maximum flexibility for busy professionals and non-Wellington residents. Sessions include:

  • critical discussions of the latest theory and research
  • an overview of current approaches to heritage management, policy, and planning in Aotearoa, including Māori perspectives
  • case studies and guest speakers from the local heritage sector
  • practical exercises applying new ideas to enhance professional practice

Who should attend:

  • emerging and established professionals in all roles across the sector, including cultural, natural and intangible heritage
  • professionals wanting to expand and update their knowledge of the latest theory and practice
  • professionals seeking new ideas and tools to help address current issues faced by their organisations
  • those interested in beginning or pivoting to a career in the heritage sector
  • emerging professionals seeking to enhance their employability

Course content:

Module 1 – Introduction (17 July):

  • The history of heritage and the rise of critical heritage studies
  • Heritage management approaches
  • Community perspectives

Module 2 – Global politics of heritage (7 August):

  • Human/Indigenous rights & heritage ethics; repatriation
  • World Heritage & the role of UNESCO; heritage diplomacy; gender and heritage
  • Conflict & reconciliation; nationhood, commemoration & memorialisation
  • Heritage and tourism

Module 3 – Heritage practices in Aotearoa New Zealand (11 September):

  • Heritage issues in Aotearoa NZ
  • Heritage policy, legislation and planning
  • Heritage interpretation


The course is 100% internally assessed. Assignments will allow you to engage with the topics, ideas and case studies of most interest and relevance to you.

This course can be credited towards one of our taught post-graduate degrees in Museum & Heritage Practice. For more information see https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/stout-centre/study/subjects/museum-and-heritage-studies and contact Programme Director, Professor Conal McCarthy to discuss applying to complete one of these qualifications.

VUW is offering a scholarship, covering 100 percent of tuition fees, for students beginning study in Trimester 2 whose work and life has been disrupted by the pandemic. For more information seehttps://www.wgtn.ac.nz/fees-scholarship.

If you can’t attend all sessions, contact lee.davidson@vuw.ac.nz to find out about options to attend one-off sessions.

Course co-ordinators:

Dr Ben Schrader is an independent historian, heritage consultant and experienced university teacher who specializes and publishes in the fields of urban history and the history of the built environment. He works with a broad range of organisations including: Te Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, Kāinga Ora and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities. His first book was We Call it Home: A History of State Housing in New Zealand, a finalist in the 2006 Montana Book Awards. His most recent work, The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities 1840-1920 won both the New Zealand Historical Association and the Canterbury Society of Authors’ best New Zealand history book awards in 2017. It was also shortlisted for the 2017 Ockham book awards. He is currently researching a history of historic preservation in Aotearoa New Zealand with fellow historian Michael Kelly.

Associate Professor Lee Davidson has 20 years’ experience teaching on New Zealand’s leading programme in museum and heritage studies, with a focus on heritage practice, research and visitors. Her work is firmly grounded in theory and practice and she has built close collaborative relationships with key national and international heritage institutions. She is an experienced facilitator of workshops and symposia for museum and heritage professionals and also works as a research consultant for external organisations. Her recent books are Cosmopolitan Ambassadors: International exhibitions, cultural diplomacy and the polycentral museum (Vernon Press, 2019) and Scenic Playground: The story behind New Zealand’s mountain tourism (Te Papa Press, 2018).

For further information: please contact lee.davidson@vuw.ac.nz.