Introduction to Heritage Studies

The details
Art History and Theory
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
05 October 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V305 Curating with Politics,
BA V306 Curating with Politics (including Foundation Year),
BA V307 Curating with Politics (including Placement Year),
BA V308 Curating with Politics (including Year Abroad),
BA V309 Curating with History,
BA V310 Curating with History (including Foundation Year),
BA V311 Curating with History (including Placement Year),
BA V312 Curating with History (including Year Abroad),
BA VV40 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies,
BA VV41 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Foundation Year),
BA VV42 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Placement Year),
BA VV43 Art History, Heritage and Museum Studies (including Year Abroad),
BA V301 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights,
BA V302 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (including Foundation Year),
BA V303 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (including Placement Year),
BA V304 Curating, Heritage and Human Rights (including Year Abroad),
BA V200 History and Heritage,
BA V201 History and Heritage (including Foundation Year),
BA V202 History and Heritage (including Placement Year),
BA V203 History and Heritage (including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module provides an introductory overview to the field of heritage and museum studies and explores some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues faced by those working within and researching in the area of heritage and museums.

The module defines heritage, discusses how heritage is officially recognised, and presents the instruments that are used to interpret, protect, and communicate heritage, at local, national, and international levels. It also introduces the main aspects of museum studies, explainshow the definitions of museums has changed through time and how this definition affects how we preserve and present heritage today.

This module will introduce you to the history of heritage and museum management and will lay the foundation of some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues of the heritage and the museum field. It defines heritage as a process in which people makes sense of the past, in the present and for the future and how the aims of heritage and museum management changes according to the heritage process and its contexts.

Module aims

1. To provide students with knowledge of some of the key theoretical issues relating to heritage studies;
2. To encourage students to interact and to engage critically with theoretical texts relating to the study of heritage;
3. To develop students' skills of analysis and interpretation of cultural heritage;
4. To analyse the role heritage and museums play in the formation of identity at local, national and international levels;
5. To analyse the various waysthe concept of heritage is utilised in heritage interpretation, education, the media and tourism;
6. To stimulate students to develop skills in oral and written communication through debates, an essay, and an examination.

Module learning outcomes

1. To demonstrate a sound knowledge and grasp of a number of key theoretical texts relating to the study of heritage;
2. To speak and write articulately about theoretical issues relating to the study of heritage;
3. To analyse and interpret cultural heritage;
4. To relate their analyses and interpretations of cultural heritageto theoretical literature;
5. To approach theoretical literature in a critical fashion.

Module information

Topics include, but are not be limited to:

Introduction to heritage.
Heritage management: the role of local, national, and international bodies.
History of Museums: from private collections to public spaces.
Heritage and the Visual Arts.
What is inclusion in heritage and museum studies?
Critical Approaches to post-colonial Heritage.
Threats to heritage.
The reconstruction of lost heritage: between forgetting and remembrance.
The protection of our Natural Heritage.
Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development.

Learning and teaching methods

There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week. There will be a Reading Week.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Outline presentation   18/02/2022   
Coursework   1500 word essay  28/03/2022  100% 
Exam  1440 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco, email:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 929 hours, 18 (1.9%) hours available to students:
911 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Art History and Theory

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