Uncovering our cultural heritage through PACE

30 September 2015

Have you ever wondered about the artefacts and cultural heritage of our shared history? What we can learn about the past from a cave drawing, heritage building or seemingly simple household items?

Three Macquarie students are finding out with internships through the PACE unit: Cultural Heritage. Hannah Duckhs, Chloe Appleby and Lucy Irwin are currently working in the cultural heritage sector on projects involving excavation; assessing heritage sites; site documentation; photography and mapping; and the organisation and storage of historical objects.

Dr Linda Evans, the unit coordinator believes the scope and various types of internships in this PACE unit offers students great opportunities in the cultural heritage field.

“There are so many different types of internships to choose from – everything from helping on archaeological excavations and cataloguing artefacts to curatorial work in museums and administrative assistance in heritage consultancies… students simultaneously receive a basic introduction to the history and practice of heritage management both in Australia and overseas.”

Hannah Duckhs, a 3rd year student completing a Bachelor of Ancient History is undertaking her internship with Futurepast Heritage Consulting. Their main goal is to assess the significance of heritage sites and advise clients on ways forward in projects while maintaining the value of heritage sites. Some of the highlights of Hannah’s experience include meetings other heritage firms and onsite visits.

“I took part in the documentation and photography of the site and even met the clients and architect… I am learning new skills; writing, researching and editing reports, I am also learning about heritage items in Australia that I was never aware of.”,explains Hannah of her experience.

Lucy Irwin is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Ancient History – Greece, Rome and Late Antiquity and is currently working with the Australian History Museum on campus to assess the storing and management of objects, a common issue affecting museums around the country and abroad. She believes the work and skills gained through the PACE unit brings our history to a relevant place in the modern world.

“The study of cultural heritage and the museum sector is actually very modern and relevant, and there are a lot of interesting debates and issues surrounding the subject. I think it’s easy to see museums as receptacles of the past with nothing particularly new to offer, but this unit has shown me that not only is that untrue – but also that there are a lot of places all over the world in which museums are developing in really exciting directions.”

Chloe Appleby is also completing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Ancient History – Greece, Rome and Late Antiquity and has been working on a unique project at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as part of her internship, which has given her an insight into the daily workings of a museum and curators.

“It has given me an understanding of the processes involved for developing a collection, acquiring an object and analysing an object to submit into the museum database. The internship provided first hand experience and knowledge of the museum industry. Undergoing this internship has [made up] my mind in pursuing a career as a museum curator.”

Likewise, Lucy says her career interests have been confirmed, “I always knew I wanted to work in the heritage sector in some capacity, and this experience has only confirmed it. If anything it has broadened my knowledge of where I can take my degree, and the sheer number of different spheres that this kind of study interacts with”.

For Hannah, the experience has given her an insight into career paths previously not thought of. “I have never studied Australian history in detail and I was totally unaware of any sort of business in the heritage sphere. This internship has opened my eyes to possible jobs I might like to consider once I have finished my degree.”

The PACE unit Cultural Heritage aims to introduce students to the study and management of cultural heritage, both through instruction and practical experience and has proved true for these three students. So did our students think the experience lived up to the name?

In terms of getting work ready, Lucy says, “Taking this unit at the end of my degree has really allowed me to synthesize the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my time at Macquarie. The internship is both a way for me to gain real-life experience by working in the heritage sector and also functions as a really good way to ‘sum up’ my experiences at Macquarie. I get to discover a way to channel all of the things I’ve learned in the classroom into skills I can use after I complete my tertiary education.”

This is just one of many PACE units helping Macquarie students uncover their skills, passions and future plans. We wish Lucy, Chloe and Hannah all the best as they complete their studies.

Filed under: Faculty of Arts Uncategorized