Heritage Pathway

Six pictures depicting the many facets of heritage

Cast iron Lighthouse at Whiteford Point by S P L (CC BY-ND 2.0); Oxford University Museum of Natural History by Chris Chabot (CC BY-NC 2.0); Fragment of the Antikythera Mechanism by Andrew Barclay (CC BY-NC 2.0); Archaeologists at work at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve by AlaskaNPS (CC BY 2.0); ‘Histories, Mysteries and Future of Oxford’s Broad Street Heads’ Project © Keiko Ikeuchi / History of Science Museum, University of Oxford; ‘Last Supper in Pompeii’ Exhibition © Emily Jarrett / Ashmolean

Heritage Pathway is a series of training and engagement activities which run termly. Since 2015, Heritage Pathway has provided undergraduate and postgraduate students, along with Early Career Researchers at the University of Oxford with the skills, knowledge and confidence to engage effectively with a wide range of partners in the heritage, museums and cultural sector. 

Heritage Pathway is designed and delivered by Alice Purkiss and Dr Rachel Delman and organised through the Humanities Researcher Training and Development Programme

Through a combination of lectures, workshops and site visits led by expert practitioners, participants understand their research in a wider context and gain experience in the heritage, museums and cultural sector. Heritage Pathway opens up new avenues for careers and collaborations, while reinforcing researchers’ ability to complete their research projects and academic tasks in a timely fashion.

Heritage Pathway enables participants to:

•    Understand the opportunities and constraints within each sector of heritage.
•    Understand the different language and vocabulary required to create successful collaborations.
•    Explore how their research experience and expertise can contribute to organisations.
•    Develop the skills and confidence to create collaborative research-led projects.
•    Join a cohort of like-minded undergraduates, postgraduates and early career researchers.
•    Develop and enhance networking abilities with internal and external colleagues.

Previous sessions have explored themes including:

•    Heritage and its Audiences
•    Case Studies in Collaboration: Digital Projects
•    Researching, Curating and Interpreting Collections
•    Careers in the Heritage and Museums Sectors
•    CVs and Cover Letters for the Heritage Sector
•    Commercial Heritage
•    Cataloguing and Digital Projects
•    Cataloguing and Spectrum Standards
•    Interpretation
•    Diversifying Heritage
•    Communicating Heritage
•    Working with Objects
•    Heritage and Landscape
•    Heritage and Authenticity

Site visits always include opportunities to meet with senior leaders and managers to discuss the ways in which research and the day-to-day and strategic concerns of sites and organisations intersect. Previous visits include: Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Black Country Living Museum, and Charleston Farmhouse.

The programme team also organised an international trip to Amsterdam to enable participants to explore European research culture, museums and heritage organisations. This trip was scheduled to take place in March 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

For further information please contact training@humanities.ox.ac.uk.

New for 2023: Opportunity to join the Lab in Your Pocket Training Cohort 
The "Lab in Your Pocket" (LIYP) is an innovative initiative under the Heritage Pathway programme, new for 2023, serving as a pilot testbed for human-machine collaboration in education and research. Funded by the University, LIYP leverages underutilised smartphone technology to boost education and professional development. Our focus is on enhancing students' digital, heritage, and scientific literacy. 
Through Heritage Pathway sessions that are open to all, as well as focussed activities for the competitively-selected LIYP cohort, we aim to guide participants in maximising their own tech resources for professional growth in the heritage sector.  The programme is designed to help them build a comprehensive digital portfolio that can be shared with cultural and community stakeholders. Our program includes two hands-on field visits: one centred on objects, and the other on historical architecture and environments. 
LIYP is designed to be inclusive, offering all necessary tech support. We value participant feedback, dedicating time for suggestions as part of our co-design pilot. Additionally, participants will co-create a digital portfolio to document experiences, facilitate reflection, and preserve the legacy of the program for all involved. 
Applications to join the LIYP cohort will open in Michaelmas term, with full details about the scheme and how to apply provided at the Heritage Pathway sessions and online. 

Heritage Events Michaelmas 2023

Heritage at Oxford: An Introduction

Tuesday 17 October 2023, 11am - 12.30pm, online

This first Heritage Pathway session of the term will introduce the heritage sector within the academic context, exploring the many ways in which researchers can engage with historic sites and collections in addition to the people tasked with caring for, researching and interpreting heritage today. Case studies from the Oxford University Heritage Network will be shared alongside participatory workshop activities. 

The session will be led by Heritage Pathway convenors Alice Purkiss and Rachel Delman, with Sterling Mackinnon (School of Geography and the Environment) and Kathryn Eccles (Oxford Internet Institute). 

Book now >> 


Heritage Pathway Workshop: Curating for Change- Interpreting Disability Histories

Tuesday 31 October 2023, 11am - 1.00pm, Ashmolean Museum

This interactive workshop at the Ashmolean Museum will introduce participants to curating and interpreting inclusive histories of disability within established museum settings. 

This session will be led by Kyle Lewis Jordan who is the Curating for Change Fellow working with both the Ashmolean Museum and Pitts River’s Museum in Oxford.  
The Curating for Change programme exists to create strong career pathways for d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse curators, currently seriously under-represented in museums. Working with a range of museums across the UK, the Curating for Change Trainees and Fellows are producing exhibitions, events and blogs, exploring disabled people’s histories – while gaining skills for careers in the sector. 


Book now >> 


Careers in Arts & Heritage: University Museums

Tuesday 14 November 2023, 2pm - 3.30pm, online

With over 170 institutions across the UK, university museums play a vital role within the heritage sector as places of innovative research, curatorial practice and audience engagement. 
Our two guest speakers from the Universities of Oxford and Reading will introduce the work of university museums to give insights into the variety of roles they house at the unique intersection between academia and heritage. 


  • Dr Hannah Lyons, Curator of Art, University of Reading 
  • Dr Hattie Warburton, Head of Research and Impact Management, University of Oxford Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM)

Book now >>


Heritage Pathway Visit & Museum Workshop: Revealing the Coventry Charterhouse

Wednesday 29 November 2023, 8am - 5pm, Coventry

This term’s Heritage Pathway trip will be to the Charterhouse in Coventry. Commonly associated with the post- World War II rebuilding and the ‘‘concrete collar’’ of the ring road encircling it, Coventry’s rich medieval heritage is often overlooked. Among the City’s medieval gems is the Charterhouse, a fourteenth-century building and the only former Carthusian monastery in the country with in-situ interiors.

Following a multi-million-pound restoration effort over several years, the Charterhouse and its surrounding parkland have recently reopened as a unique visitor attraction, offering everything from historic tours to silent discos! During our visit, we will hear about the history and the future of the Charterhouse from staff at the Historic Coventry Trust, the organisational body responsible for managing the site. We will also have an opportunity to critically evaluate the Charterhouse’s learning offer and fundraising activities through bespoke workshops with the team.

Places are strictly limited and allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. We will be travelling by coach which will pick us up outside the Radcliffe Humanities Building. Full pick-up times will be shared at a later date. 

**Please note, this course requires a £20 deposit which will be refunded once you have attended the course, or have cancelled your place at least 72 hours before the course start date. Please see our full Terms and Conditions for more information.

Book now >>


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National Trust Partnership Homepage

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Humanities Researcher Development Support