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Approaches to Conservation - ARC00014M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Louise Cooke
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This module introduces you to the background, concepts and principles of contemporary conservation practice and to the values-based approaches now commonly applied in managing conservation planning and decision-making. It encourages you to engage critically and creatively with conservation as professional practice in an inclusive and multicultural world -  and to explore York’s rich urban heritage!

Students have said they love studying the history of conservation, gaining an understanding of how practice has changed over time and applying this in the context of current conservation planning.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

  • to introduce the key principles and approaches in conservation of the built heritage and the ethics and philosophies which underlie them

  • to provide an understanding of how these approaches and principles have developed and are applied in practice

  • to develop research, analytical and presentation skills

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should

  • have a critical understanding of how and why the concept of cultural heritage and its conservation has evolved and is applied in contemporary practice

  • have a thorough knowledge of the historical background to heritage conservation practices, the range of philosophical approaches and their relevance

  • be able to critically evaluate the conservation plan approach and apply the processes of determining values and significance for built cultural heritage in context

  • have enhanced their skills in small group work and visual / verbal presentation

Module content

In this module we consider the history and contemporary practice of conservation for built heritage, looking critically at how conservation has developed with changing ideas about material, intangible and socio-economic values of heritage.  In group work and in module assessments, you will critique and apply value-based approaches to conservation management using local building case studies. The English planning framework is used as a practice model for this work but you are encouraged to contextualise this with other national / international frameworks and principles and consider how these are reflected in global shifts in approaches to conservation.  Through this module you will approach historic buildings and areas differently and develop a complex understanding of how conservation today is engaged with a diversity of heritage assets, actors, interpretations and audiences.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be available within 6 weeks

Indicative reading

Avrami, E, Macdonald, S, Mason, R and Myers, D. (2019). Values in Heritage Management: Emerging Approaches and Research Directions. Getty Conservation Institute. 

Historic England (2008) Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance [online]

Jokilehto, J (2017) A History of Architectural Conservation, London, Routledge

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.