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Past Matters: Public History & Cultural Built Heritage - CED00036M

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  • Department: Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Emma Wells
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module is designed to develop the more practical aspects of building history, its research and application outside the walls of academia in all its forms. It will provide expertise in understanding, locating, and identifying the wide range of types, representations and methods of built history and heritage in the public sphere, from museums and material culture, to the media, literature, in policy making and debate, so that students may undertake critical assessments of such projects and interventions—and advance the associated skills in associated research and writing. In addition, it develops an understanding of the methods, theories, and approaches used in the dissemination of built history, heritage and archaeology to diverse audiences in order to allow various interpretations, and methodologies to be employed.

Module learning outcomes

By the conclusion of the module the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of debates, critical approaches, and methodologies for the close reading of historic buildings
  • Identify and explain the relationships between people and the spaces they inhabit as well as the impact of the wider landscape/context on the design of buildings and how they are presented
  • Identify and independently locate a range of evidence types and their key arguments, and be able to evaluate them
  • Formulate critical skills and practices in thinking and writing critically about building history for diverse audiences
  • Demonstrate a range of knowledge concerning how the past is represented, constructed, debated and contested in the public and media sphere
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between theory and practice and buildings in Public History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • Demonstrate particular examples of built practice in the sphere of public history
  • Evaluate public history practice using wider theoretical frameworks alongside individual case-studies.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.

The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.

Indicative reading

  • Arnold, Dana, Ergut, Elvan Altan, Turan Özkaya, Belgin, 2006. Rethinking architectural historiography, Routledge.
  • Bourdieu Pierre, 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge UP, esp. chps 2 and 4.
  • Cramer, J and Breitling, S, 2007. Architecture In Existing Fabric, Birkhauser.
  • English Heritage, 2010. Understanding Place: Historic Area Assessments Principles and Practice.
  • Johnson, Matthew, 1993. Housing Culture: Traditional Architecture In An English Landscape, Routledge.
  • Johnson, Paul-Alan, 1994. The Theory of Architecture: Concepts Themes & Practices, John Wiley and Sons.
  • Kruft, Hanno-Walter, 1994. A history of architectural theory from Vitruvius to the present, Princeton Architectural Press.
  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 1962. Phenomenology of perception, Psychology Press.
  • Price, Nicholas Stanley, 1996. Historical and philosophical issues in the conservation of cultural heritage, Getty Conservation Institute.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students