Currently Reading: Theatres Magazine

The latest edition of the Theatres Trust magazine focuses on maintaining and modernising historic theatres. It includes a fascinating account of the construction of the historically accurate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, which is the follow on stage from the reconstruction of Globe Theatre.


Day of Archaeology #dayofarch

This year’s Day of Archaeology #dayofarch has had plenty of interesting articles to read, showing just what a diverse subject archaeology can be. As I was working on some heritage-related issues it gave me a chance to blog about it.

Demographic Change Threatens Heritage

During the late 1980’s, 1990s’ and early 2000’s many heritage organisations became very reliant upon a wave of eager volunteers who had taken early retirement. Indeed, it can be argued that the rapid expansion of local heritage groups, specialist collections and museums which has taken place over the last thirty years would probably not have occurred without this body of experienced but still relatively young and active volunteers. As this “baby boom” wave passes and the age of retirement rises rapidly towards 70 plus the number of younger retirees is dropping.

UCS Heritage Futures is conducting research on the impact of this major social and demographic trend and it is obvious that it has serious consequences for the future of many heritage organisations across the UK.  

These issues were the subject of recent edition of BBC Radio 4’s excellent “Making History” programme which featured Dr Geraint Coles from UCS Heritage Futures talking about recent work and current trends. If you had the misfortune to miss this broadcast you can listen again at BBC iplayer radio at


Seminar: Dr Sean O’Reilly – Conservation Infrastructure in the UK: why, what, how… and when?

The next Heritage Futures research seminar will be presented by Dr Sean O’Reilly (Director of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, and UCS Visiting Fellow), on Wednesday 21st May at 16.30.Sean-OReilly

Sean will present a review of the origins and operations of modern conservation services within local authorities, in particular their activities, analysis and the political and departmental objectives shaping them. This review leads to an informal exploration of future challenges for these services and their aspirations, especially when political considerations discourage public funding of service infrastructure while at the same time policy trends move towards a more holistic awareness of conservation benefits.

Open to all. Please contact Julie Barber if you’d like to attend.



Heritage Seminar: Dr Liz Hide on University Museums

Fitzwilliam Museum

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge © David Gill

Dr Liz Hide, University of Cambridge Museums Officer, presents ‘University Museums: who cares? What can a 21st century University Museum contribute to society’

Dr Liz Hide is leading the development of the University of Cambridge Museums consortium and the delivery of the UCM’s Major Partner Museum programme Connecting Collections. Her background is in geology and palaeontology and previous roles include Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology at the National Museum of Scotland. In Cambridge she chairs the county-wide Cambridgeshire Museums Advisory Partnership, and is a founding member of the Cambridge Arts Leaders group. In 2012 she prepared ‘Impact and Engagement University Museums for the 21st Century’ on behalf of the University Museums Group, and is currently leading on the development of short film promoting the work of University Museums in the UK. 

University Museums are a diverse species. Large, multi-themed institutions such as The Manchester Museum, The Ashmolean in Oxford and The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge are the main cultural providers in their region, contrasting strongly with specialist collections embedded within research departments. Their collections may form the backbone of research activity, or be sidelined to an awkward corner as research trends move on. Gallery spaces may hum with new ideas and debate, or bristle with resistance to change. In this seminar Liz will explore what it is that University Museums do, and demonstrate why, in changing times, she thinks University Museums lie at the heart of the wider museums sector. She will discuss the role they play within their parent Universities, the many impacts they have on audiences, and their potential for the future. There will also be an opportunity to share your experiences with university museums and collections – please do feel free to share them!

This event is open to all UCS staff, students and visitors.


To book your place, please contact Julie Barber:


T- 01473 338181