2020 has been a funny year. Our lives have been disrupted in ways we couldn’t have imagined last Christmas. However, last autumn I embarked on a Masters in Heritage Studies. I have wanted to do a Masters for a few years and it seemed like a good time to do it. I have to say, it kept me very busy during lockdown and it was made quite a bit harder by the Covid restrictions. I have finished it now and I am just awaiting my final mark. I really enjoyed immersing myself in a field of study. I’ve met so many lovely people, university staff and fellow students. It has been a great experience. My dissertation ‘Doing heritage in Northumberland: the effect of long term relationships with heritage sites on wellbeing, identity and ontological security’ is about the benefits people gain from visiting a heritage site regularly over a period of years, how they enjoy taking their friends, imagine the lives of the people who lived at these sites long ago and how their visits have become ritualised, perhaps more like a pilgrimage than a day out. If you would like to know more about my research, please contact me I would be happy to discuss it. I will be giving a talk at the Heritage Experience Initiative Student Conference hosted by the University of Oslo on the 24 October. The Conference is a collaboration between the University of Oslo, the University of Gothenburg and Newcastle University.
Another year has flown by, it is hard to choose the best bits but here are a few. This year I took two workshops to the Abu Dhabi Science Festival. More than 3,000 children made cyanotypes in our workshop. It was great fun and once again we worked with so many great student volunteers. Closer to home, I was privileged to be asked to blow giant bubbles at the Transplant Games after-party. With help from athletes and their families from all over the world, we filled Times Square with bubbles. It is exciting to be part of such huge multinational events. On the other hand, small intimate events can be amazing too. I really enjoyed running an autism-friendly telescope making workshop at the Andrew Carnegie Birth Place Museum for half a dozen children and their families. I designed a working telescope using cardboard tubes and quality glass lenses to celebrate 50 years of the moon landing.
This year I have also listened to a lot of people telling me in a very informal way about their connection to a place. I’m now wondering how I can build on that to make it into a heritage project for 2020. I’m looking forward to the new year and wondering what adventures it will bring.
If you are looking for STEAM workshops or a way to bring your museum collection to life, send me a message via the contacts page.
Thank you to Kia Loff for the photo.