15/10/2015 - Permalink

Bringing the past to life, to benefit of the future

Related topics: Partner organisations

News from our partners University Centre Shrewsbury

Dr James Pardoe

Dr James Pardoe

A University Centre Shrewsbury academic is among experts who have determined which of the historic sites of Britain and Ireland are worthy of greater recognition.

The five judges for the inaugural Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI) Discover Heritage Awards include the University Centre’s Dr James Pardoe.

The panel spent a day at the Parkgate Road Campus of the University of Chester, where Dr Pardoe also lectures, narrowing down the shortlist in their search for excellence in cultural and natural heritage interpretation.

Among the diverse locations of all sizes which entered were: the new visitor centres at Stonehenge and Bannockburn and for King Richard III; Second World War and woodland centres in Norfolk and near Pitlochry; the Queen’s State Apartments at Hampton Court Palace; an historic ship in Belfast, linked with the Titanic; a shipwreck dive site in Iona; a centre of the Industrial Revolution; and even a re-used red telephone box.

A Roman medicine roadshow and mobile phone app, First World War soldiers’ tales and the story of Aberaeron in the form of a game were some of the methods used to engage visitors by the organisations and individuals who submitted their work.

In addition to the shortlist, commendations were announced, with Shropshire featuring in the accolades. The Visitor Welcome project at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Street, Shrewsbury, run by The Churches Conservation Trust, was commended in the museums and historic properties/sites category.

The panel had representatives from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and was chaired by the AHI Vice-Chair, Bill Bevan.

Said Dr Pardoe, Director of Design, Heritage and the Built Environment at University Centre Shrewsbury and the AHI member for England:

“As we historians and archaeologists gain greater knowledge of the past, the challenge is how best to convey our understanding of it to a wider contemporary audience.

“Interpretation makes sense of how and why our ancestors did what they did and in heritage terms this involves investigating the locations in which they lived and worked and explaining what they did there.

“The means through which we share this information has become an art form, as we benefit from both becoming better informed and having access to more sophisticated and relevant resources.”

Entrants will have to wait until 21 October to hear the winners’ names read out by Dr Loyd Grossman CBE, who is Patron of the AHI and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Chester to acknowledge his work in this field.

Further information

The AHI Awards will:

  • celebrate heritage interpretation in all its forms
  • be a prestigious badge of recognition for winning and shortlisted entries
  • share, encourage and showcase good interpretive practice and the organisations responsible for it within the profession and related professions
  • publicise good interpretive practice and the organisations responsible for it through the media
  • provide interpretive evaluation to all entrants
  • train volunteer judges to evaluate short-listed entrants
  • have experienced interpreters mentor those new to the profession or studying interpretation through the pairing of volunteer judges.

There are seven Awards categories:

1. Museums and historic properties/sites

2. Landscapes, forests, nature reserves, parks and gardens

3. Visitor and interpretation centres

4. Community projects (developed and co-managed by community groups)

5. Interpretation for a target audience, eg visitors with particular disabilities; BMEs; young children; excluded groups; those in need of skills and training, inviting projects with a very specific aim to enhance access for particular, defined groups

6. The AHI Award – excellence in interpretation – this is the best of show award chosen from the category winners

7. Lifetime achievement – a special award, for nominated individuals, rather than projects or organisations

The Awards will be held biennially. Visit: www.heritageportal.eu/News-Events/Latest-News/Discover-Heritage-AHI-Awar…

Dr James Pardoe

Dr Pardoe has nearly 30 years of experience in the heritage sector, being an Associate of AHI since 2001, Full Member since 2015 and spending some time as a Committee Member (responsible for education).

He teaches heritage interpretation on both undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes. He supervises PhD students in these areas; has created and delivered a number of relevant heritage programmes; and has acted as a visiting academic and been an external advisor on heritage programmes at universities both in the UK and Hungary, Denmark and Poland.

Dr Pardoe has also acted in an advisory and consultancy role for a number of bodies responsible for heritage in the UK and overseas. He has been involved in a range of practical projects on interpretation themes and been invited to guest curate exhibitions, including being seconded to a number of museum and heritage projects.