Skilled and diverse heritage science community, July 2019

Careers in Heritage Science: Opportunities and constraints

The first NHSF ‘Member Meeting’ was held on 3rd July on the ‘Skilled and diverse heritage science community’ strand of the strategic framework for heritage science in the UK.

The focus of this first meeting was the draft report on research commissioned by NHSF to understand the career pathways of heritage science graduates, opportunities and barriers.

Following a short presentation on the research by Caroline Peach, members discussed the key findings and the recommendations made to NHSF and to the wider heritage sector.

The need to strengthen the ‘heritage science identity’ was debated. For a term that has only been in regular use since the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry of 2006, it has gained an impressive level of recognition – with a third of heritage science students/alumni who participated in the research ‘confidently’ describing themselves as a heritage scientist.  Discussion explored whether heritage science is a profession in itself, or an area of application for people who identify more readily with another professional background. Consensus was that it can be both; and furthermore the term itself should be used with confidence as an umbrella term that extends across conservation science, archaeological science and other areas in which science and heritage come together.

It was agreed that next steps are to:

  • Finalise the report, incorporating feedback from the discussions at the member meeting.
  • Produce a summary version of the report that can be used to engage policy makers and opinion-formers with the report’s findings.
  • Actively engage the training providers and students and alumni who contribute to the report with its findings; and establish where NHSF and the wider sector can work together to address the recommendations.

Member News and Views

Member organisations shared activity they are involved in that contributes to delivering the outcomes of this strand of the strategic framework. This included: the BAME scholarships provided from Historic Royal Palaces, a programme of engagement by The National Archives including an ‘alternative career pathways’ event, UCL’s work with a primary school in North London and with the Nuffield education foundation, the National Gallery of Scotland’s links with Edinburgh College and the University of the West of Scotland, University of Cambridge Museums review of its professional development courses and plans for other forms of learning, Historic England’s ‘citizen heritage science activities’, and the British Museum’s work with the Festival of Archaeology and hosting of the University Archaeology day on 12th October.

NHSF members and others from across the heritage science community are encouraged to add their activities to the ‘Skilled and diverse heritage science community’ padlet that NHSF has set up to capture the things that are going on across the sector that contribute to the framework’s strategic outcomes. The padlets will be monitored regularly to show the sector is making collective progress against the outcomes, and where there are gaps that need new collective action.

Draft delivery plan

This draft delivery plan is an iterative document that shows the strategic framework outcomes for the ‘Skilled and Diverse Heritage Science Community’ strand; an action plan to support delivery of the areas that NHSF members have identified they can progress; and a broader delivery plan that captures wider work by the heritage sector that will address the objectives of this strand.

Skilled and Diverse Community Delivery Plan_September 2019