Along with my colleague, Carl Griffin from the University of Sussex, I have been extremely lucky to have been awarded a short-term Research Fellowship at the University of Curtin (Perth, Western Australia). This has enabled Carl and I to firstly attend the Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference and then move on to Perth (a four hour flight away) to give a joint paper in which we talk about the Forest of Dean and the Cotswolds. As well as this, we have met with Professor Roy Jones to plan a bid to the Australian Research Council for funding to undertake a comparative study of the histories of squatter settlements in both our countries. Finally, we are also writing a proposal for a jointly-edited collection of essays that will explore various case studies of the tensions caused when natural resource use from below is challenged by top-down conservation.
The Association of Critical Heritage Studies was held at the Australian National University, one of Australia’s most prestigious universities. At the conference we heard papers on a huge numbers of topics. Carl and I each gave a paper in a session on ‘heritage, memory and loss’; whilst I gave second paper in a session on working class heritage.
It has been really good to work with Roy again. Some of you might remember him from when he visited us in the summer. And it was really good to hear, when I arrived here the other day, that Roy had been awarded a Visiting Professorship at the University of Gloucestershire for the next three years. Roy is going to work with lecturers on research, mentoring postgraduate students and with Level Six students doing heritage dissertations. So, all-in-all this has been a pretty good trip so far!