Heritage Skills – A Solution to our Economic Decline?
An international deficit in the skills needed to repair, conserve and extend historic buildings sensitively, as well as those needed to positively manage change in collective historic environments, is pronounced in the remote north western corner of the island of Ireland. In the context of the city of Derry~Londonderry this is an unintentional, though unsurprising, legacy of the Troubles and a historically weak economy. At the epicentre of what became a very protracted conflict, hundreds of bombs exploded within and without the famous Derry walls during the early 1970s. Though they didn’t rain out of the sky, they might as well have done. The effect was the same. On top of tragic loss of life and injury they tore the physical heart out of this most special, historic city. Back then survival- of lives and businesses – was the priority. Delicate, sensitive repair work to precious historic buildings was a luxury.
With over a hundred historic buildings at risk in Derry’s three conservation areas alone, and high levels of youth unemployment, the local skills deficit is a golden opportunity to square the circle. Walled City Partnership champions the potential for high calibre accredited heritage skills training delivered locally, to create a local skills base to service an ongoing heritage maintenance need, whilst providing satisfying, robust and sustainable work. Addressing this issue we have delivered two focused awareness raising skills programmes. The Taste of Traditional Building Skills programme highlighting the range of career possibilities within the specialist traditional building skills crafts and the Conservation Masterclass honing in on the key skills needed by construction professionals when working on old buildings. For further information on opportunities for high calibre training in historic building repair and conservation go to: http://www.spab.org.uk/ https://www.york.ac.uk/archaeology/postgraduate-study/taught-postgrads/masters-courses/conservation-studies/ http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/taught/ironbridge/heritage-management.aspx http://www.bath.ac.uk/engineering/graduate-school/pg-taught/conservation/ http://www.ucd.ie/graduatestudies/coursefinder/taughtprogrammes/marchsc-conservation-and-heritage/ http://www.bath.ac.uk/engineering/graduate-school/pg-taught/gardens/