I was very honoured to accept an award at this year’s Discover Heritage Awards.
On behalf of the fantastic new immersive interpretation at Blaenavon Ironworks, a World Heritage Site in south Wales, I was very happy to accept the Runners Up Prize during the Association of Heritage Interpretation’s annual conference. This year the conference was held in Berkshire and Wiltshire and the awards presented by patron Dr Loyd Grossman.
I was delighted to be contacted by Chester University, who have today published a news story on our and our colleagues’ success this year. An extract from and a link to their news story can be seen below, and more information on the Blaenavon project can be found on the Cadw website.
Next week I return to the University of Chester to talk to their 3rd year students about my career in archaeology. I can’t believe it’s been over 10 years since I graduated!
Success for archaeology alumni at prestigious heritage awards.
Two former archaeology students from the University of Chester are celebrating successes after scooping the Winner and Runners Up titles, at the prestigious Association of Heritage Interpretation (AHI) Awards 2015.
The biennial AHI Awards scheme recognises and rewards the best practice in heritage interpretation across the UK and Ireland, and are the only awards to recognise excellence in all types and sizes of heritage interpretation, whether held in museums, historic buildings, visitor centres or any type of outdoor location.
Big Heritage, a Heritage and Archaeology company based in Chester, founded by alumnus Dean Paton was the winner of the ‘Interpretation for a target audience’ category. Its entry, The Roman Medicine Roadshow, explores medicine and health in the Roman world, focusing on the historical impact of medical science, considering ideas and attitudes towards health, medicine and the human body in the society of the day. The project was designed to engage specifically with an audience of young people from deprived areas.
Dean, who graduated in 2011 said: “It’s a cliché, but these are awards where being short-listed is an honour, so to find out we were winners against amazing projects is just phenomenal. It’s testament to our approach of putting people first in everything we do, as that is what the judges highlighted.”
Erin Lloyd Jones, Heritage Interpretation Manager at Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, collected the Runners Up Award on behalf of Cadw, in the category, ‘Landscapes, Forests, Nature Reserves, Parks and Gardens’.
Erin, who graduated in 2005, is part of the team which developed the visitor experience at Blaenavon Ironworks – A Landscape Re:Imagined project, in South Wales.
The Works have been brought back to life with the development of an immersive, inspirational and memorable visitor experience, recapturing their original atmosphere and creating the feeling of a working site in all its ‘hot, dirty, noisy and glorious hellishness’.
The installation includes signage, a children’s trail and audio-visual displays, while a dramatic, immersive sound and light experience has been developed in the casting house to explain the iron-making process that made Blaenavon famous. The project also features a model which enables visitors to understand the scale of the ironworks when at peak production, and footpaths, landscaping and fencing that has enabled improved visitor access and ‘flow’ around the historic site. The four cottages used for the popular BBC Coal House series have been re-dressed with authentic furniture and fittings to depict workers’ cottages throughout their use from the 1840s to the 1960s.
Erin, now working towards a PhD in Archaeology, said: “Receiving the Runners Up award was a fantastic accolade to the team that worked so hard to bring the Blaenavon Ironworks project to life. I love archaeology and thoroughly enjoy my job of getting people excited about the past. I hope to inspire the next generation of Archaeology graduates when I return to my alma mater next week to deliver a guest lecture to third year History and Archaeology students as part of the ‘Archaeology and Contemporary Society’ module.”
Both Dean and Erin were presented with their awards by Dr Loyd Grossman CBE, who is Patron of the AHI and was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2007, to acknowledge his work in this field.