First students graduate from RAU’s Cultural Heritage Institute
By Sarah Wood
The first students have graduated from the Royal Agricultural University's state of the art Cultural Heritage Institute, based in the former carriage works in Swindon.
The Cultural Heritage Institute (CHI) students joined more than 250 others, most from the Royal Agricultural University's (RAU) main Cirencester campus, at the graduation ceremony in a marquee on the university's front lawn, before enjoying celebrations with their families and fellow students.
Professor Mark Horton, director of the CHI and RAU director of research, said: "It's wonderful to mark the achievements of the first students through the door of our amazing new building - a case study of how old and new can be combined in Brunel's historic railway village.
"These students were able to undertake outstanding research in and around Swindon's historic buildings and with some amazing learning resources - Historic England, English Heritage, the National Monuments Archive, the National Trust and Steam, the museum of the Great Western Railway - all within a five minute walk.
"All these graduates have now gone on to get jobs in the heritage sector. I am delighted to see them graduate and embark on their new careers."
The Cultural Heritage Institute (CHI) - established to help bridge the gap between academic study and professional practice in archaeology and applied heritage - is based at RAU in Swindon, which provides state of art educational facilities, including workspace, library, laboratories and a lecture theatre.
Situated in a purpose converted workshop in the railway heritage quarter of Swindon, and part of a £1.8m partnership with Swindon Council to regenerate the area, RAU Swindon is a case study in sustainable, heritage-led regeneration and provides modern and fully accessible facilities in an innovative learning space, designed to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary studies.
RAU Swindon opened its doors in October 2021, offering master's degree courses in the conservation and management of historic buildings and historic environment management. These new programmes have been developed in partnership with practitioners from across the cultural heritage sector, while the CHI teaching team brings together experienced university lecturers and professionals from archaeological and heritage practice.
Professor Peter McCaffery, RAU vice-chancellor, said: "In gaining a degree from the RAU, you join a family of more than 17,000 alumni worldwide. RAU graduates have an excellent track record in making their mark in the world and, although in these uncertain times it may initially be more difficult than in the past, don't give up on your dreams. The world will change and you can help it change!
"We are very proud of all those who have been awarded their degrees and wish them luck as they go forward to the next stage in their lives."
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