This week we were supposed to be going on a field trip into the depths of the Norfolk countryside with the third year students who are taking the work placement unit, ‘Working in the Historic Environment’. The snow and ice, however, put us off a grand expedition and instead we stayed in Norwich and explored the area around the Cathedral.
Norwich Cathedral is one of the buildings that forms part of the Norwich 12, a selection of buildings chosen by Norwich HEART to illustrate the history of the city. Since February 2011 we have been working with HEART on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project linked to the Norwich 12. As part of this, three of our third-year students have undertaken placements with HEART to work on the HistOracle project, writing content for the website and interactive display which will allow users to explore the history of the 12 sites in more detail.
In seminars for the Working in the Historic Environment module we have spent a lot of time discussing the challenges of presenting academic research on buildings and landscapes to the public, particularly for places like Norwich Cathedral. Sites with a long and complex history present many challenges – what to focus on, what to leave out and how to balance the stories of people, events, architecture and landscape.
During the morning we explored the Cathedral and cloister, the buildings within the Cathedral Close, Pull’s Ferry and the Cow Tower (part of the city’s medieval defences), before retiring to the Refectory for more discussion and much needed hot tea!
You can find out more about the history and architecture of Norwich Cathedral on their website – http://www.cathedral.org.uk/historyheritage/
And about the Norwich 12 project here – http://www.norwich12.co.uk/