Saturday, May 5, 2007

Why Cultural Heritage Management?

One...two..three..four.. as I kick my right leg high above my head, following Billy Blanks instructions on the Taebo workout dvd, I reflect on these past weeks of the WOW programme, and what they have contributed to my personal development.

The significance for me, of all the knowledge gained over these past weeks, and my inter-action with our speakers and the members of the team, are yet to be fully absorbed. I do know for certain, that this has been a very important step in my journey towards self-actualisation.
In the past one and a half years, my life has undergone several changes. The decision to study further was a major life-changing one. This change brought with it many challenges which have engendered significant personal development. My 'inner critic', whom I was forced to acknowledge and face during Roy Blumenthal's session on 'unleashing your creativity', does not allow me any respite. It constantly pressurises me to do more, learn more, be more.
I have realised that people generally do not quite understand what cultural heritage means. That is fine because I didn't have a clue either until I enrolled in a masters programme in heritage studies. It is such an amazing field of study, so diverse. It cuts across many sectors, i.e., governance, environment, policy, legislature, tourism, world heritage sites, arts & culture industries, development, history, archaeology, anthropology, international policies & legislature (United Nations), international relations, social responsibility to name a few. It basically deals with tangible and intangible cultural assets. For example in South Africa that would be the struggle history, heritage institutions such as Constitution Hill, Apartheid Museum, Hector Pietersen Museum, Origins Centre (Wits) and so on. Also World Heritage sites such as Cradle of Humankind, Greater St. Lucia Wetlands, Robben Island, e.t.c. To read more about World Heritage sites, particularly the ones in South Africa, log onto and click on world heritage, then on Africa.
The WOW programme has in a sense summarised the knowledge and skills training I have gained from my postgraduate studies. As I mentioned in my profile, I wanted a course that combined practice and theory. I had worked for a while before deciding to return to school. I think it is important to work after your undergraduate degree, it helps to focus and direct you when you do decide to do a postgraduate degree. Most importantly, the experience gained from work does serve one well in the university. Others may disagree with that view but it worked for me. I made sure I worked part-time (mostly within the university) while I studied, so as not to loose the skills I had acquired previously. It took me a year to adjust fully to the academic life. Enrolling in this programme has again sort of prepared me for exiting from the university environment (which is in a way removed from real life) into the hustle and bustle of everyday living.


Susan Arthur said...

Hi Ijeoma
I like the beginning of your piece about the tae bo tape. I'd like to hear a bit more about your previous work experiences and what you learnt there, and how that compares to what you are learning in the WOW programme- ie what value is the WOW programme adding to you seeing you've already experienced the workplace?

Thomas Blaser said...

I liked to other painting better. Why do you limit yourself to UN organisations - I would keep it open for other institutions. I go Cohen's CD - will pass it on.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Hi Thomas,
Thank you for your comment. Oh dear, pity you don't like the painting. It's from my friend's son. The next one'll be more to your taste. Check it out next week. Thanks for the promise of the Cohen cd.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Thank you for your insightful comments. I will address the questions you raised as a blog post. Working before coming back to school was quite beneficial to me. And being a part of this programme brings a welcome dimension to my personal growth and development as well. I'll talk about it in my post.

Valentin said...

Dear Ijeoma, I am glad to see that the WOW training programme has helped you find a link between your studies and your practically-oriented goals and intentions.
It is extremely important nowadays that one finds the proper career that suits his (her) chosen degree or area of studies.

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Hi Valentin,
I've missed your comments on my blog. I am not casting anything in concrete yet, but I do have afair idea of where I want to go. For now I am keeping an open mind because any chance to work is an opportunity to gain experience. It's good to keep your options open.

Adam N. Mukendi said...

Hi Ije, You totally right. Myself I can't define heritage properly. After reading your post I realise that the Heritage content is so vast. I am scare and think that it embraces too much sciences with a risk of losing focus. However, I know that because you can kick your foot over your head...miss Taibo; you can do anything. All success. Adam

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Hello Adam,
It's not as daunting as it sounds to you. I will limit myself to a specific area in due course, after I've gained a lot of experience in the field.