Samantha Keen: Leaving the Nest

Finishing a 10,000 word assignment two days before leaving for 5 weeks overseas is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I say this because this has been my reality! In the last three weeks I’ve handed in a 5000 word report with a 25 minute film, a 2700 word essay and a 10,000 word Conservation Plan. Why, you may ask? Well, as of today I have completed the first semester of a Masters of Heritage Conservation through the University of Auckland (YAY!). It’s only fitting then that this mad dash is all because of the amazing, once in a lifetime adventure I’m about to embark on.

I am a lucky member of a group of delegates who will be attending the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Session in Krakow. In between assignments I have frantically been researching, preparing, saving and finding to clothes suitable for a European summer. As this is my first time away from our beautiful Pacific Ocean, I really don’t know what to expect! Both in regards to the conference or to travel in general! Anticipating the unknown was something we discussed at our training weekend at the end of May. None of us really know what to expect from this conference which just adds to the level of excitement. One that is for certain, it’s going to be a full on information overload the whole time.

I chose to apply for this delegation for a couple of reasons. My 6 year university career has focussed primarily on history, museums and heritage. Let’s just say, I’m a bit of a museum nerd! This conference is going to be truly fascinating for me- hearing people passionately talk about their heritage and history is one of my favourite things.

The other reason I’m going is because I currently work for Heritage New Zealand, New Zealand’s leading heritage agency. Although my present role is event and function based, I get a lot of exposure to the challenges faced by HNZ in regards to listing properties, maintaining buildings, liaising with interested parties, admitting places to the List, co-operating with Council and other governing bodies as well as the day to day challenges of working within a historic building (Having no insulation in your 155 year old office makes things fun!).

I am really hoping to use this opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of how UNESCO decides on what to list, what not to list and what is at risk or in danger. They will obviously be looking at global examples but it’ll be interesting to see how we could apply some of these criteria or processes to our New Zealand setting.  

Now that I have (almost) handed in all my assignments for this semester, I can FINALLY get excited for this experience!

All posts by Institute delegates reflect their own thoughts, opinions and experiences.

Posted on June 23, 2017 and filed under World Heritage 2017.