What heritage means to me: Jamie Davies

HLF Wales Committee Member Jamie Davies
Jamie Davies tells us about juggling PhD study with being an HLF Committee member for Wales

How do you define “heritage”?

For me heritage is subjective. It can be something of value from the past or present. It can be tangible or intangible, natural or cultural. Ultimately it is about people and their stories. HLF has always been right in not defining it. 

Tell us about what you do as a committee member, and in your other capacities?

My first HLF Wales Committee meeting was in September 2016. As a committee member, I attend meetings four times a year, where we decide on first and second round project applications, and I make recommendations for major grants of over £2million to be decided by the HLF Board of Trustees. In addition, I have contributed to HLF consultations, observed the delegated decision meetings made by the Head of HLF in Wales and observed another regional committee meeting in the West Midlands. As a Welsh speaker, I contribute to press announcements - most recently the multi-million funding boost to the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Since 2016, I have been a Teaching Fellow in Cultural Heritage with the Ironbridge Institute; delivering modules for the International Heritage Management MA for both campus-based and distance learning students.  Alongside being a Teaching Fellow, I am also in the final stages of a PhD, which I started in 2014, researching Education at World Heritage Sites. Balancing this alongside being a HLF committee member requires a lot of time management, but I find the two roles complement each other.

What’s it like doing the role you do?

Being a young HLF committee member (25 years old), the role is certainly a learning curve, but it is great to know that your knowledge, experience and opinion does make a difference in deciding where National Lottery players money is spent. What I really love  is exploring the projects in person and meeting the grantees. I have only been to one project opening so far; I look forward to attending more to see how HLF helps change lives and save heritage.

“Being a young HLF committee member is certainly a learning curve, but it is great to know that your knowledge, experience and opinion makes a difference.”

What inspired you to become an HLF committee member?

Since the age of 17, I have been involved with the Amgueddfa Forwrol Llŷn / Llŷn Maritime Museum - which was funded by HLF. This was my first encounter with the transformational power of HLF. When the opportunity came up, I thought more young people should get involved and applied, despite being only 24. The opportunity to give something back and contribute to the heritage of Wales was something I thought I had to go for.

What made you want to work in heritage?

I have always been interested in heritage - perhaps it all started with all the visits to Welsh castles when I was a child. I hold an Archaeology BA and International Cultural Heritage Management MA from Durham University. My BA dissertation was on Welsh Castles whilst my MA thesis was on digital heritage interpretation at World Heritage Sites. My interest in heritage is quite varied and I look forward to seeing where it takes me next.

Do you have a favourite piece of Welsh heritage and why?

I have dug at Castell Nanhyfer/ Nevern Castle four times as part of an ongoing research project by Dr Chris Caple at Durham University. The opportunity to excavate a 12th-century castle, so deeply associated with the heritage of Wales, and contribute to the new understanding of the site was exhilarating. The comradery and passionate atmosphere of the excavation site has shown me how heritage inspires, binds and transforms individuals and communities.

What’s the last piece of heritage you visited / enjoyed interacting with?

I recently visited Florence - the breath-taking marble Duomo and Michelangelo's David left me in awe. 

Why do you think heritage is important?

Heritage is the very essence of who we are.

Do you have a favourite historical figure?

JFK

Do you have a favourite meal?

You can’t go wrong with a jacket potato, beans and cheese.

Do you have a favourite film?

The Rock - Connery, Cage and scored by Hans Zimmer.

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