Programme Director: Dr Nikolaos Karydis

Based in the historic town of Canterbury, this programme combines the study of conservation theory and philosophy with an exploration of the technical aspects of repair and reconstruction. The city’s stunning cathedral and medieval monuments give students the opportunity to learn from the conservation of a World Heritage Site. Ideal for those with an interest in architectural heritage, the course represents a gateway to a career in demanding professional fields such as conservation and heritage management. As the future leaders in these fields, the course’s graduates play a central role in disciplines that lie at the centre of current economic, environmental and social agendas.

The varied curriculum of the course reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of conservation. During the autumn term, students gain a critical understanding of historic buildings through an introduction to conservation philosophy and policies. This is followed by the study of practical survey and preservation techniques during the spring term. The delivery of these modules is enriched by site visits and guest lectures.

During the last academic year, we visited a number of historic sites and conservation projects including the Church of St. Mary the Virgin at Willesborough, the scaffolding deck in the nave of Canterbury Cathedral, and Chatham House in Rochester. These site visits gave our students the opportunity to engage with key specialists and stakeholders involved in the preservation of these sites. Our students have written about these site visits on our blog: https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/conservation.

Case studies and workshops carried out in collaboration with Canterbury Cathedral and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) introduced students to the properties of historic building materials and the techniques employed in the repair of historic buildings. This year, we continued our collaboration with the SPAB, which gave our students the opportunity to work on a live project: the survey and preservation of ‘St. Andrew’s Chapel’, near Boxley Abbey, Maidstone. Built in the fifteenth century and modified several times in the following centuries, the chapel is currently in an advanced state of decay. The SPAB is currently restoring the building. Our students visited the site in January and February 2022. Guided by SPAB specialists, the students researched the history of the building, analysed its significance and drafted conservation strategies. This material was then synthesised in a new conservation plan, which will be submitted to the SPAB with the aim to contribute to the future conservation of this magnificent building. In the meantime, the students are working on their dissertation module, which enables them to study an aspect of conservation of their choice.