StephanieStephanie Harder - Master of Urban And Cultural Heritage

Stephanie Harder chose to study at Melbourne because she liked how the university was leading by example incorporating Aboriginal cultural heritage into the design of its campus.

The placing of the Master of Urban and Cultural Heritage within the Melbourne School of Design also played a big part in her decision.

“This course sat amongst complimentary disciplines training future architects, designers and planners, who in the future will be the ones responsible for making decisions on our heritage places. I thought this was practical, and a real reflection of what is happening on the ground today.

“This impressed me as it revealed to me that the University of Melbourne had carefully considered where the heritage conservation sat in practice, that it is multi-disciplinary, and it knew where its students should be looking when job searching in the future.”

One of the things she enjoyed during her study was the robust discussions and debates in class with her peers and lecturers, dissecting and challenging ideas and concepts in heritage conservation and applying them to contemporary issues.

“These were valuable experiences whereby my own opinions were tested and in turn reconsidered and evolved. Coming from an urban planning background, I enjoyed being in a space where I could obtain insight from my peers who came from different disciplines.

“This provided me with a greater understanding of other issues that I should be aware of but, in the past, had not considered. The multi-disciplinary nature of the course was something that I enjoyed the most and helped me further develop my own ideas.”

Balancing full-time work and study was her greatest challenge and she was grateful for the support and understanding from her lecturers.

For the last two years Stephanie has been volunteering for an organisation in northern Sri Lanka, which has been recovering from civil war, providing heritage and planning advice on a 16th century fortress.

Her tips for current and future students: “If there is something you are really passionate about, raise it with your lecturers and course coordinator and do not feel silly about it!

“They will encourage you to pursue it and help you find a way to integrate it into your studies. It will give you an opportunity to apply and test your knowledge and skills in practice and give your studies greater meaning and purpose.”

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