News and Events

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This is an excerpt from an article by Lia Schifitto that is based on her M.A. Thesis. Lia Schifitto is now a heritage preservationist from Upstate New York but has lived across Tuscany, Rome, and Toronto. She currently is working for Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Lia earned her M.A. at the American University of Rome, studying Sustainable Cultural Heritage. She completed her BA at the University of Toronto, specializing in American and Soviet Cultural History.

On Saturday February 17th, AUR’s Graduate School launched its new program to offer two full-day targeted Graduate Workshops per semester aimed at developing specific skills. The event proved to be very popular – even necessitating moving the class into the student lounge to accommodate the number of students who had signed up!
 
Prof. Pier Matteo Barone led the first workshop that covered the topic of Geographic Information Systems. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool that analyzes, stores, manipulates and visualizes geographic information, usually in a map.

The American University of Rome's Professor Peter Gould,  M.A. Sustainable Cultural Heritage and M.A. Arts Management, seeks to identify the success factors associated with economic development projects within communities adjacent to archaeological or heritage sites, a growing interest among archaeologists and heritage managers. Typically, the success of site museums, tourism businesses, or crafts cooperatives is rarely reported on in scholarly literature or subjected to systematic study. This new book, Empowering Communities through Archaeology and Heritage, addresses that gap. 

On an unexpectedly hot and sunny Saturday October 21, 2017, a mixed group of undergraduate and graduate students travelled down the spectacular Italian coast. Our destination was Sperlonga and Terracina with the aim of seeing the Villa of Tiberius and the Temple of Jupiter Anxur, two very well preserved archaeological sites. The Villa of Tiberius itself is sparsely excavated and possibly too small to be a real imperial villa, but the star attraction is the adjacent rock cut swimming pool. It originally contained groups of statues of various characters from the Odyssey by Homer which are reconstructed in the nearby museum. The Romans believed that all the tales related by Homer in the Odyssey took place along this coast and many of the modern place names derive from this.

On October 20, 2017, Nicholas Stanley-Price, a conservationist with a Dr. Phil. in Archeology from Oxford University guest lectured a Sustainable Cultural Heritage class on his role as a member of the advisory committee of the Non-Catholic (Protestant) Cemetery in Rome. His lecture focused on the practical aspects of maintaining a site that is both an active cemetery and also an important historical place housing the tombs of famous visitors to Rome such as Shelley and Keats. He illustrated some of the challenges this dual role entails for the management of the site.

Dr. Mahsvari Naidu, a senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, gave a guest lecture at AUR on Robben Island tourism and the relationship that South Africans and foreigners have with its difficult heritage.

This year’s Cultural Heritage Lecture Series kicked off on October 4th with a lecture from Christopher Prescott, Director of The Norwegian Institute in Rome, addressing one of the most pressing heritage topics in Europe – how to integrate new immigrant communities into national narratives. Since Norway achieved full independence in 1905 it has based its cultural identity on its ancient Norse and Viking background and has developed a heritage structure that showcases the rich archaeological and literary heritage from these periods. This traditional view has changed very little, notwithstanding the dynamic demographic changes in recent years which have resulted in a substantial immigrant population in cities like Oslo. The issue becomes ever more important as within the year 2030 over 50% of the urban population will be first or second generation immigrants.

In Fall 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to intern for the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) as part of the requirements for the Sustainable Cultural Heritage MA.

Simone Quilici, a landscape architect with a Ph.D. in urban, spatial and environmental planning from the University of Florence, who works as a cultural heritage officer for the Lazio region of Italy, spent a morning with the students in the Contemporary Issues in Cultural Heritage course illuminating a variety of career options that exist within the field.

Newly arrived graduate students embarking upon their M.A. programs this Fall 2017 enjoyed a walking tour with Prof. Pier Matteo Barone that began with a brief introduction of Ancient Rome while looking out over Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill backdrop.