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Professor Mark Goodwin, University of Exeter Deputy Vice-Chancellor and David Gwyther, Chair of Trustees at South West Heritage Trust

New partnership will help to protect and celebrate the South West’s historic treasures

A new partnership between the University of Exeter and the South West Heritage Trust is furthering research and access into the region’s remarkable heritage. 

In future the two organisations, who have signed a memorandum of understanding, will have a closer working relationship, and will cooperate on projects where they share common aims and interests.

The South West Heritage Trust is an independent charity that cares for the historic collections of Devon and Somerset through its archives and museums. It also helps to protect the historic environment. .

University of Exeter academics will carry out research using Trust collections, and the Trust will be a partner in the university’s doctoral training programmes. Students will undertake internships and placements across the Trust’s museums and archives.

Professor Mark Goodwin, University of Exeter Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted to begin this important partnership with the South West Heritage Trust. By working together we can provide opportunities for both students and members of the public to research, explore and protect the Trust’s incredible resources.”

Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, said: “The signing of the memorandum of understanding signifies an important partnership with the university. By working together we will be able to do more to protect and celebrate the region’s rich heritage. We look forward to collaborating on a range of projects that will provide many more opportunities for people to discover the remarkable heritage of Devon and Somerset.”  

Plans for collaborative work include the possibility to open up collections within the remarkable West Country Studies Library, which is cared for by the Trust, and more opportunities for students to take part in hands on archive sessions. 

University of Exeter and Trust experts also plan to work together on the archive of the Spacex art gallery, which was based in Exeter from 1974 to 2018.  The archive has been transferred to the Devon Heritage Centre and will be used for research and teaching on themes relating to the arts in the South West.

The two organisations already have a strong track record of working together, having collaborated on the National Lottery-funded project, ‘Devon Remembers’, which commemorated the First World War. Students have also previously used the Trust’s resources and records, and University of Exeter historian Professor Henry French is a Trustee of the charity.

Date: 9 October 2019

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