Ivan Enev, Bulgaria (Class of 2016)
“Imagine having a dream of a distant land – a dream that takes you back to your childhood: irrational, intensive, colourful and warm. Many years later you have left it behind, walking a path that seems to lengthen the distance between you and that blurry childhood dream. This was me and my dream of Australia, almost inherent to my mind – a dream or a memory? I cannot tell. Later on, my architectural education provoked me to start looking at my future from a different angle – rational, organised, sketchy, decorous... and local. This meant Bulgaria, or Europe at the very most. What eventually brought me to Australia, was my fascination with cultural heritage, with the charm of ancient sites and the mystery of agelong cultural traditions. Following a brief professional experience in the field of architectural conservation, I was fortunate to be accepted into the Dual Master’s Degree Programme (DMDP). Today I see this experience as a milestone in my development – both professional and personal; as a rewarding synthesis of multidisciplinary knowledge and transformative encounters with people, places and cultures.
The DMDP is based on a holistic academic approach, which seeks to combine the best practices from the European and Australian heritage field. It offers a rare opportunity for rich intercultural exchange at both academic and personal level. It has helped me gain a deeper and more comprehensive reading of heritage – one that more closely relates to UNESCO’s urge for inclusive and balanced approach in defining and promoting the topic. Somewhat unexpectedly, the DMDP has also given me the chance to compare different education methodologies and practical issues in the heritage field. Looking back at the curricula, I see that the disciplines “Intangible Heritage” and “Understanding Significance” were a great part of my motivation to apply for the DMDP – a whole new side to heritage for those, educated in the fabric- and authenticity-focused European approaches to defining and looking after heritage. And finally, amongst the greatest assets of the DMDP is the rather unusual combination of high academic standards and warm informal attitude of many lecturers and academic staff at both BTU and DU.”