2022 Annual Conference

September 13, 2022 Published by Alex McCoskrie

Day 1 speakers and panelists –

Dr. Mechtild Rössler

Mechtild Rössler has a degree (Staatsexamen) in cultural geography and literature from Freiburg University (Germany) in 1984 and a Ph.D. from the Faculty for Earth Sciences, University of Hamburg (Germany) in 1988.  She joined the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) at the Research Centre of the Museum “Cité des Sciences et de L’Industrie” (Paris, France) in 1989 and worked in 1990/91 as a visiting scholar on geography, area research and spatial planning at the University of California at Berkeley, USA, in the Department of Geography. In 1991, she started working at UNESCO (Paris) in the Division for Ecological Sciences and transferred in 1992 to the newly created UNESCO World Heritage Centre. She held different positions including as Programme Specialist for Natural Heritage and Cultural Landscapes (1993-2001), Chief of Europe and North America (2001-2010), Chief of the Policy and Statutory Meeting Section (2010-2013), Deputy Director (2013-2015), Director of the Division for Heritage (2015-2018) and Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2015-2021). 

After her retirement on 1 October 2021 from UNESCO, she returned to academia and joined the French CNRS as chercheur associé (CNRS-UMR Géographie-Cités). She lives both in France and Germany. She has published and co-authored 13 books and more than 120 articles, among them “Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention” (Routledge 2016, with Prof. Christina Cameron).

Laura Davies

Ms Laura Davies was appointed the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in February 2022.

Laura joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1998. She has most recently served as Head of Politics, Engagement and Public Affairs at the British Embassy in Paris and Deputy British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Previous postings include Deputy Director for Migration and Deputy Head of Counter Proliferation Department in the then Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Other postings include Islamabad, Addis Ababa, Brasilia and Brussels.

Laura has a degree in Classics and English from the University of Oxford.

Follow Laura and the UK Delegation to UNESCO on Twitter: @UKAmbUNESCO

Susan Denyer, ICOMOS-UK

Susan Denyer FSA, is Secretary, ICOMOS-UK, and Senior World Heritage Adviser, ICOMOS. She is involved in the evaluation of World Heritage nominations and the state of conservation of World Heritage sites outside the UK. and has undertaken international missions for ICOMOS in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. For the past 19 years she has been part of the ICOMOS team at UNESCO World Heritage Committee meetings.  Previously she worked for the National Trust, in museums, and as lecturer, including six years in East and West Africa, and has been Chair of BASIN, an international network for low-cost housing, and Secretary of INTACH UK, (the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, UK). She has published widely on cultural landscapes and is an occasional lecturer at various universities.

Mike Innerdale, National Trust

Mike has worked for the National Trust for 15 years, previously an Assistant Director of Operations in Cumbria and before that as General Manager in the Peak District. He was appointed to the role of Regional Director of the North 4 years ago.

Mike has worked in protected landscapes for most of his career, working for a variety of organisations, from Forestry Commission to Severn Trent Water and the RSPB.

Mike was part of the English Lake District World Heritage Site Steering Group that oversaw its inscription and development of the Management Plan in 2017. Mike has also been co-chair the Trust’s internal WHS network across the UK and active involvement in International National Trust Organisation.

In his current role as Regional Director, Mike has overall responsibility for the operation, care and management of the Trust’s places across the North of England, including over 2000 staff, 96,000 hectares of countryside, 50 miles of coastline, and 700 listed buildings and most importantly leadership and involvement in 3 World Heritage Sites.

Phil Foxwood, DCMS

Phil is currently managing the review of the UK’s Tentative List and other UNESCO heritage work, following a number of years working on fiscal events and strategy in DCMS.  Prior to DCMS, Phil launched the Britain on Film online archive programme at the British Film Institute and has a background in independent cinema.

Alexandra Warr, Historic England

Alexandra Warr is the Head of International Affairs for Historic England, with responsibility for World Heritage. She has represented the interests of England’s heritage sector nationally and internationally for nearly two decades and is responsible for providing strategic advice and direction on international heritage (and related) policies, working closely with national and international governments and agencies, and international bodies such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and UN bodies such as UNESCO. 

Alexandra is a cultural historian who trained in archaeology, art history, conservation of historic buildings and garden history before entering English Heritage in July 2001.  She was a founding member of ICOMOS Cambodia and a member of Chatham House with a specific interest in the role of culture and identity in international relations, domestic policy and society as well as the role of cultural heritage as a catalyst for inclusive growth and social stability within the sustainable development framework. Twitter: @warr_rooms

Alice Lyall, Historic Environment Scotland

Alice Lyall is Deputy Head of World Heritage and Coordinator for the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site at Historic Environment Scotland. The HES World Heritage Team is the national focal point for World Heritage support and guidance. After a decade working in Northern Irish archaeology she returned to Scotland in 2009 and has been involved with world heritage management, both site-specific and more broadly, ever since.

James Bridge, UK National Commission for UNESCO

James is the Secretary-General and Chief Executive of the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC).

He and the UKNC secretariat work with the UK’s UNESCO sites and designations; the global network of 199 National Commissions for UNESCO; UK and devolved government and UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

He was an Alternate Member of the UNESCO Executive Board for the UK from 2013 – 2019 and is currently on the Advisory Board of the British Council’s Missing Pillar Project; of the Institute for Global Innovation; and of Jodrell Bank Observatory. Twitter @jamesobridge 

Chris Blandford, World Heritage UK

Chris is a world heritage specialist, master planner and landscape architect with a professional career spanning 45 years. He is currently President of World Heritage UK.

Prior to this role Chris was lead consultant and chairman of the multidisciplinary CBA Studios consultancy which undertook strategic policy and project work in the heritage, planning, landscape, and environmental sectors throughout the UK and internationally. He has been a regular advisor to Government agencies and NGOs on matters of cultural and natural heritage, planning, development management, funding, and governance. His distinctive project work in the landscape planning, and design fields were the recipient of numerous awards for innovation and excellence.

From the 1990s onwards, Chris was increasingly involved with the planning, conservation, and management of numerous natural and cultural heritage destinations and designations in the UK and undertook many projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and others. Leading on from this, much of his professional time for over 25 years, both as a practitioner and a volunteer, has been focussed on the World Heritage sector where he has been intensively involved in the preparation of WHS management plans, nomination dossiers, feasibility studies, technical evaluations, and policy guidance for over 30 World Heritage Sites in the UK and overseas. His advice on nominations has resulted in several successful WHS inscriptions. Chris has been an attendee at annual World Heritage Committee meetings and is very familiar with the protocols, processes, and requirements for achieving World Heritage status. Working internationally, He has assisted the development of WHSs in Peru, Oman, Italy, India, Libya, Singapore and elsewhere. Most recently on behalf of World Heritage (WHUK) Chris prepared the comprehensive and seminal report World Heritage-Asset for the Future (2020) which sets the agenda for a more coherent, sustainable, and strategic approach to the future planning and management of World Heritage in the UK. He has also recently prepared the Ireland World Heritage Strategy 2022 -2031 for the Irish Government with associated guidance for agency capacity building, stakeholder engagement, progressing the revision of the Tentative List and a plan of action for implementing the strategy.