New Lanark Launches Celebratory Conference

September 10, 2021 Published by Beth Thomas

New Lanark Trust has launched a three-day conference in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Owen, the world-renowned social reformer whose remarkable story is brought to life at New Lanark World Heritage Site.

‘New Lanark 2021: A Living Legacy’ is a hybrid event which will take place both in person at the World Heritage Site and online from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th October and features a packed programme of speakers and round-table discussions exploring the legacies of social reform and heritage-led regeneration.

Keynote speakers will include former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, broadcaster Lesley Riddoch and Kate Pugh OBE, Non-Executive Director for Culture at the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

The conference also marks the 20th anniversary of New Lanark’s UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription and the completion of the £4.5 million National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland funded ‘Restoration of former millworkers’ housing’ programme.

Robert Owen was a pioneering social reformer who provided educational opportunities and improved housing and life-style conditions for employees of New Lanark Mills creating a model for industrial communities that was adopted across the world.

Jane Masters, Head of Heritage & Development, New Lanark Trust said, “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, 2021 marks a number of major milestones for New Lanark and we are delighted to present this global conference which draws speakers from countries as far afield as Japan and Mexico who all share a passion for the legacy and ethos of New Lanark – be it social reform, heritage-led regeneration or World Heritage. The legacy of Robert Owen in particular is far-reaching and undoubtedly just as relevant in 2021 as we continue to strive for all that he stood for today – equality, educational opportunities and workers’ rights.”

Tickets are priced from £10.00 and can be purchased from
The conference is being supported by South Lanarkshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Located just under an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh New Lanark, a former 18th century cotton spinning mill village, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of ‘outstanding universal value’. The award-winning Visitor Attraction, set within a National Nature Reserve features a range of family friendly attractions alongside a mill shop, which features onsite traditionally spun organic wool and home-made ice-cream, and café. The village, which produces its own hydro-electricity, also includes New Lanark Mill Hotel and the Wee Row Hostel.