Presentations from the Tower conference are available here.
The World Heritage UK annual conference for 2018 is now a happy memory with much learned, experiences and knowledge shared, networks renewed and new friendships forged over two days in October. The historic Tower of London, in the shadows of its neighbouring 21st century high rise glass skyscrapers, was the perfect place to discuss the ‘setting’ of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and our thanks go to Historic Royal Palaces for hosting the event and providing some memorable behind-the-scenes tours.
The conference attracted over a hundred participants, including Michael Ellis, the Under Secretary of State and his team from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), colleagues from Historic England and the heritage agencies of the devolved nations (who also provided country overview presentations), university academics, heritage consultancy professionals, representatives of most of the UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites, delegates from Bermuda, Germany, Malta and a delegation from the China Academy of Urban Planning Design.
The Minister’s words were very supportive of the work of World Heritage UK and he re-stated the Government’s commitment to heritage protection. This backing will be important when the UK World Heritage Site Review, being carried out by World Heritage UK President, Chris Blandford, is published in 2019, and a summary of progress on this review work formed part of the busy conference programme.
Delegates also heard fascinating insights into case studies where the settings of World Heritage Sites were being challenged, in particular by tall buildings at the Tower of London, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and in Liverpool, by road development at Stonehenge, nationally significant infrastructure projects and changes in agricultural policy in the English Lake District and a variety of issues in the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, including wind turbines, industrial and housing developments.
There were interactive sessions too, with a Question Time style panel and the popular 5- minute ‘elevator pitches’ which provided short but insightful contributions that were received well by an enthused audience.
As usual the conference’s additional activities were epic, including a wide range of short behind-the-scenes tours both at the Tower of London and at the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Sites, a speedy clipper trip on the River Thames and a jolly conference dinner at the Old Brewery in Greenwich.
Feedback from delegates has been 100% positive on the overall experience of the conference via the 39% of feedback forms received. Speaker’s presentations and other arisings from the event will be uploaded to the World Heritage UK website in due course.
We are already planning and looking forward to next year’s conference which will be hosted in Llangollen by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site in North Wales. In the meantime, the next event will be a technical workshop on ‘Education in World Heritage Sites’ which will take place at Big Pit, Blaenavon on 19th and 20th February 2019
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Photo credits: Sam Rose
Following newspaper reports concerning the UK’s continued membership of UNESCO, World Heritage UK are pleased to note the following reported clarification statement from the Department for International Development: “There has been no change to our funding commitment to Unesco. The UK is working closely with Unesco and other member states to ensure it makes crucial reforms to deliver the best results and value for taxpayers’ money.” (13 November 2018). World Heritage UK understands that scrutiny of bodies such as UNESCO is a legitimate political duty, but we also have the utmost confidence that the economic, environmental and social benefit delivered by the UK’s 31 World Heritage Sites can be proven to withstand any such scrutiny. The UK is a world leader in terms of heritage management and the benefit that we gain from, and contribute to, delivery of the UNESCO Convention is substantial. The whole ethos of the Convention is one of global co-operation which is essential to tackle challenges to our unique cultural and natural heritage. Plastic in our oceans and international tourism pressures are examples of issues that nations cannot practically resolve alone.
DCMS Heritage Minister Michael Ellis announced today that the Welsh Slate Mining Landscape bid can progress to nomination. Whilst there is still work to do, this is a huge hurdle cleared for the project. Pictured below at the House of Commons announcement are MP Liz Saville Roberts, Lord Dafydd Wigley, Minister Michael Ellis and Cllr Ioan Thomas.
You can find more information on this UNESCO tentative list site at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5678/
Local businesses in the English Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site are showing their support for its new global recognition with huge enthusiasm. Today, at the Westmorland County Show, the partners that developed the successful bid for inscription launched their branding for the UK’s most recent World Heritage Site – with great popular appeal. Taking a simple but welcoming approach the brand clearly identifies the place but cleverly encourages its adoption by local people for use in promoting activities, destinations, services and products using the specific font style.
On display at the showground today, ably hosted by team members from the Lake District National Park Authority and the National Trust, were some great examples of how locally produced goods are promoting themselves and the World Heritage Site as a result of this partnership. From local ‘Lovingly made in….’ cosmetics, to Cumbrian beer and coasters, even a ‘World Heritage relish’ and the Herdwick wool handbags made famous on Kate Humble’s recent BBC programme, ‘Back to the Land’. These will all benefit from their association with the World Heritage Site and vice versa as the site is promoted through these local products.
It’s a win-win plus as sustainability is at the heart of this initiative. Sustainability of the land and its heritage conservation, sustainability of the local economy required to underpin it, and sustainability of the local communities that live and work here. And what a great showcase this will be for the visitors who will come here from across the world as a consequence of the UNESCO network of World Heritage Sites. There was a great sense of pride around this event today, and with good reason. The English Lake District is really making the most of its hard-won world heritage status.
You can meet Alex and Mairi (above) at the World Heritage UK conference at the Tower of London on 15th and 16th October where they will be with other UK World Heritage Site Coordinators. There are still some tickets left and you can register at: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/setting-the-scene-for-world-heritage-tickets-46877370477
Thanks to the generous support of these sponsors, World Heritage UK is able to keep the costs of delegate’s attendance affordable at its latest conference ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’, at the Tower of London, 15th and 16th October 2018. This is the 4th annual conference of the charity organisation and it promises to be the most compelling yet, not just for the prestigious venue in the city of London but also for the controversial nature of its subject matter. Development in and around World Heritage Sites is often in the news and here will be discussed such topical places as Stonehenge and its road issues, plans affecting the sites in Liverpool and London with tall buildings and other factors, plus many more examples from around the UK and its Overseas Territories. The event is already attracting international interest so best secure your tickets soon to avoid disappointment. You can register for the conference here
Welcome to World Heritage, Joe Perry! The Peatlands Partnership has just appointed Joe as their World Heritage Site Officer to take forward the idea of The Flow Country in Sutherland and Caithness becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS).
Joe is moving to the Highlands from Glasgow where he been working as a Project Manager for an environmental tour and experiences company that aims to connect young people in Scotland with our natural and cultural heritage. In addition to an honours degree in history, he has an MSc in Environment, Heritage and Policy.
The Flow Country is an area of deep peat, dotted with bog pools, that blankets much of Caithness and Sutherland. The Flow Country is the largest expanse of blanket bog in Europe and covers about 200,000 hectares. A recent academic study has described The Flow Country as being “the best peatland of its type in the world”. The idea that the Flow Country could be inscribed as a World Heritage Site has been investigated by The Peatlands Partnership for some time and the area has been on the UK’s Tentative List of WHS since 1999. A World Heritage Site Working Group was set up by the Partnership in 2017 this short-life working group is independently chaired by Mrs Frances Gunn of The Highland 3rd Sector Alliance and will have a fixed purpose to develop and submit a Technical Evaluation to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by the summer of 2019.
A Technical Evaluation is essentially a scaled-down version of a ‘nomination’ (application) to UNESCO and is assessed by an independent panel. Whilst it is the Peatlands Partnership’s aspiration that The Flow Country becomes inscribed as a World Heritage Site, it is DCMS which will decide whether the case is sufficiently robust to nominate the site to UNESCO.
A considerable amount of work is required to complete the process and Joe Perry has been appointed to assist the Working Group in delivering this.
The Working Group has to carry out three main tasks which will take up to 18 months to complete:
- Develop a boundary for the proposed WHS in consultation with a wide range of community and other interests.
- Carry out an extensive community consultation covering all aspects of what a WHS could mean to local communities.
- Complete all the reports and information required to support the Technical Evaluation and submit this to DCMS in the summer of 2019.
Chair of the Working Group, Frances Gunn, said “In the past we have relied solely on a number of partners fitting this work in alongside all their other duties and so it’s a great step forward to have a Project Officer in post who can dedicate all their time to taking the World Heritage Site proposals forward, especially an all-important community consultation across Sutherland and Caithness.”
Frances added “I am particularly grateful to Highland Council who will act as host employer for Joe and I’m also delighted that we have funded this post from both the public and private sectors. The post is generously supported by Wildland Limited, RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and The Highland Council.”
Nicole Wallace, Highland Council’s Environment Manager pointed out “Highland Council is happy to help the Peatlands Partnership take the proposals for UNESCO World Heritage Site status forward and I look forward to Joe starting work on this exciting project next month.”
“We shouldn’t let the fact that the Flow Country has been identified as the best peatland of its type in the world pass us by. A Flow Country World Heritage Site would not only be an enormous accolade for the area and the many organisations, land managers, crofters and farmers who have maintained this area for generations but it would also bring many positive development opportunities and undoubtedly some challenges too.”
The Peatlands Partnership
The Peatlands Partnership includes: Scottish Natural Heritage, Highland Council, Forestry Commission (Scotland), RSPB Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, The Environmental Research Institute, Northern Deer Management Group, Flow Country Rivers Trust, The Highland Third Sector Interface and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It also liaises with local community groups, the Scottish Government’s Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate and the North Sutherland Community Forest Trust.
The Partnerships is chaired by Professor Stuart Gibb of the Environmental Research Institute in Thurso and Highland Council’s representative on the Partnership is Nicole Wallace, Head of Environment.
Joe Perry Project Coordinator, Flow Country World Heritage Site Working Group
Brigid Primrose Secretary: The Flow Country World Heritage Site Working Group,
c/o Scottish Natural Heritage, Great Glen House, Inverness.
Ian Mitchell Secretary: The Peatlands Partnership,
c/o Scottish Natural Heritage, The Links, Golspie.
0300 067 3110
Hi, my name is Valentina Sabucco, a post-graduate student from Newcastle University on a placement at the Durham Cathedral UNESCO World Heritage Site.
World Heritage UK is currently preparing a bid to apply for a Heritage Lottery Fund Resilient Heritage grant and I am helping to organise a survey for your input to help guide the application. Will you help me?
World Heritage UK aims to become a more sustainable and resilient organisation, improving our professional skills and offering the chance for everyone who is interested and passionate about heritage to bring his/her contribution to the organisation.
For this purpose, the following questionnaire has been designed to help our organisation identify its strengths and reveal areas for improvement. The survey usually takes only two minutes to be completed.
We would really appreciate everyone’s participation as we do value your feedback and we would like to build on your comments towards the next steps towards a more resilient future.
The link to the short questionnaire is: HERE
World Heritage UK is pleased to announce that registration is now open for its 4th Annual Conference, ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’, taking place at the Tower of London UNESCO World Heritage Site on the 15th and 16th October 2018. Please note the change of date from previous announcements, made to accommodate the very best available facilities at this prestigious venue.
The link to the registration webpage is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/setting-the-scene-for-world-heritage-tickets-46877370477?
UNESCO World Heritage Sites are the historic wonders of the world and the jewels in the crown of any nation. The United Kingdom is blessed with 31 of them and each year World Heritage UK celebrates these gems with a conference. The theme for this year’s event will be ‘Setting the Scene for World Heritage’.
Many of our World Heritage Sites are facing management issues, not only from within their boundaries, but from external pressures beyond, which can be hard to control. Here, delegates will look at the setting in which a World Heritage Site exists, issues with buffer zones and examining how best to deal with Outstanding Universal Value in the margins.
We will be looking in detail at controversial urban examples from Liverpool, Edinburgh and London, but will also examine contentious cultural landscapes such as Stonehenge, natural World Heritage Sites and those with issues on the coast.
The Minister for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis MP, has accepted our invitation to speak at the conference and he will be joined by Colonel Richard Harrold, Director of the Tower Group, Simon Hickman from Historic England, urban designer Pete Swift from Planit IE and Rob Burns from Urban Design and Heritage as confirmed speakers so far.
The conference will be delivered in association with Historic Royal Palaces and with support from Historic England and Border Archaeology. We expect to continue the success of previous years with an exciting programme of speakers and side events – perhaps an evening boat trip on the River Thames and behind-the-scenes tour at the Tower of London. More detail on these to follow.
There are only 150 tickets available for this conference, including a small allocation at a reduced rate for students and Voting Members of World Heritage UK. You are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.
But Liverpool Maritime City remains on the “Sites in Danger” list. This is one outcome of the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee held in Bahrain. You can read more on this in articles written for Place North West here and for the Liverpool Echo here. World Heritage UK’s position on this issue can be found in its recent press release.
The matter of the ‘setting’ of a number of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites will be comprehensively discussed at World Heritage UK’s 4th Annual Conference in September, this year to be held at the Tower of London. Registration details for this major event will be available shortly.