World Heritage Education

Education, Publications, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Education

This is a Call For Papers for contributions to a new, open access, postgraduate/ graduate journal called furnace that is edited by young scholars in the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) at the University of Birmingham. furnace hopes to be a facilitator for sparking debates and discussions surrounding the expanding and diversifying disciplinary field of cultural heritage.

Article 4 of the World Heritage Convention states that each State Party has ‘the duty of ensuring the identification, protection, conservation, presentation and transmission to future generations of the cultural and natural heritage’ (UNESCO 1972); it is through Outreach and Education that this ‘transmission’ is undertaken.

 Article 27 enshrines the Educational duties of WHSs, as it states that ‘the States Parties to this Convention shall endeavour by all appropriate means, and in particular by educational and information programmes, to strengthen appreciation and respect by their peoples of the cultural and natural heritage’ (UNESCO 1972).

 It is important to remind WHSs and stakeholders, that Education and Outreach is a duty and obligation. This is a timely reminder as many World Heritage Sites are undergoing a period of change through restructuring and the rewriting of their Management Plans.

 World Heritage Education can occur through formal learning programmes at site level, nationally through state parties and globally. World Heritage Education however remains under researched. This is a symptom of heritage education in general which remains under researched in comparison to that of museum education.

 Therefore we are seeking submissions with a focus on either of the following research questions:

  • What is World Heritage Education?
  • How can the concept of Outstanding Universal Value be communicated to young audiences?
  • What is the relationship between heritage education, museum education and World Heritage Education?
  • How can educational visits to World Heritage Sites enhance learning?
  • How are World Heritage Sites learning resources for classroom based learning?
  • What are the challenges in World Heritage Sites developing learning programmes?

The theme of the 4th issue of the IIICH Postgraduate journal furnace is World Heritage Education.

 Full papers are required by Friday June 10th 2016. They should be sent to: . Decisions will be made quickly by the editorial board. Those accepted will be reviewed and corrected for publication launch on Friday September 30th 2016.

See the webpage for further information on submissions.

 For further information or any questions, please contact us via the email above or tweet at @furnacejournal

The World Heritage Convention: A UK Perspective, free event

Events, lecture, News, Opportunities, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites

The World Heritage Convention: A UK Perspective

Henry Owen-John, Historic England

28 April, 17:30 – 18:30

University of Birmingham, Room TBC

Free event, all welcome

Book your free place:

Henry Owen John, Head of International Advice for Historic England will look back to the origins of UNESCO and the introduction of cultural conventions, particularly the 1972 World Heritage Convention. Since 1972 definitions of heritage have expanded to become much broader and inclusive, yet World Heritage Sites, by their very nature are places that are unique or exceptional in global terms. This divergence poses a number of challenges. The criteria for achieving Outstanding Universal Value, the concept that is at the core of the Convention, have been set by experts and nominations for WHS status are led by specialists so how best can inclusive approaches to world heritage, in which often diverse communities can participate, be developed? And of what relevance is world heritage to the wider communities beyond the 29 WHSs in the UK and its overseas territories?

The World Heritage List is dominated by relatively prosperous countries with longstanding systems for the identification and protection of cultural and natural heritage. How can a more balanced and credible List be developed when so many countries have an understandably limited capacity to develop successful nominations? And, with 192 countries, often with very different approaches to heritage management, that are party to the Convention, the UK can sometimes find itself at odds with the broad consensus view about how best to manage and protect WHSs. In particular the concept of “constructive conservation” can clash with less flexible approaches to protection.

In all these circumstances how best can the UK seek to ensure that world heritage and the ethos of UNESCO are, and are seen to be, forces that can deliver social and economic as well as environmental benefit?

Some reflections on the Inaugural World Heritage UK conference, by Coralie Acheson

Conference Saltaire October 2015, News

Coralie Acheson

Last week a large group of professionals working with or alongside World Heritage Sites got together in Saltaire for the inaugural World Heritage UK conference, alongside a few ‘interested observers’ like myself. It was a great two days with a real buzz of positivity and creativity in the room.

There were a number of key ideas and themes that emerged, reflecting the fact that, although the UK’s World Heritage Sites are enormously varied in content, size, visitor numbers and management structure, there are areas of commonality shared across them.

The first of these is that there should be no shame in promoting these wonderful places to funding organisations, government and businesses. Not only are World Heritage Sites truly special places, they have great economic potential. Keith Nichol (DCMS) reminded us that the English visitor economy is worth £106bn to the national economy. Heritage already plays a sizeable role in both actual visitor spend, but also in contributing to ‘Brand Britain’. The case studies from the Jurassic Coast, the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape and Edinburgh showed ways in which the World Heritage Site’s brand identity could be used in local business partnerships, giving a boost to products and services in the area while contributing to future conservation work.

The theme of destination management emerged throughout the conference. World Heritage Sites have the potential to be a major draw for bringing tourists into local areas, not just to the sites themselves. Visitor experience starts before they arrive at the site itself, and involves many aspects of the local community. Without forethought and integration with local businesses and the community this can lead to negative experiences, but there is a lot of potential for expanding the destination experience to benefit visitors, other attractions in the area, as well as the shops, restaurants and hotels in the surrounding region.

Finally the last theme I noticed related to the importance of storytelling and narrative, not just at a site level, but in regional and national spheres also. James Berresford from Visit England made the point that people don’t really visit England, they visit places in England, although this is arguably different for Scotland and Wales which have a strong ‘national brand’. In the breakout sessions there were a number of suggestions of how inter-site narratives could be created, both between World Heritage Sites across the country, and at other sites in the local area. These kind of approaches have been developed at the Cornwall and West Devon and Loire Valley sites presented at the conference, and no doubt elsewhere too, but could also be attempted outside of the large landscape wide World Heritage Sites. Perhaps with these kind of approaches Keith Nichol’s assertion that UK World Heritage is greater than the sum of its parts could be fully developed.

Coralie Acheson is studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham

Digital and Youth Engagement with World Heritage Sites: Free Digital Workshop and lecture at the Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham


Digital and Youth Engagement with World Heritage Sites: Free Digital Workshop and lecture at the Ironbridge Institute, University of Birmingham

Wednesday 13th May and Thursday 14th May on Digital and Youth Engagement with World Heritage Sites. To reserve a space email Jamie Davies:

2015 UK India Exchange on World Heritage:  The project is the result of a collaboration between an Ironbridge researcher and the founder of GoUNESCO and is funded by the University of Birmingham India Travel Fund. This digital workshop is a follow up to an UK India exchange April/May 2015 and aims to provide a springboard for future collaborations and conversations.

Communicating Values and Developing Audiences Digital Workshop – 13th May 13:00-15:00

An Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH) and GOUNESCO digital workshop. Through a series of online papers innovative approaches to digital interpretation and youth engagement with World Heritage sites will be discussed from the UK and Indian perspective.

More details here: UK_India_Exchange_on_World_Heritage__Communicating_Values_and_Developing_Audiences_Digital_Workshop

A Lecture by Ajay Reddy, GoUNESCO, as part of the Ironbridge Institute Visiting Lecture Programme – 14th May 17:00-18:00

  • How does one get a person interested in heritage?
  • How can the internet and all pervasive digital media be used to encourage awareness of heritage?
  • How can we make use of technology to build scalable methods of outreach?
  • Ajay Reddy speaks about his experiences with GoUNESCO, an initiative he started in 2012 and which is now supported by UNESCO New Delhi.

The talk will also discuss using lean methodologies and techniques used by startups to amplify reach and improve effectiveness of campaigns. He will also discuss the differences between online and offline activations, their effectiveness and relate them to his experience in promoting heritage awareness and advocacy.

More details here: Ajay Reddy_poster