Controversial World Heritage conference expected at the Tower of London, 15th and 16th October 2018

Conference Tower of London, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, News, Planning, Stonehenge, Uncategorized, UNESCO, World Heritage Sites, World Heritage UK
Tower and tall buildings (2)

Tall buildings and the Tower of London UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just one of many controversial issues regarding the ‘setting’ of World Heritage Sites to be considered by speakers and delegates at the 4th World Heritage UK Annual Conference on 15th/16th October 2018.   Photo credit: Historic Royal Palaces

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.

DCMS line up

A new team at DCMS – and World Heritage UK have met the boss

News

DCMS Changes

Since the arrival of Teresa May as Prime Minister there has been a lot of change at  Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).  The Secretary of State is now the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, who was formerly at the Home Office.

Whilst most other members of the team have changed, the World Heritage community is lucky to have continuety in the form of Tracey Crouch MP, the junior Minister with the brief for Heritage and Tourism, and we look forward to continue working with her over the coming years.

Brexit Round table

Over the last two weeks Site Coordinators have been asked for their views on how they think the referendum result may impact on WH Sites and their management.  This was in order to put together a briefing paper in advance of round table discussion about this issue between the Secretary of State and the Heritage Sector.

We were lucky enough to be offered a place around the table for the meeting, as part of a group that included the National Trust, Historic England, English Heritage Trust, Historic Houses Assocation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Royal Palaces, Heritage Alliance and the Churches Conservation Trust.

So it was in that rather exulted company that I attended the session on Wednesday armed with the views of our membership.  The round table was a useful exercise – collectively we expressed our percieved challenges, notably around losing funding, concerns over European designations and movement of people with necessary skills. We also presented some opportunities, particularly around the potential for new collaborations and the heightened role that the Heritage Sector can play in presenting the UK and in ‘soft power’ diplomacy.

The Secretary of State was relaxed and interested, and sees the importance and value of Heritage. Along with her colleague Lord Ashton (two ministers for the price of one!) we hope that they are able to use our messages around the cabinet table, in committees and in both houses.  I also hope that this is just the start of an enhanced dialogue with government, and I will keep you up to date.

Our briefing paper is available to download from this page – go to the bottom under Brexit discussions.  Please do continue to send Chris or I your examples to collate – the Secretary of State offered us an opportunity to email further thoughts at the end of the meeting, so if we have useful evidence or constructive comments we can send it her way.

Sam Rose

5/8/16