We are pleased to share the news of the announcement that applications are now open for the £92 million Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, which is aimed at helping heritage organisations to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new Fund is part of the wider £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden earlier this month, which is the Government’s biggest ever one-off investment in the sector.
The Fund offers grants from £10,000 to £3 million and is open to applications from heritage organisations, private owners of heritage sites, businesses that are a vital part of the heritage ecosystem and others. Visit the fund webpage for more information.
Please share this good news across your channels and encourage your members, contacts and followers to apply by 17 August.
World Heritage UK will be hosting an online event before the consultation period ends on 29th October 2020, to discuss any implications for World Heritage Sites. Watch this space for further details including confirmed date and speakers.
The UK’s 32 World Heritage Sites should not be viewed as a burden which the government are simply obliged to protect. They should be empowered to reach their full potential as generators of jobs, economic regeneration, and joy. This would not only greatly assist these special places’ own post-Covid recovery but also support the wider heritage sector, the tourism industry and the UK’s local and national economy.
This is something the government must understand and provide support for but it is thankfully becoming part of the conversation – a discussion on the UK’s World Heritage recently occurred in the House of Lords where Baroness Andrews asked “is the Minister aware that all our 32 world heritage sites need urgent help to recover from the impact of Covid-19? If our heritage assets are to help in the rebuilding of Britain, their custodians need sustainable funding to do so. When will they know what share of the DCMS cultural package they will get?”
Since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, World Heritage UK has been supporting the UK’s World Heritage Sites by facilitating a monthly online Site Coordinators’ meeting. Much like our physical events (sadly not possible this year), this digital space has become a valued forum for sites to support one another and to share advice, expertise, and intelligence, both about the ongoing situation and wider World Heritage issues.
The discussions we have facilitated have also identified common themes and shared concerns, including how to adapt sites for social distancing, funding challenges, green recovery, and the decolonisation of heritage. The presence of DCMS and other heritage NDPBs at these meetings is a testament to the importance of these conversations.
Though many UK World Heritage sites were originally forced to close, as they have reopened, they are already proving their value as important places for pandemic recovery. Most sites, especially natural or mixed sites, are outdoors or have large spaces compatible with social distancing and have become vital assets for wellbeing. This can be seen in the changing audiences coming to UK World Heritage Sites over the past four months: The English Lake District, for example, is seeing a totally new demographic of visitors who have never been to the lakes (or indeed the countryside) before. However, other sites have struggled with access and social distancing requirements, making reopening more difficult – this has been the case for Orkney where ferries have been very limited and their normal tourism from cruises has bee wiped out this year.
World Heritage UK wishes to ensure that our world-class sites – both cultural and natural – not only survive the pandemic and its associated economic downturn but also thrive and positively contribute to national recovery. There are many lessons to be gleaned from two recent reports published on the subject: The 2019 World Heritage UK Review, published last year and the recently published UKNC National Value of UNESCO to the United Kingdom Report have both highlighted the enormous untapped potential of our World Heritage Sites, pointing out that with the right support, they can be strong drivers of economic regeneration.
In the short term, World Heritage Sites can contribute to economic recovery by driving inbound and domestic tourism. Longer term, they can support the creation of jobs and employment in tourism, traditional building skills and the construction industry, contributing to sustainable regeneration and place-making. Finding new uses for old buildings is also an inherently green approach to recovery which maximises the use of our existing assets.
Increasing capacity, diversification and upskilling in the management of World Heritage Sites is vital to enable sites to realise their potential benefits. Furthermore, higher levels of awareness of World Heritage sites within the UK and internationally will have an enormous beneficial impact for Global Britain, its cultural diplomacy and soft power.
As the UK moves into recovery post-Covid, every industry has the chance to forge a new, more sustainable path. For the heritage sector in particular, the UK’s World Heritage Sites can lead the way in fostering sustainable development by supporting local, regional, and national communities and economies whilst promoting culture and tourism in our own back yard.
Invitation to Tender: World Heritage UK Business Options Appraisal
World Heritage UK (WH:UK) is seeking to appoint an experienced consultant to undertake a Business Options Appraisal as part of our NLHF-funded Resilient Heritage “Unlocking the Potential” project.
The Key Objectives:
Generation of an Outline Strategy and Business Plan to guide the evolution of WH:UK over the next 3-5 years.
A framework for enhancing the organisational capacity and future resilience of WH:UK.
Development of briefs or action plans for further project development and fundraising opportunities
The result of this work will be a clear agenda for WH:UK’s development over a 3-5 year period and a sustainable operating base from which to expand our activities.
We appreciate the complexity of developing such a plan in an ever-shifting environment, so our aspiration is to work closely with the appointed consultants to develop something imaginative and strategic yet responsive to changing circumstances (be they financial, organisational, digital, sectoral or viral).
Contract: August 2020 – December 2020
Fee: up to £12,500 (including expenses, excluding VAT)
Blenheim Palace is set to open its doors to visitors again from Saturday, 4th July.
Widely regarded as a masterpiece of 18th century Baroque architecture, ‘Britain’s Greatest Palace’ was built as a gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, from Queen Anne and a grateful nation in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704.
The Oxfordshire UNESCO World Heritage Site houses one of the most important and extensive collections in Europe, which includes portraits, furniture, sculpture and tapestries.
To mark its re-opening the Palace is also putting on display a set of four Marlborough family portraits; one of which features the 4th Duke of Marlborough as a child and has never been on show to the public before.
Other new features will see the Library decorated in the style of the 1920s and the coronation robes, chairs and coronets used by the 10th Duke and Duchess for the crowning of King George VI in 1937 will also be on show.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy al fresco dining in a series of outdoor marquee pods in the Italian Garden next to the Orangery restaurant, which will be serving lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
As part of its re-opening Blenheim Palace has introduced a series of ‘keeping safe’ measures.
Daily visitor numbers are limited and admission is only via online pre-booking. Visitors will be welcomed at a safe distance, all transactions are cashless and staff in key engagement areas will be wearing personal protective equipment and be behind protective screens.
New signage, barriers and announcements form part of the visit, and additional staff are on hand to provide advice and information. Extra temporary outdoor toilets with washing and hand sanitising areas have also been set up.
Visitors can also watch an explanatory video online prior to arriving on site, which clearly explains the new procedures.
As agreed by the World Heritage UK Board of Trustees, the first event of World Heritage UK’s events in 2020 will take place on Wednesday 29th April 2020 in The Marlborough Room at the magnificent Blenheim Palace UNESCO World Heritage Site at Woodstock in Oxfordshire. It will be a one-day workshop with the provisional title ‘Restoration in World Heritage Sites – repairs and how to fund them’. This is an area of work that the Blenheim Palace team have particular expertise in and are willing to share with participants. There will be in the region of £7-8 million worth of repairs underway at the time of the event, including dredging the lakes designed by Capability Brown so plenty of opportunities to experience thesewith expert guidance. Registration will be required to take part in this workshop and places will be limited, so do act swiftly when tickets become available in the next few weeks.
World Heritage UK’s summer workshop will be in the recently inscribed English Lake District UNESCO World Heritage Site on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd July 2020. The venue here will be the Ambleside Campus of the University of Cumbria, where we will be using the Percival Lecture Theatre to consider ‘Marketing World Heritage’. Further details to follow.
Preparations are already underway for World Heritage UK’s Annual Conference and AGM which this year will take place in Scotland with the all-too-important theme of ‘World Heritage and Climate Change’. Provisional dates to pencil in you diary at this stage are Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th September 2020, with venues expected to be either Glasgow or Stirling and to include visiting the Antonine Wall component of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further details to follow. (photo credit: www.sustainablebusinesstoolkit.com)
On behalf of all the Board of Trustees at World Heritage UK, I wish all our members, supporters and your families a very happy and restful Christmas.
2019 has been a busy year, set against a turbulent political back-drop and with the need to urgently address global environmental challenges which are undoubtedly becoming the defining issue of our age. We know through our networks the hard work that goes on every day at all of our 32 UK World Heritage Sites, often undertaken by just a few dedicated people and a pocketful of change. Hard work, creative minds and professional expertise then turn these ingredients into heritage protection and interpretation which is the envy of the world.
Christmas is a time for thankfulness and optimism. Perhaps we can look forward to a little more political stability in 2020? …and maybe even the prospect of more funding?! Whatever the New Year will bring, we will face it collectively with enthusiasm, mutual support and the knowledge that what we deliver, in conserving our irreplaceable cultural and natural heritage, is cherished by so many in this generation and those who will succeed us. They can’t always say thank you for all that you do, but I can.
Hosted by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Llangollen Pavilion in spectacular North East Wales, this was the 5th Annual Conference and AGM for World Heritage UK and every bit as good as its predecessors. The programme was framed by a new World Heritage UK publication, a review of the state of UK World Heritage Sites called ‘UK World Heritage: asset for the future‘. The conference developed themes from the report, in particular on finance and governance, on diplomacy and ‘soft power’, and the impacts and benefits of tourism. This attracted an excellent range of speakers from as far abroad as Philadelphia, Hangzhou and Dublin as well as from the home nations of the UK, culminating in an expert panel fielding the questions raised by delegates. You can see some of the presentations via these links:
Jane Gibson/Jo Shoebridge, Durham Castle and Cathedral World Heritage Site ‘Visitor Centre and local artisans’
Michael MacDonagh, Irish Government, ‘Irish perspectives – the challenges and opportunities for heritage’
Peter Moore, National Trust, ‘Looking to a Sustainable Future at Giant’s Causeway for Visitors and the National Trust’
Rebecca Burrows, Purcell, ‘Conserving 20th Century Buildings – an international approach to sustaining significance’
Xinyun Liang, Grand Canal Preservation Centre of Hangzou, ‘China Grand Canal’
Zabeth Teelucksingh, Global Philadelphia Association, ‘The World Heritage City Project – a Public-Private Partnership Model in Philadelphia’
Thanks to the many local partners who contributed to the event, participants experienced some memorable natural and cultural wonders provided by this World Heritage Site, including riding the aqueduct by narrowboat, viewing it illuminated by night, travelling the canal by horse-drawn boat, by routemaster bus to dine with a Welsh Male voice choir and visiting the steam railway at Llangollen. Follow this link to see the photographs of the whole event taken by Sam Rose.
Over a hundred participants in this event networked vigorously throughout the two days and the conference hall was fringed with pull-up banners and displays to assist in information exchange.
Among the many thanks, World Heritage UK is particularly grateful to Cadw and Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, Denbighshire and Wrexham Councils, Arcadis and Purcell consultancies for their support.
World Heritage UK notched up another success in its vibrant events programme last week with over 60 delegates and speakers filling the Prior’s Hall at the Durham Castle and Cathedral UNESCO World Heritage Site, to hear a wide range of speakers and experience some very special opportunities provided by their hosts. These included access to the new ‘Open Treasure’ exhibition which presented rare artefacts telling the story of St Cuthbert in the most intact medieval monastic buildings in the UK; sitting in the magnificent Durham Cathedral C17th Quire during evensong soaking up the atmosphere created by the Hexham Abbey Choir; self-guided tours around the Castle and Cathedral with exceptional volunteer guides on hand; and a visit to Hadrian’s Wall, part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire UNESCO World Heritage Site, accompanied by top experts in the field. Feedback forms are still coming in but we are expecting a positive response overall and would like to thank all involved in Durham for making us all feel so welcome with their generous hospitality.
This summer networking event – ‘All Together Now – Sustainable World Heritage’ – brought together many expert speakers on a variety of subjects, from cultural property protection and peace to community engagement, young people and volunteering; from world heritage tourism in the north of England to heritage sustainability issues in South Asia and North Africa. The intention is to share the presentations via the World Heritage UK website in due course.
These are great ways to see the UK’s 32 world heritage sites, learn more about them and meet the dedicated community of world heritage people who work in and around them. If you would like to take part in one of World Heritage UK’s special events, your next opportunity to do so is at the annual conference, this year being held at the Llangollen Pavilion in North Wales, hosted by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site on the 7th and 8th October 2019. Here we will be discussing the soon-to-be-published review of the UK’s World Heritage Sites and will have a national and international cast of speakers from all parts of the UK and Australia, China and the USA to help us do so. Side events and tours include a barge (or walk) over Thomas Telford’s famous aqueduct, a horse-drawn boat trip on the Llangollen canal, a heritage steam railway experience and a civic reception and dinner with a Welsh Male Voice Choir. Tickets are available now at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/making-the-most-of-world-heritage-tickets-66862803445
Our events are becoming increasingly popular so book soon to avoid disappointment!
With thanks to Historic England and Purcell for their support for the Durham event.
The Board of Trustees of World Heritage UK is pleased to announce the details of its 5th Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting, this year to be hosted by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Llangollen Pavilion near Wrexham in North Wales on the 7th and 8th October 2019.
Following the imminent publication of the State of UK World Heritage Sites Review, this conference will adopt some of the report’s main themes and explore the issues and prospective outcomes that it highlights with a range of speakers from home and overseas.
Along with exciting site visit experiences and your chance to ask questions of a panel of experts, do join: Deputy Minister for Culture Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas; from the USA, Global Philadelphia Association Executive Director Zabeth Teelucksingh; from the World Cultural Heritage Centre of China, Yan Haiming; Author and researcher Bailey Ashton Adie and Head of Tourism and Heritage at DCMS, Giles Smith (all pictured above) along with Michael Macdonough, Chief Archaeologist at the Irish Government and many more. Themes of ‘Financing sites and governance models’, ‘Heritage, soft power and diplomacy’ and the ‘Impacts and Benefits of Tourism’, in particular will be under the spotlight.
You can find the latest draft v8 programme Pontcysyllte and you can book your place on the conference registration site HERE (early booking recommended to avoid disappointment and to secure accommodation in advance).
World Heritage UK is grateful to the following sponsors and supporters who have helped make this event possible: