World Heritage UK Conference

Posted 11 Oct, 2022

image © Sam Rose: World Heritage UK Conference Photo

We have been thrilled to host a fantastic gathering for the annual conference of World Heritage UK, here at Jodrell Bank on the 3rd & 4th October 2022.

As one of the UK’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, we are delighted to be able to welcome everyone in person, after a long-enforced time apart due to COVID. It was great to see old friends and to meet new people, to talk and to listen, to understand and learn together.

The event started with a welcome from the President of World Heritage UK, Chris Blandford, followed by a video message, from the (very) new Heritage Minister, Lord Kamall.

The talks kicked off with a compelling review of the last 50 years of World Heritage by Dr Mechtild Rössler, former Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris. We were then very fortunate to have a great briefing from the UK Ambassador to UNESCO, Her Excellency Laura Davies, who dialled in from Paris. Susan Denyer took us through the history of World Heritage in the UK and Mike Innerdale, of the National Trust, gave us food for thought in his talk about the National Trust and World Heritage.

A lively discussion followed with colleagues from government and our supporting bodies, before Professor Ian Wray wrapped up the day for us.

Delegates were then treated to one of the first ‘walking tours’ we are launching in the working part of the Jodrell Bank Observatory World Heritage site, lead by our Heritage Officer, Hannah Niblett.

image © Sam Rose: Heritage Officer, Hannah Niblett leading our South Side Tours

Dinner in the spectacular new First Light Pavilion followed, together with a private view of our new immersive ‘Space Dome’ and gallery.

Day two began with an inspiring talk by Professor Cornelius Holtorf on ‘The Future through World Heritage’, followed by ‘future’ workshops for delegates and a very thought-provoking plenary session. The morning’s session was completed by Professor Peter Stone. Together, our morning speakers really challenged us all as a sector to consider the ‘point’ of World Heritage – that is ‘…building peace in the minds of people…’ – something that we will bring to the forefront of everything we do in future.

The afternoon brought us Patrizia La Piscopia, who explained the future of World Heritage in Ireland, and then we were privileged to hear from the World Heritage Youth Ambassadors from Blaenavon and Hadrian’s Wall – a session that really brought into focus the discussions of the previous two days.

The afternoon talks concluded with Professor Teresa Anderson of Jodrell Bank, who offered some reflections from our perspective here, as a new World Heritage Site.

image © Sam Rose: Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Engagement, Professor Teresa Anderson

Our wrap-up discussions brought to a close a wonderful time together, after such a long while apart, leaving us all with renewed energy for our work together ‘…building peace in the minds of people…’

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