• The UK’s National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) report shows how the UK is world-leading in innovation in its cultural heritage sector.
• UK cultural heritage innovation, in partnership with developing countries, is creating exceptional outcomes, with impact well beyond the cultural field.
• The report illustrates the UK’s eminence in heritage science and research and its people-centred approach, and contains compelling case studies of work on-site and in laboratories.
• This work is helping to conserve heritage, foster community cohesion and stimulate inclusive growth – whilst also building capacity in the UK.
• There is significant scope for UK expertise to make a greater contribution. The report’s recommendations set out how this outstanding expertise can be energised and enabled for the benefit of cultural heritage assets and to advance the economic and social welfare of ODA countries.
Rani Ki Vav UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation LLP (a partnership between Historic Environment Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art.)
The Reanimating Cultural Heritage Project is a collections-based research project leading to reconnection with source communities, southern Sierra Leone. Photo: Paul Basu | www.sierraleoneheritage.
3D laser scanning at Skara Brae Photo: The Centre for Digital Documentation and Visualisation LLP (a partnership between Historic Environment Scotland and The Glasgow School of Art.)
The Mary Rose Trust is researching conservation strategies for archaeological iron from the marine environment. Photo: Diamond Light Source.
The UK National Commission (UKNC) works to support the UK’s contribution to UNESCO and bring the benefits of UNESCO to the UK. It is the hub for UNESCO-related matters in the UK.
The UKNC has four core priorities:
- We provide expert, independent policy advice to the UK and devolved governments on UNESCO related issues.
- We advise and support individuals and institutions in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies on accessing UNESCO accreditation and prizes and how to derive more value from their involvement with UNESCO.
- We support the UK Government’s agenda in helping UNESCO to become more effective.
- We act as a hub for the UK’s over 160 UNESCO designations.
In carrying out these roles, the UKNC relies on advice and support from its Expert Network including specialists in the fields of education, culture, the sciences and communication and information from across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
Kate Pugh OBE, Independent Heritage Expert
From 2003-16 Kate headed up The Heritage Alliance which brings together over 100 independent heritage organisations in England to create a coherent platform for policy development. During this time she took part in Europa Nostra’s major project Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe published in 2015 and, since stepping down, she has followed her interest in fostering international relations through heritage. In 2018 she produced the Alliance’s first-ever International Report on members’ international engagement and the challenges they face. She is Chairman of the independent Advisory Group for the DCMS/British Council’s £30m Cultural Protection Fund. She is also Secretary of the new Afghanistan Society and has reported to the British Council on developing heritage resources in Jamaica and Colombia while, closer to home, she is Heritage Co-ordinator for her local amenity society.
Helen Maclagan OBE, Non-Executive Director and Vice-Chair, UK National Commission for UNESCO
Helen Maclagan is an independent heritage and cultural specialist, based in the West Midlands. Having originally studied and trained as an archaeologist, she worked for some 20 years as Warwickshire County Council’s County Archaeologist, also playing a role in national archaeological and heritage organisations. She is currently a Vice-Chair of the Council for British Archaeology and a member of the National Trust Archaeology Panel, and has been a member of numerous other national committees. Helen joined the UK National Commission in December 2013. Since then she has been involved with World Heritage Sites (particularly the UK Tentative List) and with issues around Underwater Cultural Heritage, each the subject of a recent UK National Commission Policy Brief. Other areas of activity have related to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and to Culture and Conflict (with UKNC partners the Blue Shield Committee). Challenges ahead include engaging with Intangible Cultural Heritage, Diversity of Cultural Expressions and with broader issues around Culture and Development. Her interests include the engagement of local communities with the historic and natural environment and links between culture and health.
These case studies demonstrate the novel techniques and innovative models which could be used to help promote sustainable development in ODA eligible countries and contribute to UK government priorities.