New Context out, on World Heritage Sites, designation, Armageddon and even more

The new issue of the IHBC’s members’ journal, Context No. 176, explores the diverse facets of World Heritage Sites alongside a myriad of other aspects of conservation – designation, Armageddon and more – from across our globe.

…highlights some of the very best of what the world has to offer…

The IHBC writes:

The new Tentative List, the UK government’s latest attempt to add to Unesco’s list of world heritage sites, now has seven sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories. Most, if not all of them, will never make it to Unesco’s list, but the government, local authorities and devolved administrations will now work hard to develop their bids.

‘Site’ in the phrase ‘world heritage site’ is defined rather broadly, as the UK’s tentative seven show. The first two on the list are distinct places. ‘Birkenhead the People’s Park’ as the list describes it, is the pioneering municipal park. It opened in 1847, across the River Mersey from Liverpool, which no longer has a world heritage site. Next comes York, which the government announcement breathlessly tells us has ‘fantastic civic and religious buildings including its Minster as well as a rich history left behind by its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman inhabitants’.

‘The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland’ is a collection of three ancient settlements, one on the island of Mousa, the other two on the Shetland mainland, all three including the remains of round towers known as brochs. The proposed site of ‘Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Northern Ireland’ is part of a joint bid alongside other Moravian religious sites in Denmark, the USA and Germany, celebrating that religious community.

The other three ‘sites’ on the tentative list are what are classified as ‘natural’ rather than ‘cultural’. ‘East Atlantic Flyway: England East Coast Wetlands’ is not so much a place as a migratory bird route over western parts of Europe, including parts of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent. ‘The Flow Country’ is a vast expanse of blanket bog (a rare type of peatland) in the north of Scotland. Apparently it is more fun than it sounds. According to the Flow Country website, you can become a volunteer, staying ‘for a few weeks or a few months – some folk end up staying for years’.

Finally, the ‘Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas’, situated in the UK Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands, have been put forward, not for their contribution to dodgy banking, but for ‘their exceptional importance to marine biodiversity and their incredible natural beauty’.

The ancient world, keeping it simple, celebrated Seven Wonders. Unesco has more than 1,000 on its list of ‘sites of outstanding universal value’. The task of selecting even that number from what must surely be potentially tens of thousands of places of such value is inevitably often the cause of furious debate. Unesco defines outstanding universal value as ‘cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity’.

Those of us who have not been landed with the almost impossible job of applying that definition can enjoy the fruits of the process that highlights some of the very best of what the world has to offer.

Themed and feature articles include:

  • Idealists, colonialists and engineers, Ian Wray
  • World heritage in the UK: an overview, Chris Blandford
  • Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site, Peter Chowns
  • The view from Jodrell Bank, Teresa Anderson
  • Where is the data on listed buildings? Alfie Robinson
  • Restoring the Odisha East Coast Canal, Gobinda Ballava Dalai and Kathryn Davies
  • The Kasbah: where’s that? Emilie Wales
  • From Armageddon to listing, Graham Tite
  • A world-wide precedent for solar panels? John Preston

Regular features include:

  • Briefing
  • The writer’s voice
  • Out of Context
  • Periodically
  • Editorial
  • Notes from the chair
  • New members
  • Director’s cut
  • Vox pop
  • Book reviews
  • Inter alia
  • Products and services
  • Specialist suppliers index

Reading Context helps IHBC members develop their skills across all of the IHBC’s Areas of Competence, and so is a critical baseline in addressing priorities in Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Access the online archive and see the issue online

See more IHBC background and guidance on IHBC CPD and on how you might use past, current and future issues of Context

See the formal guidance paper on IHBC CPD (scheduled for update)

See more on the IHBC Competences and Areas of Competence

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