The Jurassic Coast was pleased (and relieved!) to hand over the second Annual World Heritage Education conference to New Lanark World Heritage Site which was held 29 – 30 October this year.
New Lanark is a spectacular 18th century industrial mill site set on the banks of the River Clyde where Robert Owen (the mill owner) created a paradigm shift in society by recognising the need to care for workers and children who were working in the textile industry.
Owen ensured that children up to the age of 10 who lived on the site were not allowed to work and instead were educated in a purpose built school. In addition, Owen was responsible for setting up the very first co-operative owned general store for the workers which then went on to inspire the co-operative movement.
The two day conference was attended by a range of World Heritage Site education specialists from as far as Bermuda and Northern Ireland. The main focus of the conference was to bring together case studies of good practice in World Heritage Education and these were showcased by each WHS through 4 hands-on interactive workshops.
The major outcome of the Making Sense of Our Sites programme will be a guidance document on how to develop and communicate messages concerning World Heritage to educational audiences.
In addition to the 2 day strategic conference, Historic Scotland also funded the UK World Heritage Site Youth Summit on Friday 1st October. The Scottish event had a special focus on the 5 Scottish World Heritage Sites: Edinburgh Old and New Towns, Antonine Wall, Orkney, St. Kilda and New Lanark and one overseas territory, St Georges in Bermuda. Delegations of young people presented information on their chosen site through films, presentations and short dramatic performances.
The climax of the day was when young people performed stakeholder interviews with World Heritage Site coordinators and then had to come up with their own idea of how to market their site to other young people. The teams then had to present their ideas back to the Youth Summit in the style of ‘Dragons Den’, where myself, Anne Breivik (UKNC UNESCO) and Sue Mitchell (Historic Scotland) played the dragons!
The Antonine Wall delegation were the winning team with their idea of a branded bus taking tourists along the site where 3G phone technology meant that you could learn about the Roman history as you travelled along.
Making Sense of Our Sites has already demonstrated key successes through helping to energise WHS education at sites across the UK to such an extent that Saltaire (a relative newcomer to WHS education) has offered to host the final conference next year.
Anjana Ford, World Heritage Education Coordinator