We are delighted to welcome a delegation from the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) to the Communicating World Heritage Conference. Chief Executive and Secretary-General James Bridge will be part of the opening of the conference on the 7th of October and Helen Maclagan will be speaking in the Heritage Leaders session on the 9th of October.
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 central hub for UNESCO-related matters in the UK. Founded in January 1947, the UKNC is part of UNESCO’s unique global network of national cooperating bodies known as National Commissions. Its aim is to connect the UK Government and UNESCO to the UK’s educational, academic, scientific, cultural, creative and artistic communities.
James runs the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC). The UKNC is the hub for the over 160 UNESCO designations in the UK. It provides policy advice to UK and Devolved government and the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – www.unesco.org.uk
James is an Alternate Member of UNESCO’s Executive (management) Board and frequently represents the UK at UNESCO headquarters. He was responsible for and presented the report on the contribution of the UK’s UNESCO designations to the UK, “The Wider Value of UNESCO to the UK” at UNESCO in Paris to UNESCO’s Inter-regional meeting of its 195 Member States’ National Commissions, focused on identifying the national value of UNESCO (https://www.unesco.org.uk/publication/wider-value-of-unesco-to-the-uk-2014-2015/). This work was then publicised globally by UNESCO.
The UKNC is now taking forward a new methodology based on how national UNESCO designations contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal indicators and in liaison with national and international bodies.
James advised on national, EU and international policy and ran national Europe-wide campaigns for UK and EU-wide organisations. He was Head of the Brussels offices of Save the Children International; the UK Law Societies; and Greater London Enterprise. He worked in the Secretariat-General of the European Commission and for the majority leader on trade at the European Parliament.
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 was then appointed Head of Museum Service, and finally Head of Heritage and Culture for Warwickshire County Council. In 2010 she left for a year volunteering in West Africa through VSO, using culture and the arts in health education, particularly HIV-AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and malnutrition. Since returning to the UK in 2011 she has been self-employed.
She joined the UK National Commission for UNESCO in December 2013, and has been involved with World Heritage Sites (particularly the UK Tentative List) and with issues around Underwater Cultural Heritage, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and Cultural Protection.
Helen is also currently a Vice-Chair of the Council for British Archaeology, a member of the National Trust Historic Environment Group, and a Director of a local community social enterprise.