World Heritage and Communities

Within the wider global trend of the democratisation of heritage, the ‘rhetoric of community’ is becoming increasingly a matter of concern. The considerable interest in the role of local communities in the preservation of their heritage can be seen in the academic discourse as well as in policy.

In the World Heritage process, communities were added as one of the main strategic objectives of the Convention. Recent changes to the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the Convention recommend involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities in decision-making, monitoring, and evaluation of the properties and their Outstanding Universal Value.

There are a range of approaches to heritage management in different parts of the world and within these, the role of ‘people’ in management of World Heritage properties is given different levels of importance. Although there have been numerous research projects concerning the role of communities in heritage conservation, this crucial area of understanding has not yet been explored adequately. We are seeking papers with a focus on exploring the relationship between ‘community’ and World Heritage; this can be approached theoretically or through a case study.

The session will be led by Dr Ioannis Poulios of the Hellenic Open University, Greece and Malgorzata Trelka of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage and include the following papers;


Discourses of Heritage: UNESCO and the Local Community in Timbuktu

Giulia Brioschi

World Heritage and Communities in Kenya: A case study of Endorois Community bordering the Lake Bogoria a component part of the Kenya Lakes System in the Great Rift Valley

Hoseah Mwangi Wanderi

Is Scotland ‘Planning’ to Preserve the World’s Heritage?

Stuart West


For further information and if you have any questions please email:

Jamie Davies

Teaching Fellow in Cultural Heritage, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage