Special Interest Groups and World Heritage

One of the greatest resources of heritage, from globally recognised monuments to local landmarks, has been able to call upon is the passion, knowledge and time of volunteers, enthusiasts and special interest groups. Many heritage sites across the UK owe their existence to the dedication of individuals and groups who fought to save them and continue to rely on volunteers who offer their time for free in a wide variety of roles from front of house to costumed interpreters.

World Heritage Sites are no exception. Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site itself owes much of its development as a heritage site to the vision of passionate enthusiasts and continues to work with a significant number of volunteers and an established friend’s organisation. The relationship of these highly-engaged groups with the sites World Heritage Status is comparatively underexplored, however. Does the site’s World Heritage Status figure in the way they think about the site, do they feel it is unimportant or do they feel it serves to disconnect them from heritage they have a real connection to?

The session will be led by Henry Owen-John from Historic England and Joe Raine of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage and will include the following papers;


The World Heritage nomination process of the Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří Mining Region – communicating heritage values

Friederike Hansell

Communicating World Heritage Values: Empowering disengaged and hard to reach audiences to actively value and participate in World Heritage management

Ashleigh Taylor

Communicating World Heritage in Croatia

Nataša Urošević


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

Jamie Davies

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