Professor Mike Robinson has been awarded an AHRC Research Networking Grant, for the project ‘World Heritage FOR Sustainable Development’.

Funded under a special highlight call for international development, the network will focus on the role that World Heritage sites can play in sustainable development. In terms of the sites themselves and the associated symbolic ‘brand’ value of UNESCO inscription, World Heritage sites offer significant development opportunities for countries with ODA (overseas development assistance) status.

Awarded £59,641, the network will discuss how sites can be effectively and sensitively mobilised for sustainable development and debate questions of practice and policy around developing and managing sustainable tourism. Led by Professor Robinson and co-investigator Dr Weimin Que (Peking University, China), other key collaborators on the project include Dr Helaine Silverman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Mr Peter Debrine (UNESCO).  

Workshops will be held at the Ironbridge Museum near Shrewsbury in the UK, at the Cuzco World Heritage site in Peru, and at the Hangzhou West Lake World Heritage site in China. A conference to be held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris will round off the network’s activities. The 18-month project starts in November 2016.