Unlocking Potential: The Value UNESCO brings to the UK

Room TBC, University of Birmingham
Thursday 12 May 2016 (17:30-18:30)
Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Helen Maclagan, Culture Director for the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) will introduce the UKNC and explain its role and remit. The lecture will focus on recent research undertaken by UKNC on the financial and non-financial value which UNESCO accreditations bring to UK UNESCO designations, of which World Heritage Sites are the best known.

Previous studies undertaken by UKNC have assessed financial value; the recent research has ventured for the first time into the more complex territory of non-financial value. This research is innovative, and has attracted significant interest internationally. It shows how UNESCO World Heritage enhances the value of the UK's existing heritage - looking at factors such as UNESCO's values, membership of a global network, and the convening power of the brand. 

The main focus will be on World Heritage Sites, with reference to other UNESCO designations and programmes by way of context and comparison.

UKNC hopes to build on this study with further research in the future – and explore the ways in which the results can be used to provide improved outcomes – for the benefit of heritage and other designations, and for communities whose lives are intertwined with UNESCO.

About Helen Maclagan – Culture Director, UK National Commission for UNESCO

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.  Having developed interests in the wider natural and cultural heritage, she was appointed Head of Museum Service, and then (until 2011) Head of Heritage and Culture for Warwickshire County Council.  She left Warwickshire to spend a year volunteering through VSO in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso (West Africa), promoting the use of culture and the arts in health education, particularly HIV-AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and malnutrition, and since then has been self-employed.

She is currently a Vice-Chair of the Council for British Archaeology and a member of the National Trust Historic Environment Group, and has been a member of numerous other national committees. 

Helen joined the UK National Commission in December 2013.  Since then she has been involved with World Heritage Sites (particularly the UK Tentative List) and with issues around Underwater Cultural Heritage, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Cultural Protection in  Conflict.

Her interests include the engagement of local communities with the historic and natural environment and links between culture and health.