Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article


Director's Notes - April 2013

Monthly update from EWH Director Adam Wilkinson.

Apr 3, 2013

It is nearly that time of year again, the moment when we mark all the delights that the idea of World Heritage potentially has to offer (and which are rarely fully taken up). This year we are organising a range of activities in partnership with others – starting off with a business briefing (with the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group) to help enterprises in the city understand how they can use World Heritage Status to their advantage, and ending up with an evening at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh on the theme of the benefits of international cooperation.

The evening event is held with the support of Historic Scotland, the RSA’s MCICH Network and Thomas Miller Investments Ltd. We will be joined by Professor Jacek Purchla of the International Cultural Centre in Krakow and Mrs Susanne Hauer of the Organisation of World Heritage Cities secretariat in Europe, based in the beautiful World Heritage Site of Regensburg. And as a ringing endorsement of all that we are trying to achieve, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, will also be speaking. The event is free but spaces must be booked in advance as it is already proving popular – please click here to book.

One of the challenges of World Heritage status is the idea of authenticity, a multi layered concept which was explored at the New Architectures in World Heritage conference and associated exhibition organised by James White of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Ruxandra-Iulia Stoica of the Edinburgh College of Art. We were delighted to take part in this, both contributing to the exhibition and delivering papers on how our activities relate to the concept, as well as an investigation of what authenticity means in a UK concept. With our baggage of the picturesque, Ruskin and Morris (our obsession with ruins is explored in Christopher Woodward’s excellent book “In Ruins”), giving the concept a complexity it possibly does not deserve.

While conferences help us step back from the minutae of our everyday work, and, hopefully expand our minds to take in the bigger picture, we are pleased to have been involved in the curation of the public outdoor exhibition of Britain from the Air, led by the Royal Geographical Society, and supported by a wide range of other organisations. The exhibition helps us step back – or up – several thousand feet. The stunning juxtaposition of Gilbert Scott’s gothic St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in the West End speaks volumes about the social, economic and artistic movements that led to these wonderful set pieces in our World Heritage Site.

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