World Heritage in China
Analysis of Chinese cultural heritage
In recent years China has
devoted a great effort to recover its huge cultural heritage, to some extent
seriously threatened by fast economic development since the 80’s. New regulations
have been issued, enforcing administrative solutions for protecting heritage
and making it accessible.
Amongst various elements, the inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List (UWHL) has been extensively used by Chinese government. About 40 sites have been inserted in the UWHL in the last 21 years, while several entities took part to the selection to be inserted in the national pre-nomination list. The cost of the whole procedure of inscription in the World Heritage List could be very high, if not prohibitive. The real impact of being inserted in UWHL is somehow taken for granted. The expectation of increase in visitors' number however is not always achieved, while other important effects could also pose serious problems in the long run, such as the risk of being moved to the “blacklist” of sites in danger.
This research aims to address three aspects:
- Some case histories of nomination will be investigated, analysing successful and more controversial situations. Examples at different point in time will also selected, to give account of possible changes over time (early inscriptions, more recent ones, applications in progress).
- On the basis of critical issues both at the application stage and later on, once the inscription is obtained, the management, representation and visitor experience of the site become crucial. The research will identify a selected number of sites under development, identifying potential problems and possible solutions.
- Recognising the strength of the UK creative industries particularly for innovative design solutions and the research will also explore how UK creative companies (e.g. Interactive Technology and Design, Information Design, Digital Technology, Branding Design etc) could provide solutions around site representation and visitor experience problems in a commercially viable way in China.
- 2009:“China for the World”, report to the Creative Connexions
Paper presented at conference:
“China for the World: an analysis of the management and presentation of Chinese sites for UNESCO World Heritage List (UWHL)”, (with Luca Zan), Macao, Asian Academy for Heritage Management, Dec. 2009.
"Management and Presentation of Chinese sites for UNESCO World Heritage List" (with Luca Zan), in Journal on Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development.
- Creative Connexions