European Consortium consider urgent threats to coastal cultural heritage

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On 30 Nov – 2 Dec, 12 the University of Salford, Manchester brought together collaborators to develop a Stage 1 Horizon 2020 application. The research group is responding to the call for applications, which address vulnerabilities in the cultural heritage of European coastal and maritime regions. The project aims to establish a framework for their management, with a specific emphasis on co-creation with stakeholders. It will establish a toolkit and a network of excellence, to ensure that these localities and others like them have a greater capacity to be sustainable and ensure the protection of their cultural heritage.  

The network brings together expertise from Germany, Spain, Italy, Turkey, UK, and Finland to identify key sites around European as case studies for assessment. Led by Dr Claudia Trillo (SOBE) and Dr Katherine Yates (ELS), the research seeks to ensure that the local communities, wider stakeholders and governance institutions have a decisive voice in the design, implementation, evaluation, and legacy of the project, right from the project design stage.

Dr Trillo said “Co-creation is essential to achieve sustainable and systemic innovation, by allowing to focus on new approaches, methods and tools both led by and oriented to users’ needs. Thanks to our University support we demonstrated how a co-creative process can  significantly improve the research path, by focussing on the expected impacts and building the process around them. As European team, we are really passionate about making a contribution to the preservation our coastal and marine cultural landscape. Thanks to the presence in our partnership of experts from the International Council on Monuments and Sites and United Nations we will act local and think global ”.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) helped to develop the new paradigm of the cultural heritage, which led in 1993 to the first inscription of Tongariro National Park – New Zealand. This latter witnessed the major shift on the interpretation of heritage stemming from the World Heritage Convention including the recognition of the non-monumental character of the heritage of cultural landscapes and the acknowledgement of the link between cultural and biological diversity to ensure sustainable land-use.


Speaking from the meeting, Professor Luigi Petti (University of Salerno), highlighted the importance to develop a multidisciplinary approach for management of coastal cultural heritage, capable to take into account both tangible and not tangible aspects, which characterize these complex landscapes.

At a time when European coastal and maritime cultural landscapes are under increased threat from human movement and the consequences of climate change, they are in need of transformative solutions, which can rapidly transform the conditions of these environments.

Dr Yates said “This really productive workshop shows how the University of Salford is investing into research and creating environments where long-term collaborations can be established. Having the opportunity to bring all of our project partners together was invaluable and will lead to a more cohesive, well developed application. Being joined by members of the Marine Management Organization was also really beneficial, providing insights from a management and policy perspective, and they had a substantial influence on the ideas we developed.

The Marine Management Organization (MMO) is part of the British Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Management of Maritime and Coastal heritage forms part of the MMO marine planning remit. Speaking at the meeting, MMO attendees Aisling Lannin and David Hutchinson organization said that,  “The proposed work will increase our understanding of the value of and risks to coastal and marine cultural heritage. This type of evidence contributes to sustainable marine management that takes into account society, the environment and the economy as outlined in the MMO evidence strategy.”

Project collaborators also spoke on the value of the project’s ambitions:

This consortium brings together the diversity of quantitative, qualitative, natural and social science skills vital to address the complex challenges and forces which are both the drivers of change and the keys to solutions”  Dr Ian Bateman, University of Exeter, UK

“To create a sustainable network within the communities we research that can empower them to influence their own trajectory based on metrics and qualifiers that are meaningful to them will be a fantastic way of addressing the impact of global change on local environments” Professor Andy Miah, University of Salford, Manchester


List of Participants

Claudia Trillo, Katherine Yates, Philip James, Paul Coates, Stuart Robertson, Mohamed Milod, Hamed Samir,  Stephen Parkinson,  Chris Hewson, Andy Miah  (University of Salford);  Luigi Petti (ICOMOS, University of Salerno);  Martina Di Mauro  (University of Salerno);  Zeynep Gül ünal (ICOMOS, Yilfiz Technical University);  Ian Bateman (Exeter University); Oriol  Vicente  (Universitat Autonoma Catalonia), Maria Navarro (Meteosim), David Hutchinson,  Aisling Lannin (MMO),  Erik Bichard (Realworth), Christer Bengs (Aalto University), Marco Van De Ree (CSCP),  Cristina Garzillo (ICLEI),  Kalliopi Fousaki (UCL)

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