Call for Applications: Pilot Regional Course on Interpretative Planning at World Heritage Properties in Europe – WH-Interp (Deadline: 31 January 2021)

11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Values, participation and sustainability are some of the buzzwords in contemporary heritage management discourse. In the context of World Heritage, how can these concepts be combined to improve the site experience of people? How can local communities and other stakeholders be meaningfully engaged in the management of World Heritage properties? To explore these questions, UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, is launching a pilot regional course on interpretative planning at World Heritage properties (WH-Interp).

The WH-Interp course assumes that heritage interpretation, intended as a structured approach to non-formal learning specialized in communicating significant ideas about a place to people, can contribute significantly to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, bringing a sustainable development perspective to the practice of interpretation in all areas (e.g. planning, content and implementation) will allow greater results for both heritage and society.

The pilot course is developed with the technical support of Interpret Europe and other experts in the field of World Heritage, to explore and test a methodology on this increasingly relevant subject, thereby promoting the adoption of such approaches at World Heritage properties, which in turn can serve as a model for other heritage places and UNESCO designated sites.


The pilot course aims to provide participants with increased competencies in planning heritage interpretation more effectively at their respective World Heritage properties/sites. Specifically, the course aims to:

  • provide a general understanding of the heritage interpretation discipline, its principles and practice;
  • promote understanding of how interpretative planning can help presenting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of a World Heritage property, while at the same time revealing how it can be linked to the broader values underpinning UNESCO’s mission, such as building peace and fostering sustainable development;
  • demonstrate how heritage interpretation can play a role at World Heritage properties in support of their overall management systems/plans;
  • encourage and facilitate interpretative planning at World Heritage properties by engaging their connected communities, in order to establish better models of visitation and participation;
  • serve as a forum for participants to share their experiences, learn from each other and reinforce networking and cooperation at regional level.

Expected profile and selection of participants

The course is addressed to individual practitioners whose professional or societal role put them in a position to concretely apply the knowledge and skills that they will gather during the course, as part of specific site management strategies/plans.

Specifically, the call is open to:

  • Staff of World Heritage site managing authorities
  • Private practitioners (e.g. individuals or companies active in heritage presentation/interpretation, such as tour guides, publishing industries, property owners, etc.)
  • Representatives of civil society organizations (community representatives, local associations, NGOs, etc.)

The applicants are required to demonstrate

  • active involvement in the management of a World Heritage property in Europe and/or in its presentation and interpretation.
  • working level of English
  • good knowledge of the World Heritage context
  • planning skills and relevant professional experience

A maximum of 25 applicants will be selected to participate, based on a combination of criteria including completeness, quality and relevance of the application file, gender balance, and geographical distribution; priority will be given to applicants from countries under the geographical scope of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, namely: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey; plus Italy, as the Bureau’s host country.

Methodology of the Course

The whole course will be delivered through 3 phases blending various modalities (presentations, exercises on real cases, group and individual work, discussions, etc.):

  • Phase 1: Introductory webinars on World Heritage knowledge framework and heritage interpretation (3 sessions of distance learning activities spread out over 3 weeks prior to the workshop)
  • Phase 2: Face-to-face workshop on interpretive planning (1 week on-site workshop blending lectures, site visits , and group work on real cases)
  • Phase 3: Post-workshop assignments on interpretive planning of one’s own case (individual assignments with distance support spread out over 3 weeks after the workshop)

The working language of the course is English.

When and Where (t.b.c)

The face-to-face workshop (phase 2) of the pilot course is tentatively scheduled for 24/28 May 2021, in Kotor, Montenegro, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions allowing. The Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979. More recently (2017), the Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar were inscribed on the World Heritage List as a serial transnational property consisting of 6 elements in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro, which include the fortified city of Kotor.

Participation costs

Selected applicants will receive accommodation (board and lodging) for the duration of the on-site workshop in Kotor.

Applicants may request support for their travel costs, which will be provided in the form of pre-paid tickets, contingent upon the availability of funds. Applicants interested in receiving the travel support will have to indicate the request in the application form.

How to apply

Please fill out and submit the online application form, and send your most recent CV to: Ms. Zhi Ye (y.zhi@unesco.org).

Application deadline: 31 January 2021 COB. Only selected participants will be contacted.