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// January 2012

Greetings ,

from OUR PLACE to your place...

2012 is set to be a big year for both Our Place and the wider World Heritage Community in general.

We at OP are continuing with our mission to both document and promote the World’s Heritage through quality and imaginative photography.
350 sites worldwide have now been archived by our team of international photographers and we are looking forward to organising more exhibitions and events for public display this year.

We are also keen to hear from State Parties; National Commissions; Site Managers and NGOs who would like assistance in organising WH Photographic Exhibitions to help them with their own public communication objectives. Photographs can speak to audiences from across diverse cultural and social backgrounds and OP has a proven track record in helping organise entertaining and informative events.

2012 is also a year with special significance for the wider WH Community as it is the 40th Anniversary of signing of the UN Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

This anniversary gives an opportunity to reflect on both the successes of the World Heritage initiative and to acknowledge some of the challenges that lie in the future as we enter the 5th decade of the Convention.

Apart from the accepted risks to WH sites such as environmental damage, armed conflict, lack of infrastructure and most recently, unsustainable tourism, there are questions being raised about the whole World Heritage concept itself. With the prospect of 1000 sites soon being inscribed, commentators are questioning the integrity and value of the list. Is it losing its exclusivity? Is that a bad thing or not? Is there the danger of the public starting to see WH listings as just another promotional opportunity for national and local tourism operators?

As tourism increases, visiting poorly managed sites or those with inadequate infrastructure, can also create doubts in the minds of visitors about the values of inscription and can lead to a loss of goodwill for World Heritage in general. A perceived haste to rapidly inscribe less than ready sites to address some of the regional imbalances on the UNESCO WH list, also adds to this growing concern in some quarters. All these challenges will need to be faced in the future.

On the positive side, we know that inscription at the very least focuses local and international attention onto a new site and often it can become the catalyst to help address any special issues the site may face.

Photography can also help bring a site into a wider global focus and inspirational images of a location can reinforce in the public a sense of ownership and concern for its preservation and protection. As more of the world’s citizens have access to both taking their own photographs and viewing those of others, aspects of a site, both positive and negative can be seen and shared.
If people are aware, then they can care...

Our Place is committed to this principal, and both our web sites are becoming more often utilised to spread the message about the world’s collective heritage.
We thank you for your continuing support and encouragement.

Geoff Steven
Director - Our Place World Heritage

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Latest Site Galleries

Four new sites from the four corners of the world...



Echmiatsin & Zvarnots - The Cathedrals and Churches of Echmiastin had great influence on architectural development in the region.



Suomenlinna Fortress -  A striking example of European military architecture built by Sweden in the 2nd half of the 18th century.



Byblos - Our first WH site gallery from Lebanon features Byblos which contains ruins from 8000 years of continual human occupation.



Ha Long Bay - Over 1600 islands and islets make up the spectacular Ha Long Bay, but due to their steep nature, most are free from any human presence.

Tell us where you've been, show us what you've seen...

Remember, if you have recently visited a world heritage site, share your photos with the wider community by uploading them to www.ourplacephotos.org 
Every photo tells a story.

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