2023 Research and Development Office Achievements and Future Tasks -Conducting In-Depth Research on Diverse World Heritage Interpretation and Presentation Issues-

28 Dec 2023

WHIPIC Research Office has conducted research in four areas: theoretical research, policy research, thematic research, and regional research.

In theoretical research, following to a draft definition of 'Heritage Interpretation' derived in 2022, it developed a draft definition for 'Heritage Presentation' in 2023. Collaborating with heritage specialists in Heritage interpretation and presentation, the Definitions and Concepts Working Group had nine meetings. The meetings delved deeply into the core elements of heritage presentation, participants, and the relationship with heritage interpretation. The results of this research will be compiled into a report, incorporating the findings of literature reviews conducted by WHIPIC and the discussions of the working group. The report is scheduled for publication and distribution soon, and in 2024, further research will follow to establish fundamental principles.

Second, in policy research, based on the 2022 'Basic Study on World Heritage Attributes,' a direction was established for developing the concept of attributes that convey the value of heritage and the methodology for attribute extraction. This research aims to develop attributes identification guidelines that comprehensively cover the processes of World Heritage. In this study, we derived the direction of attribute extraction through international frameworks and manuals, literature studies on attributes, authenticity, and integrity, and four roundtable meetings. Covering the process of participatory heritage interpretation, a report on the research results will be published with directions for attributes identification to discover various values recognized not only OUV but also at the national, regional, and community levels. Based on this, we plan to develop attributes identification guidelines to engage heritage site managers and communities through case studies in the future.

Third, as a follow-up to the 2022 'Interpretation of UNESCO “Sites of Memory associated with Recent Conflicts”: Analysing its conflict structures and its classification, we conducted a comparative study on the 'A Comparative Study of the Expansive Role of Heritage in the Interpretation of Site(s)of Memory.' Professor Dongjin Kang (ICOMOS Korea Committee, KyungSung University) led the research, classifying various types of conflicted sites of memory, including World Heritage, and investigating and analyzing how heritage is interpreted and accepted before and after conflicts. Rather than increasing conflicts between stakeholders, this study shows that sites of memory can play an expanding social role in understanding conflict and sharing different memories, which leads to dialogue and reconciliation. Based on the results of our research over the past two years, we plan to publish a handbook on sites of memory in 2024.

Fourth, in regional research, a study was conducted on the 'Interpretation Strategies' addressed in the recently adopted 'the Guiding Principles for the Preparation of Nominations Concerning Sites of Memory Associated with Recent Conflicts' at the World Heritage Committee this year. Collaborating with domestic and international researchers, this study investigated and analyzed the characteristics of World Heritage Sites Featuring Criterion (vi) and its interpretation, the importance of interpretation, and the meaning of 'interpretation strategies.' Along with the analysis, the report will include examples of various interpretive strategies, which will be made available for future reference to States Parties of the World Heritage Convention.

Last but not least, the 2023 World Heritage Interpretation and Presentation International Forum was held on November 15th. This year's theme was 'Inviting Wider Participants to World Heritage Protection,' and the forum discussed various themes including a) concepts and policy directions for stakeholders involved in heritage interpretation and presentation, b) cases and challenges for the participation of diverse stakeholders at regional, national, and international levels, and c) further discussion on conflict and coexistence in interpretation and presentation, as well as the involvement and capacity-building of stakeholders for preserving a wide range of heritage.


A two-day ‘International Workshop for World Heritage Interpretation and Presentation Planning for Youth' was organized as a side event of the forum. The workshop included lectures on interpretation and presentation for students from the Asia-Pacific region, with a site-viste to Jongmyo Shrine. Overall, participants had sessions to elaborate their World Heritage interpretation strategy with experts and deliver their thoughts through an open-presentation.

This year, the Research office conducted research with domestic and international experts and the general public on a broader variety of topics than in previous years. Based on this year’s outcomes, we plan to expand our research into easily explainable and field-ready research in 2024.

International Centre for the Interpretation and Presentation of World Heritage Sites

2107, Hannuri-daero, Sejong-si, Republic of Korea

T. +82 44 251 1000    E. whipic@unesco-whipic.org

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