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Centre for the Ethics of Cultural Heritage



UNESCO Chair awarded £117,000 to promote sustainable pilgrimage and protect heritage in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, India

(24 January 2017)

Durham’s UNESCO Chair and the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda have been awarded £117,298 by UGC-UKIERI for a three year collaborative program of research. 

The project will bring together UK and Indian heritage managers and archaeologists to explore and compare the social and economic impacts of heritage within Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh at a sample of Buddhist pilgrimage sites. It builds on an earlier British Council (India) Knowledge Economy Partnership (KEP) and six years of UNESCO-funded research on pilgrimage sites in Nepal’s western Terai. It will use workshops, practical field laboratories and data collection at heritage sites to benchmark current social and economic impacts of heritage, and explore ways that sustainable pilgrimage and tourism can be better promoted at sites whilst protecting them. 

The three field-based workshops will be practitioner-led and explore themes surrounding the social and economic impacts of heritage, potential for site development for tourism and pilgrimage, site preservation and presentation strategies, and plans for enhanced, yet sustainable, pilgrimage and tourism. The workshops aim to be multidisciplinary and encompass participants from undergraduate level through to policy-makers and residents. Two further workshops will be held at Durham University that will explore the wider implications of the collaborative work, including how politics and identity influence heritage protection and the future development of sustainable pilgrimage and tourism. See the project page for information on the previous project, and for new information on the UGC-UKIERI partnership.