Design outreach: Utilising graphic heritage for heritage interpretation

This six-month scoping project with United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) examined the concept of graphic heritage to assess how it might be a helpful tool for UNESCO designations for overcoming sustainable development challenges specific to urban environments and world heritage sites more generally. The project received funding from Research England: Higher Education Innovation Fund, and built on findings of the Newton Fund Repositioning Graphic Heritage project, the project identified synergies between graphic heritage and current UNESCO programmes and priorities. Discussions ranged from the macrographic value of a city skyline, the mesographic level at which people and place interact, to the micrographic level where graphic detailing forms part of the infrastructure that enables urban environments sensitive to heritage to function.

Read about the research

Robert G. Harland, James Bridge, Moira Nash & Matthew Rabagliati (2023): Utilising Graphic Heritage for Heritage Interpretation: A Case Report on Testing the Applicability of Graphic Heritage as a Development Tool for UNESCO Heritage Designations, Heritage & Society, DOI: 10.1080/2159032X.2023.2248580

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The City of Bradford was invited to host an inaugural scoping study workshop to explore the relevance and importance of urban graphic heritage for local residents, heritage practitioners, policymakers, public administrators, not-for-profit organisations, government agencies, creative designers and academic researchers. The Bradford’s urban graphic heritage: A digital storytelling workshop encouraged participants to look at the fabric of the city through urban-graphic-heritage, to reveal associated meanings through personal and collective narratives about places in the City Centre and Little Germany conservation areas.

Watch this short film about the workshop.

Read more about the workshop and the contribution of participants. Download the publication here


As part of the project, UKNC proposed Bradford UNESCO City of Film as a case study location and scoping studies were undertaken to identify intrinsic and extrinsic graphic interventions in the cities conservation areas.

Above: Scoping photographic study of Bradford’s ‘intrinsic’ architectural detail (Photography: Harland 2021)


Above: Scoping photographic study of Bradford’s ‘extrinsic’ urban detail (Photography: Harland 2021)


A full project report is available on request: Contact r.g.harland@lboro.ac.uk

Project team

Loughborough University : Dr Robert Harland (PI) · Dr Alison Barnes (Co-I) · Dr Antonia Liguori (Co-opted). United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO : James Bridge (Secretary General and Chief Executive) · Matt Ragbaliati (Head of Policy, Communications and Research) · Moira Nash (Policy Advisor). Bradford UNESCO City of Film : Prof. David Wilson (Director).